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Planner

This planner is based on a one-year time line from the announcement of the engagement to the actual wedding date. If your wedding is being planned within a shorter time frame, you will need to compress the activities into the shorter time available to you. Some weddings are planned over an even longer time frame. In those cases, you can get started even earlier.

In all situations, be sure to coordinate your understanding of what you are responsible for with your son and his fiancé. Your planning and activities should be checked against those of the overall wedding planners.

Nine to Twelve Months Ahead:

* Call to congratulate the happy couple and make an initial contact with the bride’s parents. If possible, arrange a dinner to celebrate with your son, and his fiancé, her parents, and you and your husband or significant other.

* Discuss what your role and responsibilities will be with your son, his fiancé, and her parents. Get as many details about the wedding plans and expectations as you can, and set an initial budget for your portion of the wedding and related activities.

* Start a file or notebook that you will use for all wedding and related planning.

* Begin planning the rehearsal dinner, researching possible venues, and discussing options with your son and his fiancé.

* Set aside blocks of hotel/motel rooms for out-of-town guests and, if the wedding is out-of- town, for you and your family. Hotels will typically work with you to offer a discounted rate for a large group of rooms. You can work out an arrangement for them to hold a certain number of rooms at a discounted rate. Your guests can then call into the hotel to book specific rooms for themselves out of that block. If the bride’s family also needs to do this, you should coordinate this arrangement with them.

Six to Nine Months Ahead:

* Book any necessary travel and lodging accommodations for you and your family. Check with your son to see if he will want to spend some time during the week before the wedding with your family and make those arrangements.

* Provide guest information as requested by the wedding planners. You will probably be asked to provide your input on who will be invited to the wedding. You will need to work with the wishes of the bride and groom, as well as the limitation on the number of guests that can be accommodated. This can be particularly tricky. Remember that the issues of how many and who to invite are largely beyond your control. Your job is to respond promptly and helpfully to requests for names, addresses, etc.

* Begin shopping for your outfits to wear to the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. Coordinate your choices - especially for what you will wear for the wedding - with the bride and her mother.

* Finalize rehearsal dinner arrangements.

* Coordinate clothing and accessory needs for you and the other members of your family.

Two or Four Months Ahead:

* Decide on your wedding gift for the couple and also consider giving a special gift from just you to your future daughter-in-law.

* Check with the bride on her plans for the wedding party’s hair and make-up. Determine if you will be included in the wedding party’s plans or if you should arrange for this independently.

* Prepare rehearsal dinner invitations.

Six to Eight Weeks Ahead:

* Mail rehearsal dinner invitations one week after the wedding invitations are mailed.

* Check on the plans for a mother/son dance at the reception. If this or some other parents’ dance is planned, prepare for this.

* Help your son manage his final pre-wedding duties, offering your help if he needs or wants it.

Four to Six Weeks Ahead:

* Reconfirm all lodging, travel, and rehearsal dinner arrangements.

* Prepare your toast, coordinating with the groom’s father and his toast.

* Make sure all clothing and accessories are ready for you and the people you are responsible for.

One to Two Weeks Ahead:

* Take care of any last minute grooming appointments, such as haircut and color.

* Arrange a special time to give your wedding gift to the bride and groom.

* Go out of your way to help your son and future daughter-in-law relax!

One Week Before:

* Perform all detailed preparations and final arrangements for the rehearsal dinner.

* Make yourself available for last minute chores, errands, etc. that the bride and her mother may encounter. Be flexible and available to help out in any way needed.

* Get a manicure and pedicure a couple of days before the wedding.

The Day Before:

* Attend the wedding rehearsal.

* Host the rehearsal dinner.

* Give your special gift to your (almost) daughter-in-law, welcoming her into your family.

* Give your son your unwavering love and support.

* Get a good night’s rest.

The Big Day:

* Begin the day with a great attitude and a light, nutritious breakfast.

* Allow yourself plenty of time to prepare yourself and others for the day’s events. Pace yourself and be sure to carefully follow the time-line of the activities planned. Arrive a few minutes early for each of your appointed activities.

Keep these ten guiding principles in mind and you’ll be well on your way to a successful groom’s mom experience.