The wedding season is under way and brides everywhere will be working themselves into an excited frenzy as they prepare for the 'biggest day' of their lives – and so, too, will their mothers.
The mother of the bride knows she will also be under scrutiny on her daughter's big day, with many necks craned to check out her sartorial choice and well-wishers offering their congratulations and compliments to the woman who many see as being second-in-command for the proceedings.
But spare a thought for the mother of the groom. She is also watching her child dedicate their life to another person and is often both immensely proud and hugely emotional, so should be afforded the same level of importance as the bride's mother.
With this in mind, we spoke to some mothers of grooms to find out what the day was like for them – were they involved, how did it feel to be in their position and did they feel they played a different role to the mother-of the-bride.
Monica Ennis, from Rush in Co Dublin, was mother-of-the groom when her son Stephen got married in Skerries in 1994. She was very involved with the preparations and felt her role was just as important as that of the mother of the bride.
"When Linda and Stephen got married, I helped out with a lot of things. I am a dressmaker, so I gave my daughter-in-law a lot of advice on suitable materials and designs and I helped her to choose the dressmaker. I also made the wedding cake and helped find someone to ice it.
"On the day I wore a navy skirt suit with a white blouse and a navy hat – it was a
classic look so I didn't feel too concerned or anxious about it. I have always got on very well with Linda's mother and she wore a floral skirt with a beige jacket and looked lovely in it, too.
"I think that mothers of grooms have just as important a role to play as the bride's mother as I think the future couple need all the help and support they can get and every person there has an important part to play in their special day. Neither of my daughters has ever dreamed of a white princess wedding and although both of them are in relationships, they are not interested in getting married. Jennifer is a mother and Linda is a career girl and runs her own college called Beauty Academy and has now taken on the national distribution of the Studio Professional make up range.
"I am very proud of them both but am still waiting for my day out from them – only then will I be able to say whether or not it is any different being mother of the groom."
Sile O'Beirne has been mother of the bride once and mother of the groom twice. One of her sons lives in the US so she didn't have much involvement in his wedding but her youngest son lives in Dublin 8 and when he got married six years ago, she was happy to help out in any way she could.
"My eldest son got married in Oregon so I couldn't get involved in the preparations for his wedding – apart from some last-minute alterations to his trousers before the ceremony.
"But when my youngest son, Oran (who runs a music design company called Overdrive) got married in 2007, I was a lot more involved. Although he lives in the city centre, he and Grainne got married in Clare.
I remember the day so well as it was gloriously hot and they had friends visiting from all over the country and from abroad, so the weather made it special.
"As I would at any occasion, I wanted to look my best for my son's wedding and wore a chocolate-brown silk dress and a white silk jacket and hat. I think it's just as important for the mother of the groom to look good and feel good about herself as it is for the mother of the bride.
"I baked and iced the wedding cake as I knew this was something I could do for the big day which would be both useful and personal. In keeping with tradition, they kept the top tier for their first baby's Christening – which was when my grand-daughter Aela was born three years ago. (They also have a little boy called Shae, aged two).
"I know the mother of the bride is usually more involved with helping to choose the dress and flowers and getting the hair and make-up done together on the day, but I do think that more of a fuss should be made of the groom as he can get overlooked.
"I know everyone focuses on the bride – which is of course the right thing to do – and I really enjoyed being part of my daughter's day, but sometimes I think the groom is overshadowed by it all.
"He is most likely to be nervous and excited in equal measures and I think it would be nice if, as well as ensuring that both mothers get to play an equal role in the wedding, people would try to give the groom a little more attention.
"But at the end of the day, weddings are wonderful, family occasions and regardless of which side of the family people belong to, they are equally important to the happy couple – who after all are the only ones who really matter on the day."
Caroline Hendry (inset below), the editor of the wedding planning website www.hitched.ie, says she has seen an upsurge in men getting more involved in the planning stage and this has in turn made it more inclusive for their mothers.
"Planning a wedding is a big task and the majority of brides and grooms will have parents who have already been through the wedding planning process, so they should take full advantage of that knowledge and experience.
"In the past, the bride traditionally did a lot more wedding planning than the groom. However, over the past few years, we have been hearing more and more from grooms involved in the planning process.
"This in turn this is giving the mother of the groom a better insight into the big day and also more involvement in the planning.
"Ultimately, the big decisions should be made by the bride and groom as they plan their special day, but families can still offer a great deal of support and help.
"We think it's a great idea for both sets of parents to help with the planning, so much so that we allow our registered members to select what their role in the wedding is – whether it be mother or father of the bride or groom, bridesmaid or best man – that way they then have full access to all our planning tools and the rest of the site."