Is the Mother of the Groom Feeling Left Out? Here's How to Include Your Future Mother-in-Law in the Planning

Don't forget that the wedding is important to her too!

The mother of the groom can definitely tend to feel a little left out. As her future daughter-in-law, take special care to make your future mother-in-law feel like she's part of the big day.

modern las vegas wedding reception at red rock resort spa casino bride and mother in law smiling at each other
Photo: Haley Ringo Photography

When a wedding day is frequently referred to as being “all about the bride,” the mother of the bride tends to get more than her fair share of attention and duties during the wedding-planning process. But what about the mother of the groom? Since most of the wedding planning attention is on the bride and groom, as well as the mother of the bride, it's important to make other family members – particularly your future in-laws – feel like they're part of the wedding-planning process as well.

The mother of the groom can definitely tend to feel a little left out, especially if her son isn’t particularly keen on being involved in the decision-making processes in the steps leading to getting married. However, his parents are excited too – even more so if the groom is their first-born child or they don’t have any daughters. As their future daughter-in-law, take special care to make your future mother-in-law feel like she's part of the big day. After all, she raised your husband-to-be, so you'll want to make sure she's involved in the wedding day, assuming everyone has a good relationship.

Considering the reputation in-laws – particularly mothers-in-law – have, being considerate while planning your wedding can go a long way towards a smoother relationship with the mother of the groom in the future. Of course, you also don’t want to give away all control of your wedding as there are already so many opinions to consider, so here are 11 tips on how to involve your future mother-in-law in the planning process.

Find out what aspect she’s most interested in.

Just as you and your groom have your favorite parts of the wedding-planning process, your mother and the mother of the groom also have their favorites. If the mother of the groom loves music, have her help pick a wedding band or DJ – or at least ask for her advice if you're deciding between one to three options for the wedding. If she loves sweets, consider bringing your husband's mother along to the cake tasting or any dessert-related meetings.

Incorporate her culture.

If you and your future spouse are from different cultural backgrounds, reach out to your partner’s mother to learn about their culture and traditions. She will definitely appreciate you wanting to learn more, and you can even go one step further to ask how you can include various cultural customs or traditions in the big day. Even if you and your future spouse are of the same cultural background, this is still a nice gesture to see if there are any family traditions you should include as a couple for the wedding.

Ask for recommendations.

Just like you would ask your mom for opinion while wedding planning, think of the mother of the groom as well! If she's particularly into fashion, ask for her recommendation on fabrics to consider for your wedding gown or bridesmaid dresses. Does she love food? Ask for her recommendations on a menu for cocktail hour and the reception. Another thought is to ask her advice about the wedding registry, such as what brands or retailers she recommends. This can be a great option if you don't particularly share the same taste when it comes to planning. Just make sure the style of the wedding-registry items is still to your taste or resentment might grow.

Go shopping!

Shopping is always be a great way to bond – especially if you live nearby. Some brides choose to ask the mother of the groom to come along to the bridal salon; however, if you'd prefer to do that on your own or with a smaller group, help her shop for a mother-of-the-groom dress! If your future husband doesn't like to shop, consider going to the tuxedo shop with the mother of the groom instead to pull various options for your groom to try on when he's ready. This can also be a great activity for the father of the groom to partake in!

Plan part of the wedding together.

Traditionally, the groom's family organized the rehearsal dinner; however, modern weddings often have the bride and groom planning all of the wedding events on their own – or even the mother of the bride stepping in to make arrangements. That being said, if the groom’s parents are throwing the rehearsal dinner, let the mother of the groom plan it (if she wants to). You get one day to make your own, and that’s the wedding! If you want her help planning another part of the big day, the offer will likely be appreciated!

Get ready together.

As the bride, you'll likely get ready for your ceremony with your bridesmaids, your mother, and other female relatives; however, if you're close with the mother of the groom and it won't cause you any additional stress, ask her to partake in the getting-ready festivities as well! If your mom is getting her hair and makeup done, include your future mother-in-law in the getting-ready process one step further by treating her to hair and makeup as well.

The Couple and Their Families in laws

Photo by KT Merry Photography; Planning & Design by Posh Parties; Venue: The Breakers; From Real Wedding: Soft-Hued Spring Wedding at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida

Ask for her opinion.

Make sure your fiancé asks his parents for their opinion on wedding-related things such as his groom's attire or wedding ring. You can also ask for the mother of the groom's advice on other wedding-related items that you feel comfortable with as her future daughter-in-law. Whether want her opinion on a fabric for the napkins or linens, a font or monogram style for the invitation or wedding paper goods, or even a song to play at the ceremony or reception, she will be thrilled to be included in anything wedding-related – especially if you take her advice.

Allow her to help.

If she asks if she can help, say yes! Even if you think you can do it all yourself, or if you don’t want to be a burden, she might feel you’re pushing her away if you decline her offer to help. Easy ways to have her stay involved include helping with wedding favors, building welcome baskets, or stuffing envelopes. Of course, every wedding is different, so there are many other activities she could contribute to – just make sure to not ask her for too much help, as is true for your bridesmaids and other family members. You don't want anyone feeling as though they're being used for free labor.

Include her in pre-wedding events.

Above all else, make sure she’s on the guest list for the bridal shower! If you'd like her to attend other pre-wedding events – or even big meetings like tastings, fittings, or walk-throughs, make that known. As her son, your groom will likely know what his mom wants to be included in, so check with him before you ask her. With a wedding comes the joining of two families, so these events are great opportunities for the women in your life – old and new – to get to know each other before the big day.

Show her your bridal gown.

If you want to keep your shopping trip for your wedding dress intimate, that's okay! Many brides only want a couple of friends or their mom to be included; however, that doesn't mean you can't also involve other family members! If she's interested, send her a photo of your dress – assuming she won't spill the secret to her son – or show her a few options you're deciding between to see which one she likes the best. You can always leave the surprise open, but it will be a lovely bonding experience to share a photo with the woman who raised your future husband. If you want to include her even more, perhaps extend an invitation to one of your dress fittings, so your future mother-in-law can get a sneak peek of your gown in person!

Incorporate a special dance at the wedding.

While father-daughter dances are customary, many modern weddings are also incorporating mother-son dances to honor both families. Whether or not your fiancé has heard of this trend, encourage your him have a mother-son dance so she’ll get a moment in the spotlight. It will be a touching experience for them as well as you, so take the opportunity!

As with anything wedding-related, it's important to make decisions that make sense for you as a couple. You're the ones getting married, so make it your own; however, parents always love to give advice, so even if they got married decades ago, they'll want to share their wisdom with their children. The one thing you can do to make everyone feel heard is to listen. You don't always have to take the advice given, but make it known that you appreciate their opinion and respect their time and consideration.

In the case that you don't get along with your mother or the mother of the groom, use the above suggestions sparingly. It can go a long way to the health of your future relationship with your mother-in-law to extend an olive branch while in the wedding-planning process; however, if anything is going to cause you unnecessary stress as a bride, it's okay to rethink the gesture. It's your day, and while a wedding is also the coming together of two families into one, no one should feel that they're being forced to do anything as a bride. Listen to your gut, follow your heart, and plan the day that you and your future husband will look back on with the biggest smile and warmest memories.

Opening photo by Haley Ringo Photography; Bridal Salon: The White Dress; From Real Wedding: Poolside Wedding Ceremony + Nightclub-Inspired Reception in Las Vegas