Friday, November 8, 2013

Mother of the Bride- A Primer

Of all the things that being a mother brings, I think I was least prepared for being the Mother of the Bride. Maybe I thought that day was further off, or I would have more time to get used to the title, but it was definitely a weird hat to be wearing. With barely 6 months from engagement to wedding day, we had little time to process anything, much less a silly title. But, oh, how that silly title messed with me.

I learned a few things over the last 6 months and since I only have one daughter I'll share my knowledge with you. I'm guessing being Mother of the Groom is much, much different.

Share your memories from your own wedding and move on:
Yes, your wedding was beautiful but your daughter wants her own day. Shortly after HG and (Hmmm. He doesn't have a blog name yet. Bear with me.) that guy got engaged we pulled out my wedding album and my wedding planner. I shared details with them, showed them pictures, and poured over 16 year old to-do lists. It was fun to reminisce and they seemed to like the stories. I gave them a few ideas about things but that was that. I told them that if they needed any of the things that we found that they were welcome to them but I let them ask. And they asked again about a few things, but mostly they just indulged me. And that was ok.

This one is tough. Many etiquette rules have gone the way of the typewriter but I'm really (I mean really,) old-fashioned in this area. Luckily HG was fine with most of the 'rules' but there were a few things that we didn't really see eye to eye on. There were things that I let go but there was one in particular that I wasn't budging on. It was my hot-button issue. Admittedly, I may not have handled it very well, but in my eyes it would have been a huge breach of etiquette. Do you have a hot-button issue regarding wedding etiquette? It's fine if you do, and it's fine if you want to make your position known, but chose only one that you won't budge on.) Family peace is way better than following every rule to a T. (I have way more to say about etiquette in another post.)

Wedding planning is not like we remember it. We had thought about our weddings our whole lives and once we were engaged, we bought a few magazines, looked at a few brochures, and came up with something close to the picture in our minds. Nowadays, Pinterest and Google give a bride WAY TOO MANY CHOICES. And most brides have already seen what they want and pinned it, so anything that isn't an exact match won't do. (Lest you think that HG was a Bridezilla, she most certainly was NOT. She just had pictures to back up her vision. And second choices. and third choices. You see where this is going.) This method is fantastic if you have an unlimited budget to pay a wedding planner to do it all. This method needs some work when the bride and the mother of the bride aren't clever OR crafty, nor have an unlimited budget. As the mother this part was maddening. Pinterest and Google in the hands of a bride-to-be can be deadly. I watched HG get really flustered with the choices out there, and because she waited so long to make some of the decisions I got really flustered waiting.

Blended families:
This was pretty easy for us. It was a day for HG and Mr. HG to begin their life together, not a day for any old crap to come up. Her mom and I took her dress shopping together. She flew in for the shower. She stayed at my home. Let me reiterate. This was HG's day. Nothing should get in the way of that. Do you still have issues with your ex? (Or your ex's spouse? Or kids? Or, or or.....) Get over it. That has zero to do with throwing your daughter the wedding and reception that she wants and deserves. Put your issues away until after the wedding. You may find that you don't need to pull them back out after all. We personally had no issues with this but I think it's because her mom and I were kind to one another and tried to make sure that the other was comfortable with decisions that would effect the other. It's that simple, really.

The two Mothers of the Bride.

One last thing:
There will most likely be some (many? lots? a few?) things about your daughter's big day that you really don't like. Yes, you can GENTLY state your opinion but remember IT'S NOT YOUR DAY. IT'S HERS. So let her have it. Does it really matter whether the bridesmaid dresses are pumpkin or persimmon? They chose chocolate cake and you're allergic? Whatever. This is the first big thing that this couple will do together and they need to navigate the waters a bit on their own. I tried really hard to do this with HG and #3, and I hope you can do it with your daughter.

Now if we can just come up with a term that doesn't sound quite as old as Mother of the Bride.


Anonymous said...

Loved this post....all of these suggestions are great advice, practical, and helpful. The unselfishness you all showed and way you and HG's mom were so "adult" about the wedding really, really impressed me. You gave HG more than a beautiful wedding, you gave her a lifetime memory of how to care about people that matter and how to act like a grown up. These lessons are truly beautiful, more beautiful that what color the dresses were, what kind of flowers...etc. Thank you for sharing these lessons with your internet friends. Ann W.

Stimey said...

I think this is great, especially the parts about making sure that it is your daughter's day, not yours. It is so easy to get wrapped up in your own baggage so it's good to have a reminder that it's not about you. Love the photo of the two moms! :)