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  • Writer's pictureTraci Howard

Misunderstood Wedding Traditions

We love tradition. When it comes to weddings, we often find that couples are unaware of traditional wedding planning aspects such as who throws a bridal party or who pays for specific activities associated with the celebration. While traditions evolve, we do believe there are some traditional aspects of the wedding planning process that are timeless. Here are a few of the most common misunderstood traditions that we often consult on when working with couples and families who are planning a wedding.

The Bridal Shower

As tradition has it, the hosts of a bridal shower typically include the maid of honor, wedding party, or family friend. We also find that the groom’s family is involved which allows the soon to be joined family a chance to celebrate the bride, which they may or may not know well. When a mother of the bride starts the process of planning a shower, we typically encourage them to delegate that planning to some else who is interested in hosting. By taking a supporting role versus a host role, the mother of the bride is offered the chance to celebrate alongside her daughter.

It is not uncommon for a bride to share with us that the maid of honor and wedding party have not initiated a conversation about a bridal shower. There could be many reasons for this including finances, lack of interest, or simply not knowing that this is traditionally part of their role. While it may seem awkward, it is appropriate to gently begin the conversation about when the MOH or wedding party is thinking of hosting the shower. Getting this date on your calendar is important as you approach the months leading up to your wedding day. We offer our clients resources that they can share with their wedding party to help guide them in the right direction for planning a bridal shower and in some cases, our services have been retained to help with the planning.

In the big picture, the bride should be celebrated by anyone and everyone who loves and supports their marriage. If someone offers to plan a bridal shower and it doesn’t follow tradition, that is ok. Enjoy being celebrated.

Groom’s Family Responsibilities

We tend to think that the bride and her family are the most important parties to the

wedding planning process. NOT TRUE! The Groom’s family has just as an important role in the planning leading up to the ceremony and reception.

Traditionally the financial responsibilities for the groom and his family include paying for the bride’s bouquet, boutonnieres for the groomsmen, fathers, and grandfathers, along with corsages for the mothers and grandmothers on both sides of the family. In addition, the groom’s family typically plans and pays for the rehearsal dinner.

Helping with wedding plans, putting together a groom’s family and friends guest list, and spreading the word of the upcoming nuptials are also part of the groom’s family’s responsibility. In some cases, the parents of the bride and groom may not have met in person. It is customary for the groom’s parents to initiate meeting their future in-laws, preferably prior to the wedding.

It’s safe to say that even the groom’s family will find themselves busy during the wedding planning process. Whether the family chooses to stick with tradition or take on a more non-traditional role, there is plenty of opportunity for the groom’s family to take part in the planning.

Mother of the Bride

Oh, the mother of the Bride, the MOB, the mama, the bride’s best friend…whatever you call her. Her wedding planning and day of role is a mix of enjoying the moment to being a positive and assuring resource to the bride. We’ve worked with so many mothers of the brides. Some are super hands on per the bride’s request and in some cases, the MOB has attended the wedding and left the planning up to other family members.

There is so much joy the mother of the bride brings to the process from dress shopping support, finding family heirlooms to incorporate into the ceremony, and assisting with the bride’s family and friends guest list.

Traditionally, the mother of the bride served as the point of contact for vendors, assisted with venue selection, approved the ceremony seating and timeline, and wrangled the bridesmaids on the day of the wedding to make sure everyone was ready at show time. Overtime, wedding, and event planners have taken the lead on these roles and worked closely with the mother of the bride at their request. In some cases, the mother of the bride does fulfill these duties and then a wedding planner oversees the wedding planning process in the weeks leading up to the event. That gives the mother of the bride the ability to enjoy the time with her daughter leading up to and on the wedding day.

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