Emily Post On Families & Your Wedding

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Marriages not only mark the uniting of a couple—they also involve the merging of two families. Certain family members may be given specific roles within the wedding, but it's fine to assign roles—or not—to best fit your particular family. The authority on etiquette shares a breakdown of family members’ traditional roles and responsibilities.


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Mother of the Bride

The mother of the bride may help her daughter in many different aspects of planning, such as scouting out venues, managing the guest list, and finding the perfect dress. She traditionally has the honor of choosing her outfit before the groom's mother. The mother of the bride attends the bridal shower and rehearsal dinner and typically heads up the receiving line at the reception.


Father of the Bride

The bride's father may co-host an engagement party with his wife. They have the first pick on the date, if the groom's parents also want to hold their own party. The father of the bride is traditionally the one to escort her down the aisle (although this is not always the case). He may also give a special speech during the reception and have a dance with his daughter.


Mother of the Groom

Generally, the mother of the groom should defer to the mother of the bride. That said, she may offer to help with different aspects of the wedding preparations. The mother of the groom may wish to initiate get-togethers with the bride and her family prior to the wedding. She should consult with the mother of the bride before planning her outfit. The mother of the groom should attend the bridal shower, if possible, and any other pre-wedding parties. With her husband, she is the traditional co-host of the rehearsal dinner. At the reception, she stands in the receiving line and may dance with her son.


Father of the Groom

The father of the groom traditionally hosts the rehearsal dinner with his wife. As host of the event, he kicks off any toasts given that evening. He may also give a speech at the reception and stand in the receiving line.


For the full list including the grandparents, siblings, children’s roles and more, click here.  


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The Emily Post Institute promotes etiquette in America and around the world.  Acting as a social civility barometer, EPI elucidates new manners for today's world based on core values of honesty, respect, and consideration. To read more, click here!