Traditionally, the mother of the bride was in charge of all wedding preparations; modern practice more often than not places this authority with the bride and groom. However, this changing role does not mean the mother of the bride is obsolete. While it's evolved into more of a supporting role, this position still holds a lot of authority and responsibility before, during and after the ceremonies. Developing a customized checklist ensures that the duties of the marrying couple and mother of the bride are clearly laid out.
Leave the decision making to the bride and groom unless specific assistance is requested. Planning activities might include determining the menu, location, linen or other reception details. Leading up to the event, the mother of the bride may also be expected to coordinate between the bride and other family members, helping to send out invitations, assist with travel arrangements and explain the limitations of the guest list to the uninvited. A larger responsibility will be placed on mothers if they are closer to the businesses involved in the wedding, like if the caterer is a personal friend of the hers.
Elevating the mother of the bride as a figurehead ruler on the wedding day serves as a subtle nod to the traditional hosting role of the bridal parents. She may welcome guests to the ceremony, make last-minute arrangements, coordinate the arrival of food and entertainment, stand in the receiving line at the reception and give a toast at the meal. In order to be prepared for this responsibility, the mother of the bride should be equipped with a complete list of all anticipated activities and deliveries.
After the bride and groom have left the reception, they most likely won't return to the wedding festivities. This leaves the task of overseeing cleanup to the mother of the bride and other parents. While overseeing the cleanup, the parents should ensure all guests leave safely with their belongings, all vendors pack the correct equipment, food is distributed or stored and the hall has been undamaged. A checklist of all vendors and equipment may be used to ensure there is an accounting of all property.
Aside from the preparations for the events themselves, the mother of the bride should prepare herself for the wedding by purchasing an adequate wardrobe. Clothing will be required for the ceremony and reception. Additional outfits may be necessary if there are other wedding-related events before or after the wedding such as a rehearsal dinner or bridal shower. Outfits may include dress, shoes, purse, jewelry and hair accessories. Additional supplies for maintaining appearance--like a brush, comb, cosmetic--should be included in a tote or overnight bag. If the wedding is not being held at the house, care must be taken to ensure all personal effects such as eyeglasses, medication or camera are within easy reach.