We all know that tradition dictates a lot when it comes to a wedding. In general, couples like to uphold the tradition of the bride’s family bearing most of the financial strain of the big day.
Oftentimes this can lead the groom’s parents to feel left out or a little awkward that they’re not contributing as much.
However, it needn’t be this way!
We’re here to tell you that the groom’s parents’ responsibilities can be just as important as those of the bride and her parents. In fact, you can break with tradition altogether if that’s the most appropriate course of action for you and your wedding. Equally, what if there are two grooms? How do you split the responsibilities then?
Luckily we’ve come up with just the post to address these questions and more.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the traditional responsibilities of the groom’s parents. As well as that we’ll consider extra responsibilities they can also do before, during, and after the big day. We’ll also share our advice on how to make the groom’s parents feel as valued and as involved as possible with the entirety of the wedding.
So have no fear. We’ve got you covered. By the end of this article the groom’s parents will have so many roles and responsibilities that they’ll be begging for mercy…haha just kidding!
Traditional Responsibilities of the Groom’s Parents
Whilst it’s well established that the parents of the bride usually foot the bill for the big day the roles of the groom’s parents are perhaps a little lesser known.
At the same time, weddings have changed a lot from, say 100 years ago. Nowadays it’s much more likely that the couple themselves will offer up a large contribution to the day’s events. Especially with the average wedding costing between $20k-$40k according to Zola.com  it’s easy to see why a couple may need as much help as they can get.
At the end of the day, the parents of a couple getting married can contribute as much or as little as they feel comfortable with. It shouldn’t be an expectation and also shouldn’t be the source of an argument between the parents.
With all that being said, let’s take a look at some of the traditional responsibilities that you may expect the groom’s parents to take care of. These are simply traditions so it’s up to you whether or not you choose to uphold them.
First up on our list of the groom’s parent’s responsibilities is to potentially host an engagement party. This is a great chance for both sets of parents to meet for potentially the first time in a formal setting. Equally, they can invite extended family and the couple will be surrounded by all their nearest and dearest as they celebrate their engagement to one another.
The Bride’s Rings
It’s not uncommon for the groom’s parents to help with or completely fund the purchase of the engagement and wedding rings, and yes there is a difference!. Doing this is thought to be symbolic of their approval of their new daughter-in-law. However, it also serves the purpose of saving the groom quite a chunk of change. Rings can be expensive, particularly engagement rings so if the parents can help out it is much appreciated.
Groom and Groomsmen Attire
Whilst it’s not always the case and most definitely not the law, the groom’s parents may help when it comes to the groom and groomsmen attire. They can help to pick out the right suit but also assist with the purchase. Like many things in a wedding, the costs can soon add up. Controlling the number of groomsmen a groom has is obviously one way of saving money but as is a significant financial contribution from his parents.
The responsibility of the rehearsal dinner usually falls at the feet of the groom’s parents. This is a meal or get-together that typically takes place the night before the big day. If the families aren’t already acquainted this can be particularly useful. At the same time even if they have met it’s a great opportunity to understand the ebb and flow of the day ahead.
Grooms will often present their groomsmen and ushers with gifts on the day of the wedding. Perhaps a personalized hip flask or a handkerchief, whatever the item is, the cost of their purchase is usually covered by the groom’s parents.
The Bride’s Bouquet
In coordination with the bride’s wishes, the groom’s parents could take the responsibility of organizing the bride’s bouquet. This could be finding the perfect florist or paying for the bouquet, whatever they’re comfortable with. It could even go a step further as they could help with all the flowers on the day from the corsages to the buttonholes and even the floral displays at the venue, it’s really up to them how much they want to contribute.
The Marriage License
An important job in the lead-up to the wedding is to obtain the marriage license. This comes with its own paperwork and associated fees but is often something the groom’s parents will help out with. The cost varies from state to state but this is a great way to help the groom’s parents feel like a vital part of the big day.
Fee for the Officiant
No wedding is complete without someone to officiate it now, is it? Whilst you may be able to rope in a family member or friend to lead this it can sometimes be better to hire a professional. If that’s the case it’s a cost that the groom’s parents can cover. Equally, they may offer to lead the ceremony but that can get a little awkward if that isn’t really what you both want as a couple.
Whether you choose to have a Mariachi band playing pop music or hire a wedding DJ. they’re all going to cost a considerable chunk of change. However, the groom’s parents can sometimes foot the bill for such extravagances. This is particularly true if they value this part of the day and want to make the reception as fun and entertaining as possible.
We’ve attended many weddings as photographers where the groom’s parents have footed the bill to allow for a free bar. Two gin and tonics thank you very much. This can be a great way to ensure everyone has a great time and hits the dancefloor with their best wedding dance moves. It can be a costly one though so the groom’s parents should maybe think about putting a limit on how much they contribute. Things can quickly get out of hand. Trust us!
Reception Exit Transport
We like the reception exit to be a vintage car with cans or balloons tied to the rear bumper and the customary “just married” sign as the couple drives away. Arranging such a picture-perfect moment can fall to the groom’s parents. This can either be kept as a surprise (we like that idea) or be a mutual decision. However, if you’re the couple and do want this surprise it’s time to start dropping those hints asap!
Who pays for the honeymoon isn’t always black and white. It’s a rather large expense so it’s not uncommon for a couple to ask for money instead of items from a traditional wedding registry.
However, if the groom’s parents are particularly flush with cash or just feeling super generous they may offer to pay for the honeymoon. This can be a great wedding gift that allows a newly married couple some relaxation after the stresses of the wedding. It’s something that the couple won’t forget in a hurry, let’s put it that way.
Other Responsibilities of the Groom’s Parents
Lots of the responsibilities we’ve listed so far involve financial contributions from the groom’s parents. However, what about responsibilities that aren’t all about money and are more concerned with being there to support the groom and his partner with the finer details of the wedding?
Let’s take a look at some of these now and how they can really make a difference before, during, and after the big day.
Before the Wedding
Help with the Guest List
Simply helping the groom with the guest list can be a huge responsibility for the groom’s parents. Helping to determine how many guests to invite to a wedding can play a major part in the budget and logistics of the overall big day.
Meet Partner’s Parents
We’ve already discussed this one a little. However, if the groom’s parents don’t arrange an engagement party or rehearsal dinner they might not meet their partner’s parents until the big day. It can therefore be important for them to take the initiative and suggest a meeting so that they can form a connection with them and share responsibilities before the wedding day arrives.
Consult with the Parents of Their Partner to Avoid Clashing Outfits
The groom’s parents should consult with the groom’s partner’s parents so that they avoid clashing outfits on the wedding day. Men will usually wear similar suits and that’s all fine and dandy but you don’t want the mother of the groom and the mother of the bride turning up in matching dresses and fascinators, do you?
On the Wedding Day
Offer to Help with Anything
A rather simple one really and not just reserved for the groom’s parents is to offer help wherever possible. Has the bride left her shoes at home? Offer to go and collect them or arrange for someone to drop them off. These little favors go a long way to show your support of the marriage and treat the groom’s partner like one of the family.
Get Ready Together
A nice touch that we see at a lot of weddings is for the groom’s parents to get ready with the groom. This can either be at the groom’s parent’s home or in the same hotel room. The morning of the wedding can be a stressful time. Surrounding yourself with your parents can put you at ease and offer you the emotional support that may be well needed. For some, it can of course cause additional stress so we say each to their own in this regard.
A perfect responsibility for the groom’s parents is to do a reading during the ceremony. This is a great way to help them feel involved. The bride’s father will typically walk the bride down the aisle. So it’s a good idea to make sure everyone has a role to play and their moment in the spotlight.
In a similar vein to the reading in the ceremony, the groom’s parents can also make a wedding speech if they want. This will be down to the discretion of the couple but it’s definitely become more common in recent years. Especially so if there are two grooms getting married. The parents can deliver this speech together or separately and follow the typical protocols of talking about their son and welcoming their partner to the family.
It’s sometimes appropriate for the groom’s parents to assist the groom down the aisle. We like this tradition as it gives them their moment in the spotlight. They can link arms with the groom as they walk down the aisle and place the groom in a position at the end to receive his partner.
A responsibility that the groom’s parents will relish is to simply be involved. They can often get overlooked particularly in a heterosexual marriage where the bride’s parents often hold more sway in decision-making. This will obviously come down to your relationship and whether they actually like the idea of having these types of responsibilities.
However, it can really make them feel included and as though they’re helping the groom create the best day possible. This can be in the form of things such as assisting with the planning or the logistics of travel arrangements. Whatever they are best at, try to get them on board.
Greeting Guests in the Receiving Line
The groom’s parents should participate in the receiving line at the wedding reception if you’re having one. We think this is a great way for them to be introduced to guests that they’ve perhaps never met. This formality establishes the groom’s parents’ role in helping with the big day and for them to thank guests for attending.
Dance with the Groom
The final responsibility of the groom’s parents on the wedding day could be to dance with the groom. This is a gorgeous touch and one we love to capture as wedding photographers. It often gets emotional so just be ready for the tears to roll and not be left with a dry eye in the venue. You can choose a song that means a lot to you as a family or a new song that you’ll be able to make memories from.
Help with the Thank-Yous
Sending out thank-you cards is something most couples dread doing once the wedding is over. It’s a laborious job that can take a lot of time. However, the groom’s parents can definitely help to alleviate some of that burden by offering to help.
That can make the whole process go a lot smoother by supplying the addresses of the family from their side. Not only does this make the process a lot quicker but it also makes sure that everyone is thanked in the correct way as soon as possible after the wedding festivities are over.
Offer Assistance with Post-Wedding Tasks
Just because the wedding is over it doesn’t mean the groom’s parents’ responsibilities are done with. There are a multitude of tasks to take care of and they can help out wherever possible to ease the pressure on the newlyweds.
These can be jobs such as helping to return rented outfits, selling unwanted decorations left over from the big day or they may choose to pay for a service like wedding gown preservation. The list goes on and on and their offer of help will be greatly appreciated by a couple.
How to Ask the Groom’s Parents to Help with the Wedding
So, you’re planning the big day and want to ask the groom’s parents for some assistance?
It’s important to approach the situation with care and consideration. Realistically they are under no obligation to help you out financially but that doesn’t mean they won’t. Discussing things like money can be a sensitive subject so just keep that in mind.
As we’ve talked about in the article there are other ways that they can help you that don’t rely on money.
Don’t Beat Around the Bush
As we’ve touched on, asking for financial assistance can be a touchy subject. However, it’s sometimes better to tackle things in a direct manner and find out where everyone’s head is at.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be tactful but speak openly about the groom’s parents’ responsibilities. Use examples from friends’ weddings and this blog post of course to explain to them what usually happens. If you’re straightforward in your approach there should be less room for ambiguity.
Politeness Can Go a Long Way
It goes without saying but if you’re asking for help from the groom’s parents, be polite when doing so. You should appreciate the little things they offer to do as much as the big gestures. If they can’t support the wedding financially but are more than happy to assist in any other ways then be sure to thank them just the same.
Allow Them Some Input
If you’re going to ask the groom’s parents for help then make sure to allow them some input into the big decisions of the day. This will make them feel included and like a valued member of the wedding committee. Allow them to voice their opinions and carefully consider what they have to say. This will all go a long way in how receptive they are to offering their help.
What if There Are Two Grooms?
If the wedding has two grooms then you have two sets of grooms parents to share the load of all the wedding tasks. Wow, that was a mouthful!
In this case, there wouldn’t necessarily be specific roles for each set of parents that adhere to tradition. Instead, you simply need to think about dividing up all the jobs and roles for the big day.
For instance, both sets of parents could contribute 50% towards the venue hire, the entertainment, and the wedding photographer. Have a sit down with them all and explain that you think it’s best for them to go halves on the wedding as a whole.
If that isn’t feasible then understand that whilst one set of parents may make a large financial contribution the other set of parents may be able to help out in other more hands-on ways.
How much should the groom’s parents contribute to a wedding?
When it comes to how much the groom’s parents should contribute there’s no fixed amount we’re sorry to say. It would be nice if they’d match the contribution of the bride’s parents, wouldn’t it? so that the financial load is all shared equally.
At the same time though the decision to get married is one made by a couple. Therefore there should be no expectation that they’ll receive financial help to pay for it all.
The amount parents contribute is solely up to them and their financial position. At the same time, it’ll also depend on the wedding budget and how much the couple themselves are contributing.
What should the mother of the groom not do?
We’ve all heard the stories of overbearing mothers of the groom attempting to take charge of every last wedding detail, haven’t we? Oh just us then…?
Well, as with all parents of the couple getting married they should all avoid taking too much control and making it about them.
Yes, they might be contributing significantly to the day but they shouldn’t ruin it for their children. This should be a day to celebrate them and their love so it’s important that their wishes are respected.
If the couple wants a folky acoustic live act but the mother of the bride likes brass bands. Book the folky acoustic music, it goes without saying really.
Is there a groom’s parents’ wedding gift etiquette?
There is no exact science to the groom’s parents’ wedding gift. As long as they get them something thoughtful this will go a long way. That being said they could also opt for giving the happy couple a sentimental item, perhaps jewelry passed down through generations. Or it could simply offer as much help as humanly possible. As long as they are there to support the couple in their new marriage then that’s all that should matter.
While there is no specific groom’s parents’ wedding gift etiquette, it’s a thoughtful gesture for them to give a meaningful gift to the couple. This can be a sentimental item, a financial contribution, or an experience that holds significance. The gift should reflect their love, support, and best wishes for the newlyweds.
Does the groom’s family pay for alcohol?
It’s not compulsory but will definitely be a well-received gift by the couple. The bride’s parents usually arrange a free bar at the venue with a limit. Say for instance they put $2000 behind the bar. Once that limit is reached guests then have to pay for their drinks.
It’s obviously quite a large expense to offer a free bar and we’ve definitely seen it get out of hand over the years. However, it does a great job of making guests very happy and they’ll be sure to repay the favor by buying the groom’s parents a few drinks here and there.
We hope that you can hopefully see from reading our article that the groom’s parents’ responsibilities can be numerous. They can take the form of financial help paying for physical objects or experiences. Or their responsibilities can come in the form of helping the couple with the planning and preparations for the big day.
In our opinion, financial responsibilities should never be expected. The couple getting married has chosen to do so and should be aware of the associated costs. This can be especially true based on the age of the couple as well. The older a couple is the less likely parents will pay for the entire wedding.
However, we also appreciate it’s a nice touch to set a couple up for their life together without the worry of paying for a wedding. This will generally come down to the groom’s parent’s finances and attitude to the whole situation.
That being said, if they haven’t got the money to support the groom financially it doesn’t mean they can’t have responsibilities. There are lots of things they can do that don’t cost money, simply being there to support the groom, giving a reading or a speech are all things that, if done correctly can tug on the heartstrings of all the guests.
In our experience, the groom’s parents can often get overlooked on the day. So make sure to involve them wherever possible and give them as many responsibilities as you think they can handle.