Help! I need some guidance in Mother-of-the Groom protocol and etiquette! My son and his fiance have set a September wedding date and have been working tirelessly to successfully plan and secure many of the necessary arrangements thus far. I know, even when I planned my wedding twenty-six plus years ago, there were certain things that needed to be tended to immediately. Most notably, the church and the hall. Of course, there really wasn’t much more than that. My dad, who was a Chicago Police Sergeant, knew another copper who dabbled in the bakery business, so the cake was a no-brainer. He also knew another colleague who was an amateur videographer on the side, so that was wrapped up neatly. My brother-in-law’s father managed a country club, and, voila, we had a hall! And, I bought my dress off-the-rack for one hundred twenty-five dollars Everything was so simple then.
In the ensuing years, I haven’t had to be involved in wedding planning, though I’ve heard things have changed. One thing I was informed of, by a young bride at my office, is that the first thing that needs to be done, is forget the church as far as reserving a date – it’s all about reserving a reception hall. That is what actually decides the wedding date. This was Mike and Laura’s first lesson. After visiting several sites, they came back with the same observation: upon telling the hall their desired months (October or November) to wed, they were informed of one or maybe two dates available during those months. When they finally decided on a hall they liked and felt comfortable with, it was the hall that determined the date, which will be in early September. Well, the weather should be a bit more predictable anyway.
So with the date and church set and the hall decided upon, they went about the task of nailing down all of the other things (bridal gown, music, photographer, etc) involved in wedding planning. A date was set for the girls to start looking at bridesmaid dresses, which my daughter, Mary Kate, is excited to be. It was set for last Thursday. If you recall, Thursday was the first day of winter here in Chicago. After a gorgeous Wednesday with temperatures near fifty, winter arrived with a vengeance – bitter cold temperatures, four to six inches of blowing and drifting snow, and dangerous driving conditions. Laura, wisely, cancelled the dress event, even though I told her I was planning to obnoxiously oppose every dress they suggested. Hmmm…no, I’m sure it was the weather that forced the change in plans. Anyway, the point is, that these kids seem to have a solid handle on this thing and I was thinking that most of the big stuff was pretty much taken care of, leaving the small details, which often really can’t be attended to until closer to the day. In my mind, we were sitting pretty.
So, this is where I come in and my need for advice. Laura’s mother called me the other day because someone had told her that if we harbored any thoughts about a summer bridal shower, we’d better get our keisters moving because those dates are filling up fast. Yikes. I know I could always host a shower at my house, but if you read my recent New Years Resolution blog about Christmas at my house, you’ll understand why I am willing to pay whatever I have to for a party room somewhere else. (In case you’re wondering about my resolve to organize, I’m working on it, so get off my back). Upon hearing this bit of news, Laura’s mom decided to call a few places and wouldn’t you know it? She got the same response the kids did – there were few dates available. Okay, here comes the advice part. As the Mother-of-the-Groom (MOTG, from this point on, because it’s kind of hard to insert all those hyphens and I’m not really sure it deserves capitalization) what is expected of me? I’m happy to provide anything necessary, but I don’t want to step on toes. And I certainly don’t want everyone to be waiting on me to act if I’m supposed to be doing something and I’m too dumb to know it. When they first announced their engagement, I immediately thought I would buy a wedding etiquette book. But, this kind of hit me out of left field, so I resorted to googling MOTG duties, protocol, etiquette,etc and just kept coming up with the same sites discussing obvious things like, “Don’t upstage the bride on her big day.” Duh – even I know that.
So, I humbly turn to you for help. Any and all suggestions are welcome. What is expected of me? I know nothing – well, except that last thing about not wearing a white beaded gown that day, or for that matter, a red mini skirt, so you can relax, Mike.