Being the mother of the bride is a hugely exciting time. Your daughter is finally getting married, a day you have been looking forward too probably even before she could first consider it. Of course, it being your daughter’s big day means that you naturally want her to have the best, most perfect wedding you can imagine.
This desire is perfectly natural and is only a reflection of the love you have for your child. But, unfortunately, it is this natural urge of many mothers of the bride, to try to make their daughter’s day as perfect as possible, that often leads to quite a few arguments in the planning process.
Oliva Parker remarks on this situation in her article in the Telegraph: ‘as the wedding season gets into stride, a quick survey of my currently engaged girlfriends reveals one thing they all have in common. The time-lapse between announcing the happy neys and falling out with their mothers over the wedding planning is, they say, approximately a week. If they are lucky.’
Although Ms Parker’s account seems a little dramatic, and her survey of friends is by no means a scientific test, her point is still very much valid, the disagreements between a bride and her mother often start very early on in the planning process.
Oliva Parker then breaks down this situation a little more: ‘an entire industry of blogs, magazines and bridal shows all tell the bride that the wedding is her big day, her red carpet moment, and she can have what she wants. The reality, it seems, is not the same.’
“Life ain’t like that,” says Sarah Haywood, one of Britain's top wedding planners who has more than 15 years experience in the industry. “Weddings are meant to be family occasions and they’re days where we affirm the very concept of family.”
As Parker and Haywood explained, the process of planning a wedding can be rather trickly, especially when working out how to balance personal desires versus individual desires.
As the wedding insider remarks: ‘your little girl is likely over the moon to be engaged to her sweetheart, and you’re just as excited about this new chapter in her life. That being said, it’s deceptively easy to fall into certain etiquette “don’ts” as you take on the all-important title of “mother of the bride.”
To help you make you that you fulfil the mother of the bride title in the best way you can, in addition, to trying to ensure that both you and your daughter enjoy the planning process as much as possible. Meaning the run-up to her wedding will be a time of happy memories for the pair of your, rather than filled with unnecessary bickering. We have searched the internet to find you the best advice to help you be the best mother of the bride possible.
Listen to what your daughter wants
The first, and arguably most important, piece of advice we have for you, is to listen to what your daughter wants for her wedding. If you have always imagined a traditional church wedding with roses and pink bridesmaid dresses and this is opposite to the bohemian vision of your daughter, then I’m sorry, but you will have to forget those traditional church bells.
As Parker describes ‘by the time her daughter and future son-in-law announce that they’d like a simple wedding in a field followed by a hog roast, the mother of the bride juggernaut cannot be stopped. This, of course, is where the arguments begin.’
This contrast in wedding day overall ideas can often, as Parker describes, be the first cause of an argument between a bride and her mother. It is quite frequently one the has a presence over the whole planning process, as the bride is acutely aware that her mother disapproves of her whole wedding day dreams.
The advice we have for you as the mother of the bride is to be considerate of your position and your daughter's desires. If what the two of you had dreamed for this day are drastically different, we aren’t saying don’t let her know what you were thinking, but do so carefully.
We advise that you offer your opinion very clearly at the beginning of the process. Let her (and her husband) know what you were envisioning and why you had believed this to be the best route possible. Chances are if you explain your idea clearly and carefully she is quite likely to at least be able to see the pros in some of your points.
If, after explaining what you had imagined, and giving this time to sink in, your daughter is still set against it, then I am afraid you will have to leave it. Although it might be hard for you, try and forget what you had imagined and make her dream yours too.
As Jessikah Hope Stenson writes for North West Brides: ‘remember first and foremost that it’s your daughter’s big day so no matter what is in your creative vision of the venue, the dress, the menu and whatever else, only her opinion matters. Instead of telling her everything you think she should do, listen to what she has in mind and respect that her happiness is most important.’
Don’t disapprove her choice of partner.
The next piece of advice we will offer you is again, a biggie, as the mother of the bride you need to make sure that you don’t disapprove of your daughter’s choice in partner.
So, maybe your daughter is getting married to a person that isn’t quite what you had imagined her to be with. This can be a very tricky situation for the mother of the bride to be in, but, we do think that the to the wedding isn’t quite the time for you to be disapproving of her choices. Because chances are she won’t listen to you.
If you have reservations about your daughter’s choice in partner then the best thing you can do is to sit down and really try and identify what has caused these feelings. If, after some reflection, you realise that you are concerned about his work ambitions, or the way he seems to manage his money, then definitely go to your daughter for some reassurance. If you broach the subject in a nonjudgemental rational manner, this will give your daughter a proper opportunity to hear your concerns and reply to them, chances are she will be able to see your point of view and put your mind at rest.
If, after everything you just still aren’t sure on your daughter’s pick in a partner, then you are just going to have to keep this to yourself for the wedding process. We know this isn’t quite the dream, but try and respect your daughter’s choice. We are sure you are proud of the woman she has become and the values she holds, so chances are, you will end up loving her choice in partner too, even if it takes a bit of time!
Offer your daughter help or advise when she needs it
As we discussed in the first piece of advice in this article, figuring out how involved you should be as the mother of the bride, in terms of opinions and advice, can be hard for many mothers to grasp. But, in finding the balance of too much and too little some women air on the side of overly cautious.
The wedding insider offers some great thoughts on this matter ‘surely your daughter does not want you to hold your tongue 100% of the time. Don’t be afraid to add in your concerns - hopefully followed by a potential solution - and thoughts when applicable: she’ll be glad for your wisdom.’
We know that striking the balance between too much and too little can be a hard one to find, but again we think that this issue can be solved if you really make an effort to listen to your daughter. In listening to what she wants and the problems she is coming up against you should quite naturally be able to see when she is in need of some help as opposed to when her path is clear cut and smooth running.
It can often be helpful to offer a hand on some of the more practical matters like timelines and budgeting. But, if your daughter says that she has this in hand, then trust her. You know your child better than most people and if she seems to be doing well and enjoying the process, then enjoy it yourself too, why not, it's far less stressful this way!
Say yes to her dress
Wedding gowns can often be another source of conflict between the mother of the bride and her daughter. Nicola from happily ever after remarks on some of the reasons for this conflict ‘what friends tell me about the ole days when your Mum organised it, you had little or no say. Your mother made decisions on seriously big issues like your dress! Can you imagine?! And flowers the menu, the cake, the guest list the seating plan - doesn’t bear thinking about’.
Nicola is making the point that the way that weddings are being planned how has changed drasticlly since you had your special day. Chances are your mother made many of your desitions for you and you wouldn’t have dreamed of having the reaction your daughter would today.
But, today things are different, many of the traditions of weddings have gone out the window, and we think that this is great, couples are now able to marry one another regardless of sexual orientation in a way that they feel best reflects their personal tastes.
We know that as the mother of the bride it can be hard to fully accept that in 2019 your opinion in the planning process is less welcome than it would have been in your day when it comes to the big things such as the wedding gown.
Susan Pevaroff Berschler from the bridal guide offers some great advice on this matter: ‘one of the most fun and memorable of MOB activities is shopping for the bridal gown. Of course, you have a vision of how you want your daughter to look as she makes her grand entrance. So what do you do when it comes down to two final choices - both within the budget - and one is so gorgeous it moves you to tears, but your daughter is over the moon about the other one? Simple. But not easy. Bite your tongue. Clamp aa hand over your mouth if necessary. Allow your daughter to have her moment without your little mother voice in her head making her doubt her choice. (that was a really tough one!)’.
Just like with all the other advice we have offered in this article, it isn’t easy, but these are all things that your daughter will be thankful of, and will help you look back at these memories with pleasure.
Keep an open line of communication with everyone, especially the mother of the groom.
It is important as the mother of the bride to keep an open line of communication open with all parties involved in the wedding planning process, to avoid any last-minute misunderstandings, and to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
We all know that you need to be taking to the couple, especially her daughter in the run-up to the big day, but, it is often easy to forget how important it is to talk to the groom’s mother also. Of course one of the reasons for this is that it is best to begin this new relationship on the best note possible.
The other reason for this communication comes down to outfits for the day. Finding the mother of the bride dresses and mother of the groom outfits can be a difficult task for both women involved (for some help choosing mother of the bride or groom dresses check out this article). Going through this process only to find that you both have chosen the exact same dress is more likely than not, going to lead to some form of disagreement.
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To make sure you avoid a situation like this we suggest that you talk with each other about the dress fining process. Mother of the bride etiquette does state that the mother of the bride is to find her dress first, then inform the mother of the groom of her choice. It probably isn’t necessary to be quite so formal about things, but keeping one another up to date can really help.
Being a mother of the bride isn’t always the exciting joyful process that is dreamed of, planning a wedding is often tricky and as a mother finding the balance of how much you should help can be hard. But, we really do believe that if you take all this advice on board, and make that effort to really listen to your daughter, and only give your advice when it is wanted, it can really help you both bound (rather than argue) through this process. This is an effort you will be thankful you made when all this is in the past, and all you have are photographs and happy memories.