|Wedding Site....59th St. Pier, Ocean City, NJ|
There are thousands of sites that direct themselves to the parents of the bride and each one of them contains some small script addressed to the parents of the groom saying “the rehearsal dinner is your responsibility”. We get this. The place has already been selected and the menu is being worked on. But after that, there are just vague suggestions of what the groom's parents “could” offer to pay for, like flowers, rings, honeymoons, photographers or the bar bill at the reception (yeah….no, that last one is not going to happen. A lot of our friends are coming).
And to further confuse things, there are several sites that suggest that maybe, just maybe, the groom’s mother could fulfill her duties simply by blending in. (The groom’s father will do this willingly). Take for instance About.com. Now, this website is a division of the Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times and is designed to give expert advice on any subject typed into its search engine. So, I’m thinking that this is where I need to be, right? Uh…wrong! When I typed in “responsibilities of the groom’s mother”, I was told to shut up. Literally.
“Your little boy is all grown up and is getting married. Now you're not just Mom, you're the Mother of the Groom. There's a traditional saying about what the mother of the groom is supposed to do – Show Up, Shut Up and Wear Beige.” What? And then it continues, “While mothers of the groom don't really need to wear beige anymore they still need to shut up. I know this may be hard to hear, but it's true. You may have some helpful advice to share, but make sure you stop giving it before it becomes intrusive or nagging.” I have nowhere to go with this, umm….useful (?) information.
As “show up, shut up and wear beige” is still resonating in my head, I quickly switch websites and find this on Articlesbase.com; “The groom's mom should only compliment the gowns to be worn by the bride's mom and bridesmaids, not overdo or outdo them.”. Well no problem here. As a non-speaking, non-intrusive mother of the groom dressed in beige and blending in with the sand at a beach wedding, it would be hard to “outdo” anyone. Maybe I should just put on a wet suit and quietly snorkel in the nearby waves. Do they sell beige wet suits?
Most of the websites I visit are all basically telling me the same thing my sister told me when she got her driver’s license a year ahead me, “You’re allowed to go, but get in the back seat”. And I know that the bride and her family don’t really feel this way! They have warmly included us in all of the decisions so far. I just can’t help wanting to stay ahead of the game and provide the services that might be expected of us.
So I decide to get serious and visit USBridalGuide.com where renowned etiquette expert Emily Post states on weddings “traditions adapt to modern times, the bride and groom and their families may split the wedding costs many different ways. However, a set of guidelines still exists for who pays for what in a wedding. The bride's parents foot most of the bill, but the groom's parents also have a number of financial responsibilities….” And then, once again, the vagueness of what those responsibilities are continued.
The one thing we have on our side here is that the bride and groom are both college educated professionals who will be very responsible with a wedding budget; there is no fear that they will waste funds on matching ring tattoos. So, with that in mind, I decided to abandon all wedding websites for further advice, and my husband and I offered a lump sum amount to the couple that they can use where ever needed.
I am comfortable in that decision and can now set my sites on the next item of my personal wedding agenda. In September, I start working with a personal trainer. If I have to “show up, shut up and where beige”, I’m going to look damn good doing it. Stay tuned!