Take a step forward

Traditionally, the parents of the groom are the least involved members of the wedding party. But they don’t have to be…

The role of parents of the groom is changing


Getting the job ‐ continued

Advertising executive Ben is set to marry his long‐term girlfriend Lucy in September. Lucy’s family situation is complicated by divorce and a falling‐out with her father, so the wedding will take place close to Ben’s family home.

‘My parents have four sons and it has been a family joke that one of us would have to marry an orphan so my parents could see one of us married from home,’ says Ben. ‘Of course, they would never have interfered if Lucy had wanted it differently, but they were delighted when we asked for their help.’

Sharing speeches

Some couples feel reluctant to ask the groom’s parents for financial help, but would still like them to be involved. This was the view of London‐based art curator Caroline, when she married her boyfriend Jorge at her family home in Switzerland.

The wedding was organised by her mother but, in a touching tribute to the couple, her mother and Jorge’s father planned a joint speech, each welcoming their new in‐law to the family. By the end, there was barely a dry eye in the room.

Sophie Livingstone, owner of wedding co‐ordinator Livingstone Associates, sums up the changing situation.

‘It is much more the modern thing to allow the groom’s parents to be involved,’ she says. ‘Many people choose not to stick to the idea of the traditional three speeches and arrangements are getting more relaxed.’

So don’t feel limited by tradition ‐‐ throw convention to the wind and when it comes to keeping the folks happy, why not make it a fantastic free‐for‐all!

Traditionally, the parents of the groom are the least involved members of the wedding party. But they don’t have to be.

Who’s paying?

Although custom dictates that the bride’s parents pay for the bulk of the wedding, today most people are only too well aware of the expense involved and both sets of parents may want to share the costs between them. The couple themselves often contribute too.

If you are sharing the costs, it’s best to make sure you have a good working relationship between you all. You need to make a list of who’s paying for everything, so that no misunderstandings arise.

If you’re not sharing costs equally, one common solution is that the groom’s family provides the wedding cake and pays for any food at the evening reception. If you can afford it, it’s a nice gesture to make.

Getting involved

Parents of the groom can do more than help out with the finances, however.

When Anna, a journalist from London, married Guy three years ago, the reception was held at Guy’s family home.

 ‘It was my idea,’ says Anna. ‘I didn’t want to get married in London and my mother‐in‐law lived in the country, so we decided to do it on her territory.’

Once Anna had broached the subject with her mother‐in‐law, she found her only too happy to help out. She helped Anna find a local marquee company, produced a cousin who ran a catering company and offered the flowers in her garden for the wedding.

‘It turned out to be much more economical having the wedding at her house,’ says Anna. ‘My parents still paid for a substantial part of the wedding and my mother, who was initially against the idea because it was taking the wedding out of HER territory, soon came round to the benefits!’

Getting the job

Sue Barnston, co‐owner of Perfect Day, a company which organises weddings, suggests that a good way to involve the parents of the groom is to arrange for them to take responsibility for some concrete aspect of the day.

This can range from the mother of the groom offering to bake the cake, to the groom’s parents offering to pay for some aspect of the reception as a present to the couple, be it the champagne, the music or the venue.

‘This is easier than adding money to a float,’ says Sue. ‘People like to take responsibility for something specific.’ In fact, rather than resenting the new burden, many groom’s parents are only too happy to pitch in.

Find Wedding Ideas, Inspiration, Venues and Services

mail icon

Subscribe to our Network

Stay connected with our network and get all the best Wedding Planning, Inspiration and Competitions directly into your inbox.