Mother of the Bride Etiquette

Learn how to support your daughter practically and emotionally with these essential tips

By Allison Boyer

Father and mother walk daughter down the aisle
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As the mother of the bride, you want to support your daughter on her big day. However, it is also important not to intrude, keeping in mind that this is her wedding, not yours. Like the maid of honor and best man, you have certain obligations as mother of the bride. Make sure that you fulfill these duties with proper etiquette in mind.


Traditionally, the mothers of the bride and groom wear long, modest dresses in coordinating colors. It is proper etiquette for you to choose your dress first, and for the the groom's mother to pick a dress that complements yours. Pick your dress early and notify the groom's mother of your choice.

Guest list

Help your daughter compile her guest list. Feel free to make suggestions that include people important in your life (such as a business partner, pastor and extended family), even if your daughter isn't closely acquainted with them -- just be respectful of her final decisions on who to invite.


Traditionally, the parents of the bride pay for most of the wedding, though today the couple and the groom's family may also chip in. Talk to your daughter early about what you can afford and plan a budget together and then make sure you have a similar discussion with the groom's parents.

Bridal gown shopping

Be available to shop with your daughter for a bridal gown. Give her your input, but don't be too harsh, since your daughter's happiness with the dress is most important.


It is your responsibility to help guests from your side of the family make travel arrangements for the big day. If the bride and groom have an agreement with a local hotel or venue that offers lodging, distribute that information to relatives. Alternatively include a link to the couple's blog if they have one.


The most important responsibility, at the end of the day, is to simply support your daughter during the build up to the wedding. Proper etiquette and traditions are worth noting, but what's really essential is making sure the bride is happy and as stress-free as possible in the weeks leading up to her wedding.

About the Author

Allison Boyer has been a freelance writer for more than five years, including articles about weddings.

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Get in-law ready

The in-laws have to meet sometime, if they haven't already. Strive for familial harmony by arranging a get-together comfortable for all. You can opt for the tried-and-true dinner, but feel free to plan a cocktail hour get-together instead. A brunch is also a nice, more casual approach.

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Wedding Glossary


A family where members are not all biologically related. Typically, a result of a marriage when spouses and children from a former relationship or marriage form the family unit.

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