One’s wedding is one of the most exciting rites of passage; a celebration of a new life as a couple in the presence of one’s family and peers, and whatever your choice of ceremony, your parents will want to play a part in the festivities. Including both sets of parents in the planning, once the engagement is announced, and affirming the extent of their involvement can get a little tricky. But there are some guidelines to help you, particularly if you refer back to the traditional responsibilities for members of the family.

Traditional Etiquette – who did what:

  • The bride paid for her gift to the groom, gifts to her wedding party and the groom’s wedding band
  • The groom paid for his gift to the bride, the bride’s engagement ring and wedding band, gifts for his groomsmen, the clergy, the bride’s flowers, corsages for the mothers, grandmothers, boutonnieres for himself and the best man, and the honeymoon.
  • The groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner, a gift for the couple, the wedding favours and their own outfits
  • The parents of the bride paid for almost everything else – the bride’s dress, veil, accessories, the wedding flowers, their own outfits, the reception, the photographer, any music or performers, invitations and thank you cards and a gift for the bride and groom.
  • The bride or her mother is responsible for the guest list
  • The mother of the bride is very involved with the wedding day plans, such as the choice of venue, helping the bride select her frock and general support
  • the mother of the groom usually just had to show up for the ceremony looking pretty, but today can get involved in the ceremony and reception planning, attending the bridal shower and generally providing moral support
  • The groom’s parents host the rehearsal dinner, which usually takes place the night before the event

Considering Your Parents

Of course today it is not unusual for the groom’s parents to make a considerable financial contribution along with the bride’s parents, so it is just good manners, should this be the case, to include both sets of parents in as much of the planning as possible.

A lot more modern weddings, particularly couples who get married in their 30’s, are paid for by the bride and groom themselves. For many this is a way of avoiding family pressure and being able to assign involvement as it suits them.

Make an effort to see that your parents meet one another and, if they cannot work directly with one another on preparations, make sure they are at least aware of one another’s roles in the wedding.

The All-important Photo Call

The wedding line-up for photographs should not be taken lightly. Leave off an important member of your family, or forget to include one of your parents in a particular photo, and you’ll pay for it every time you haul out the photo album.

Here are some special moments with your parents not to leave off your list:

  • Groom with father prior to and after the wedding
  • Bride with her parents prior to and after the wedding
  • Bride with her mother prior to and after the wedding
  • Father giving the bride away
  • Bride and groom with the bride’s parents
  • Bride and groom with the groom’s parents
  • Groom with his mother
  • Groom with his father
  • Bride with her mother
  • Bride with her father

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