by Robbin Montero            Your son or daughter is getting married and you are excited at the thought of planning the wedding! So excited, perhaps you can’t sleep. You buy every book on the subject and talk endlessly of things you never had at your wedding that you want for your child.

            Slow down! The most important thing to remember is that this is your adult child’s big day, not yours. Even if you pay for the “whole enchilada” your opinion should be offered when (and if) you are asked for it.

            You may be one of the lucky mothers whose daughter wants you involved in all decisions, or whose future daughter-in-law values your suggestions, but don’t despair if the wedding couple has their own ideas and wants to make most decisions independent of yours. It’s important for them to work on this first joint project together. Besides, some specific things are expected of the parents, so no matter who is planning the ceremony and reception, you are assured an opportunity to participate.



            Especially if they haven’t met the bride’s family, the groom’s parents should host the engagement party. This is an opportunity for the parents to become acquainted. If they already are acquainted, the bride’s parents can host the party if the groom’s parents don’t offer to do so.

            The bride’s parents traditionally pay for the wedding. Recognizing that not all families have unlimited budgets, the bride’s parents should meet with the bridal couple early in the planning process to discuss the budget and what they are comfortable contributing to the wedding. Offer to set up a wedding account so the bride can have access to the money and write necessary checks as wedding-related deposits become due. It’s also acceptable to use your credit card to gain mileage or cash back bonuses for yourself.

            In recent years the groom’s family has taken on the role of hosting and paying for the rehearsal dinner, which is a nice way to share the costs. Both sets of parents should make a list of people they wish to invite to the reception. The hosting parents (usually the bride’s) determine how many guests the groom’s family may invite. If the church and reception facility will accommodate additional guests, the groom’s family is responsible to pay for their excess guests.


Looking the part

            To coordinate for the wedding and photographs, mothers of the bride and groom should consult with the bride regarding the color, type and styles of dresses they will buy. The bride should accompany both mothers on their dress-shopping day. The fathers of the bride and groom should schedule fittings for their tuxedos.

            Family heirlooms from either side can be offered for the ceremonies and celebrations to deepen the sense of tradition and bonding. They include jewelry, cake servers or cake toppers.



            The father of the bride’s responsibility is to walk her down the aisle, if she chooses.

At the reception, the bride’s father offers the first toast and the father of the groom may offer a second. Also, there should be a father of the bride-daughter dance and a mother of the bride-groom dance, followed by the bridal couple switching to dance with the groom’s parents.

            It’s the role of both sets of parents to mingle and thank the guests for attending. Like the bridal couple, they are “on stage” for the entire time during this event, along with the newlyweds. Either set of parents can also host a farewell brunch the day following the wedding.

            Supporting the bride and groom as they need support, while they spread their wings and plan their big day will bring you satisfaction and it is a gift that will be appreciated by them through the years.


 “Stress Free, Leave the Details to Me,” is the tried and true philosophy of Robbin Montero, California Wine Country wedding planning expert and owner of A Dream Wedding.  Robbin is the premier wedding planner in the Northern California Wine Country, transforming any vision into the perfectly designed wedding creation. Robbin and her weddings have been featured in The Knot, Brides, Elite Magazine, Your Wedding Day and Vine Napa/Sonoma magazines, and Travel & Leisure magazine calls Robbin, “The expert wedding planner in the California Wine Country.”

Robbin Montero is a wedding coordinator and special events planner in Northern California.

©2006 Robbin Montero

This article cannot be reprinted without Robbin Montero’s expressed written permission.