I’ve had the honor of getting to know some fabulous Mothers of the Groom, or MoG’s as we call them. The ones who are the happiest on the wedding day and maintain healthy relationships with their sons and new in-laws follow these 10 rules. And I’ll say that to follow these 10 to a T would probably require the temperament of a saint!
1. Self Care Routine
The first rule is this. You are going to spend the engagement supporting and giving to others. So start with setting up a self-care routine for your self! Go back to the gym, starting see that counselor again, schedule a message. Find a trusting friend who has a son that was recently married, and take her to coffee. Your feelings will get hurt at least once, and you deserve a good friend who has been there that you can reach out to!
2. Clear Communication from the Start
Communicate well early on. At the time of the engagement, reach out to the Mother of the Bride, your son, and your soon to be in-law. Celebrate the news and also say in plan language what you plan to contribute.
3. Name the Price
It doesn’t matter how much you contribute or how many items you cover. It’s more important that you are clear. Etiquette holds that the Groom and his family cover the rehearsal dinner expenses, floral for immediate family and the Bride’s bouquet, and the officiant fees. If you’ll cover these, let them know upfront. Say something like “I look forward to hosting the rehearsal dinner and make sure you send me the florist’s information so I can contribute.” If you’re concerned about what you can afford, be more specific. “I have money set aside for floral for the wedding. When it comes time to pay your florist, please send me her number and I’ll put $1,000 to the bill.” You’ll have other chances to surprise your son with a gift or contribution, but for these items, be upfront and clear.
4. Give Grace
Next, be the most generous giver of grace out there! You’ve likely planned your own wedding and maybe one or two for another child. But it may be a first for your soon to be in-laws. How they plan a wedding is not how they’ll be with everything for the rest of your lives together. So give them grace, forgive the slight missteps, and offer support when you can.
5. Create your own Wedding Planning To-do List
You actually have quite a bit to handle for yourself. So no worries if you’re not involved in all the wedding plans. Focus on the rehearsal dinner, your pre-wedding beauty routine, brush up on your exercise routine, and find the perfect dress. But remember that etiquette says the mother of the bride gets to pick her dress first.
6. Be flexible with your Time
If asked to attend an appointment, help plan a shower, or stuff invitations, say yes, and make the time. These are the moments to set the foundation for many more special moments. Also, be flexible about the wedding day. If invited to be present at the getting ready location, carve out the time to go even if just for a few pictures.
7. Be Thoughtful
Even among friends, choose what to share and not to share. If you don’t know how many guests you can invite, avoid committing invitations to anyone. If you need to address a concern, do it in a gentle but straightforward way. Before bringing up new ideas or suggestions, think about how it will be received. There’s a quote from The Crown, where Queen Elizabeth says “To do nothing is the hardest job of all.” This couldn’t be more true for you as the MoG. It’s a difficult role to play.
8. Know Love Languages
Figure out how to love your new in-laws. I am a big fan of The 5 Love Languages, a book by Gary Chapman. Check it out if you have not already read it. Learn if he or she loves to receive presents, acts of service, affection, affirmation, or quality time. Your son probably knows the answer. Give in ways that register for them. Use social media to get to know what’s going on in their daily lives. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
9. Let Them In
Number 9, is often overlooked. But it’s important to let your soon to be family get to know you too. Invite them to dinner, send a hand-written note, share life updates, tell stories.
10. Embrace the Change
Offer your wisdom as your son moves forward into this new stage of his life. You are needed for guidance. If you can be emotionally ready to give sound advice, it is so valuable to the couple.
I hope these 10 tips are useful to you. Enjoy your growing family, and happy rehearsal dinner planning!