These days, couples often plan, execute and pay for most, if not all, of their wedding. Traditionally there were responsibilities that the parents of the bride covered. They still do some of these things today.

The parents of the bride:

Plan and host the engagement party.

Help with the guest list and order invitations. By planning the list, they will know how many to order with a few extra in case of last minute invitees.

Assist the bride with in planning the wedding details.

Make sure the bride's wishes are carried out her way. Remember, it is her wedding!

Take care of reservations for out of town guests for the bride's family.

See to it that all instructions for the ceremony are carried out, from seating schedule and receiving line as well as any special instructions.

The bride's parents host the reception.

They purchase a gift for the groom.

The mother and father also have a few separate duties. For instance the mother of the bride will:

Make first contact with the groom's mother.

She will choose and purchase her dress then let the groom's mother know so that she can purchase a complimentary dress.

She will assist the bride in choosing her gown.

The bride's mother will be the hostess for the wedding and following reception.

During the ceremony, she may light the family candle along with the groom's mother. She is the last to be seated at the ceremony.

After the ceremony, she will store the top layer of cake for the bride and groom and will see that the wedding gown is dry cleaned and preserved.

The father of the bride has his responsibilities also:

He has to be fitted for formal wear that coordinates with the groom's and his attendants.

He rides to the wedding with the bride.

Of course, he gives the bride away during the ceremony.

He is the last to leave the reception, settling bills with the caterer, entertainment and any other service providers.

There is much planning that goes into a wedding, before, during and after. The parents of the bride can help make things run more smoothly and ease stress on her. The one absolute is that this is the bride's special day. Parents should not dictate her choices on anything. Suggestions are one thing, total control is another. Working together is the key to a smooth operation from start to finish.