What Traditions Should the Mother of the Bride Remember?

Written by yasmeen noor
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What Traditions Should the Mother of the Bride Remember?
Mothers of brides are often involved in wedding planning. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Whether you are the mother of the bride or simply trying not to offend her, knowing the traditions appropriate for this family member can prevent many missteps. The roles of the mother of the bride are few but significant. With many disconnected from the cultures of their parents, some can unknowingly trample on roles that their mothers assumed would be theirs. Knowing the roles of the mother of the bride can help ensure a smooth wedding and a planning process with fewer hurt feelings.


According to The Knot, it is the responsibility of the bride's parents to host the engagement party. Martha Stewart Weddings states that they also traditionally host the wedding, though the bride still does most of the planning. Many now veer from these traditions, but it may be prudent to discuss any changes with the bride's parents before doing so. As the one whose family foots the wedding bill, it is traditional that the bride's mother helps with the pre-wedding arrangements and guest list. She also often acts as an ambassador for the wedding, spreading the world about the couple's bridal registry or informing guest of such touchy topics as whether children are invited.

According to Martha Stewart Weddings, mothers of the bride are not to host the bridal shower. Hosting the function can be perceived as the mother attempting to solicit gifts for her own daughter and should be avoided.

The Dress

Some of the most significant traditions for the mother of the bride involve her dress. The bride's mother customarily is the first to choose her dress after the bride. Her dress should follow the bride's in style or be complementary. The mother of the bride and the mother of the groom should be complementary, in that neither's outfit should overpower the other's. If one is wearing a hat, for example, so should the other.

What Traditions Should the Mother of the Bride Remember?
The bride of the mother can give her daughter her own wedding dress. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

"Day of" Traditions

The important role of the mother of the bride is highlighted through traditions at the wedding. The bride's mother and father, as hosts of the party, are traditionally the first in the receiving line to greet guests. When seated at the church, the bride's mother sits on the front pew on the left side of the church. If the wedding has a family candle on the altar that is lit prior to the entrance of the wedding party, the mother of the groom traditionally lights it with the mother of the bride. Finally, when the dances begin, the first dance after the new couple's is that of the mother of the bride and her new son-in-law.

Other Cultures

In cultures across the world, the traditions of the mother of the bride differ. In traditional German culture, the bride collects pennies for many years to pay for her wedding shoes. The bride's mother then places dill and salt in her daughter's right shoe. In the Ukraine, the bride's mother throws seeds on the heads of the bride and groom as they walk out of the bride's home for the first time. In India, the bride's mother is expected to give her daughter jewellery and clothes meant to last her through the first years of her marriage.

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