So, your daughter has recently gotten engaged. This has to be one of the best days of your life. Well… it’s actually the best day of your daughter’s life. At this point you must be asking yourself a million questions like: “how much is this going to cost?” or “will her new family accept us as a whole?” or even, “what are MY responsibilities as the mother of the bride?” Maybe you’ve never helped plan someone else’s wedding before and now you’re pacing the floor with sweaty hands and chills running down your spine as you attempt to face the reality of what is about to occur.
When you turn to your daughter, you realize your little girl is growing up and this fills you with a combination of joy and fear. So, on the outside you try to remain that strong woman she looks up to, but inside you’re screaming: “WHAT DO I DO?” But this is a common feeling most mothers of the bride have to face. Sometimes, a mother’s reaction is to live through their daughter because they always wanted a perfect wedding of their own. While other mothers simply choose to be completely lax while letting their daughter plan her own wedding – but you and I both know you’re kidding yourself if you think you’re going to let your daughter plan an amazing wedding all by herself. After all, you have some good advice and you’ve already concocted some amazing ideas in your mind!
No matter how invested you are as the mother of the bride in the wedding planning process, you are going to need help. As a wedding planner with years of experience with those wonderful (and sometimes pesky) mothers of the bride, I’ve seen it all… so I’ve compiled a list of 20 helpful tips that will help every mother of the bride from the beginning stages of the planning process, to the big day itself:
- Remember, above all else, that this is not YOUR wedding and this day isn’t about you. Period. Sure, that might sting a little – but every mother of the bride needs to hear it. This is your daughter’s moment to shine.
- Hire a wedding planner. Don’t hesitate. Just do it. Not you, or your daughter, should have to do this alone.
- If you haven’t already, get to know the in-laws; and quick!
- Don’t be controlling. Let the bride and groom have the final say.
- Ask questions. What do your daughter and her fiancé need help with? What can you do to make the planning easier and the execution go as planned?
- Be open and excited for new ideas (again, this is not your wedding!)
- Choose your battles wisely. It is one thing to help. It is another thing to interfere. And your opinion is not always needed (or wanted).
- Don’t promise more than you can deliver. You can’t, nor should you have to do everything. (That’s what a wedding planner is for!) If you are too busy to help with certain things, just say so! If you feel overwhelmed, take a step back and relax. This is supposed to be fun!
- Be ready for strife. Understand, the wedding is only one day, but everything leading up to that point can test your patience and put a strain on relationships. Realizing the only thing that matters is the happiness of the bride and groom will help keep focus on achieving just that.
- Don’t try to “out-do” the other mother. This will create a no-win situation and cause unnecessary stress for everyone.
- Do not force or coerce your daughter to change her mind if she is truly set on something for her wedding that you may not particularly “like”. I’ve had a lot of mothers tell me: “My daughter and I are not getting along because she wants something that I don’t like, and I don’t want to pay for it!” While you may have a point about the financial aspect, is it really something that is going to bother you on the big day?
- Be open about the guest list. You may not be able to invite everyone you like, and you may not like everyone who is invited.
- Help your daughter with the seating chart – but while you are there to make sure that your family dynamic is properly handled, keep in mind there is another family attending. I always suggest getting the groom and his family involved as well. This brings the two families together and helps avoid anyone feeling left out.
- Go with your daughter when she shops for a wedding dress. Picking out the right dress, however, is up to her. Your opinion is valid, so please use this time to tell her how you feel; just be careful not to only pick the dress you want for her.
- Stay involved. It can be easy to lose interest, become overwhelmed, or even get pushed out. Be your daughter’s cheerleader no matter what! Have her back and be her first line of defense when she needs you.
- Don’t try to steal the show – either during the planning process, or on the big day. You don’t want to be remembered as the controlling or crazy mother.
- Allow the wedding planner to take over coordinating the day of the wedding. This is a real time saver. A good planner is fully aware of how to make this time an enjoyable one and they are always willing to take your advice when needed.
- Once the big day does arrive, should you need a drink, go ahead and drink. Only, drink responsibly… there is nothing like a drunk mother-in-law at a wedding.
- Make it a point to sit with your new in-laws sometime during the reception – regardless if you like them or not. This shows unity and will make your daughter (and your new son-in-law) happy.
- Lastly, keep calm… A stressed out mother of the bride isn’t going to help make anything go smoother. Remember to be positive and keep a level head – everything will work out!
Stephanie White, owner of Amorous Weddings and Events, She has planned events and weddings (both traditional and not) for more than nine years.. Her eye for detail and passion for easing the stress of soon-to-be brides and grooms has brought success, not only in the Valley of the Sun, but nationwide.