The Roles of Parents in Weddings

parents role in weddings

An engagement is generally thrilling news for the families involved, but it also means that family members will be busy with planning and executing all of the details surrounding the wedding. The parents in particular play a major role in ensuring that the wedding is both successful and memorable. Whether it is the prenuptial activities, preparing for the ceremony, participating in the ceremony, the reception or beyond, parents have an important role to play in each stage of the marriage process. In order to ensure that an upcoming wedding day is everything the bride and groom hope for, understanding the role that each parent should play is essential.

Before the Wedding

If the parents of the bride and groom have not already met, it is generally the groom’s parents’ responsibility to introduce themselves to the bride’s parents. Since the parents will need to communicate frequently regarding the details of the wedding, it is crucial that this event occur soon. While an engagement party is traditionally the responsibility of the bride’s parents, the groom’s parents may also choose to throw an engagement party for the couple so that they can introduce the bride to the groom’s family. The groom’s father sometimes plays a role in planning the bachelor party. Both of the groom’s parents traditionally plan the rehearsal dinner.

bridal shower with parents
The bride’s parents typically send an engagement announcement to a local newspaper. The bride’s mother in particular has many responsibilities before a wedding. She helps the bride with invitations as well as the details of the ceremony and reception. The bride’s mother traditionally has first pick of an outfit for the wedding, and the groom’s mother is expected to choose a similar style.

Before the Ceremony

Once wedding day has arrived, there is still much to do before the ceremony begins. If the bride requires assistance with getting dressed for the ceremony, her mother helps. The bride’s mother should allot 30-45 minutes for her own hair and makeup preparation. She generally accompanies the bridesmaids to the wedding. Before the ceremony, the bride’s father should spend some time alone with the bride. He should also accompany the bride to the ceremony. As for the groom’s parents, they should plan on arriving fully dressed an hour before the ceremony.

getting ready wedding


The Ceremony

The father of the bride escorts the bride down the aisle during the ceremony. When the officiant asks who is giving the bride away, the bride’s father should take the bride’s right hand and place it in the officiant’s hand. During the recessional, the bride’s father escorts the groom’s mother down the aisle. The bride’s mother is the last to be seated before the ceremony begins. She sits with the father of the bride to the left of the aisle. The bride’s mother is escorted down the aisle by the groom’s father during the recessional. She stands at the head of the receiving line, and the bride’s father stands to her left. The father and mother of the groom sit to the right of the aisle. They stand to the left of the bride’s parents in the receiving line. The bride’s parents generally pay for the wedding ceremony, but the groom’s parents also contribute by paying for the marriage license and officiant’s fee.

parents role in weddings


The Reception

The father of the bride acts as host of the reception, and the bride’s mother acts as hostess. This means they both are responsible for welcoming guests, making introductions, and mingling with the crowd during the reception. Generally, the father of the bride will be the first to give a speech. He is also responsible for ensuring that the supplies are fully stocked. The father of the bride participates in the traditional father-daughter dance. The mother of the bride collects the gifts once the reception is finished for safekeeping. Since the bride’s parents are traditionally responsible for planning and paying for the reception, the groom’s parents play a more limited role in the reception. The mother of the groom will sometimes dance with her son, and occasionally all the parents share a parent dance together.

parents toast wedding reception


Beyond the Wedding

Once the couple is married, the parents still have duties to fulfill. The groom’s parents are generally responsible for paying for the honeymoon. Once the couple returns from the honeymoon, the bride’s mother returns the gifts she collected for the couple. Of course all the parents also have a part in giving appropriate advice to the newlyweds regarding the married life!

A wedding is a major life event, but if parents understand their contributions, it will surely be special for all who are involved.


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