Learn Four Essential Godmother Duties

28 May, 2020
Having a godmother is a wedding tradition that's common in several faiths like the Spanish Catholic tradition. However, having one is not necessary according to the Canon law of the Church. Therefore, it’s usually a way to make the mother of the groom feel special.
 

Traditionally, a godmother is the mother of the groom who helps with certain aspects of the wedding ceremony. Overall, the godmother’s duties depend on the type of wedding.

Do you know what they are? Do you know why this role is so important?

We’ll discuss four godmother duties in this article.

Godparents and the Church

4 Godmother Duties
Traditionally, the parents of the bride and groom are the godparents at Spanish weddings.

When it comes to traditional weddings, we all may picture a woman, typically the mother of the groom, walking her son down the aisle. She then remains by his side throughout the ceremony, accepting guests, helping things run smoothly, etc. This is the godmother.

Although their role may seem very important from a functional point of view, it’s much more important from a religious point of view. Indeed, a godmother also exists in other sacraments, such as baptism and confirmation. They appear in Canon Law and they serve to “assist.”

However, godfathers aren’t thought about at a wedding. Instead, the godfather spiritually “assists” in the initiation of faith as an obligatory figure during Baptism and the Holy Communion. Nevertheless, Canon Law doesn’t regard them as necessary for the sacrament of marriage. Therefore, their role is more symbolic and an accepted tradition and not necessary for the ceremony.

 

In any case, the requirements for being godparents, according to Canon Law, are:

  1. Be at least 16 years old.
  2. Be Catholic. You also have to be confirmed and have received Holy Communion.
  3. Not be affected by a canonical penalty.
  4. You also can’t be the parent of those getting baptized, confirmed, or receiving Holy Communion. However, since the godfather isn’t technically accepted, rather a wedding tradition, Godfathers can be the parents of the bride and groom. However, this is not necessary.

Is the witness the same as the godmother?

wedding party
Godparents are religious figures, whereas witnesses are legal ones.

No. It’s not the same. The witness is not a religious figure, but the person who, by law, needs to confirm the marriage. Therefore, it’s normal in most weddings for the godparents to also be witnesses if they want. However, the witnesses can be someone else.

Since the witnesses don’t have to be religious, they’re there for legal purposes. Therefore, the Church doesn’t need them to be Christian or baptized. According to the law, they only need to have enough legal capacity (be of legal age) to witness the marriage and sign the certificate.

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Four godmother duties

As we have seen, it’s traditional to have a godmother in many Catholic weddings. In this sense, they have some important duties, despite not being official.

Let’s take a look at them.

Godmother duties: Help the groom choose a suit

groom's suit
The godmother accompanies the groom in choosing his wedding suit.

Helping the groom choose his suit for the day of the wedding is one of the most important duties. Most of the time, she will also pay for it. In any case, she has to help the groom make the right decision.

But that’s not all. The godmother is a key role in a wedding. Therefore, her outfit must also meet specific standards. She must look elegant and be well dressed…and never wear black or white.

Accompany the groom at the altar

Of course, this is the most emotional moment. The godmother has to walk the groom down the aisle, taking him by his arm, reassuring him and making him excited about the new life that’s about to begin with his wife.

Join the godfather when leaving the church

The groom arrives with the godmother and the bride with the godfather before officially being announced as husband and wife. Then, after the ceremony, the newlyweds leave the church together.

 

Because of this, a new tradition began where the godfather and godmother leave the church together, just behind the bride and groom. The godfather is typically seen to the right of the godmother, and both are also congratulated by the guests as they leave.

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Godmother duties: Host the wedding

4 Godmother Duties
The godmother is considered one of the main hosts of the wedding.

Traditionally, the godmother is a key figure at a wedding –  though not as important as the bride and groom, of course! Therefore, she usually sits next to the bride and groom at the reception to make sure all the guests are well and having a good time.

Another tradition is that the godmother should also help in the choice and preparation of all the details of the wedding (from the floral decoration to the reception).

Do you want to get married in a church? Do you know who your godmother will be?