Wedding Etiquette: Responsibilities of the Groom's Parents

Updated April 17, 2017

When a couple marries, the parents of the groom are responsible for contributions that aid in ensuring that the wedding ceremony goes smoothly. Sometimes the parents of the groom are uncertain about wedding etiquette and which duties they are responsible for; a lack of knowledge about their responsibilities can make planning the ceremony and participating in the wedding seem like a daunting task. However, knowing the proper etiquette and knowing their traditional responsibilities helps the parents of the groom ensure that the wedding ceremony is an enjoyable event for everyone.

Initial Contact

On first receiving the engagement news, the parents of the groom are responsible for initiating the first contact with the bride's family. Calling the bride's family and expressing happiness about the upcoming ceremony is an acceptable form of contact. The groom's parents may also extend an informal dinner invitation to the bride's parents. Whether the dinner also involves the couple to be married is left to the personal preference of the groom's parents.

Guest List and Reservations

The parents of the groom should provide the bride's family with an accurate guest list of people who will be attending the wedding. Proper etiquette involves following the guidelines set by the bride's family when it comes to the number of guests they can invite. The groom's parents should also provide hotel reservations for any guests on their list who live out of town.

Mother of the Groom Dress Selection

The mother of the groom is responsible for choosing a dress that compliments the style and colour of the dress that the mother of the bride will wear to the wedding ceremony. The dresses should also match in length. At the same time, the chosen dress should not be the same colour as the bridesmaids' dresses.

Rehearsal Dinner

The groom's parents are responsible for hosting the wedding rehearsal dinner. The dinner can be formal or informal based on the preference of the groom's parents. Proper etiquette involves inviting everyone who is involved in the wedding ceremony to the dinner. The guests should include spouses and significant others of the guests, as well as the parents of the children involved in the ceremony.

Ceremony Etiquette

During the wedding ceremony, it is good etiquette for the groom's parents to follow certain guidelines. Their arrival should be no less than an hour before the ceremony begins. Either a groomsman, on the groom's side of the family, should escort the groom's mother down the aisle, or the groom himself. She should then be seated in the first row on the right hand side. The groom's father should follow once the mother is escorted to her seat. However, if the groom's parents are divorced, the father of the groom will be seated first. He will be placed two seats behind the groom's mother. In a traditional religious ceremony, the groom's mother and the bride's mother are responsible for lighting the family candle at the altar before the wedding party enters.

Wedding Reception

At the reception, the groom's parents are responsible for standing at the entrance with the bride's parents and greeting guests. The groom's mother is traditionally placed between the bride and the bride's mother. However, if the fathers of the bride and groom also stand at the entrance to greet the guests, the groom's mother will stand between both fathers. It is also good etiquette for the groom's parents to introduce their friends and family to the bride and her family.

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About the Author

Residing in Raleigh, North Carolina, Fahlen Brown started her freelance writing career in 2011. She currently writes eHow articles and has held jobs in the administrative and customer service fields. Fahlen has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Meredith College.