How to be the best ever Mother of the Bride
With Mother’s Day on the horizon we decided a “Mother of the Bride” post would be timely. We’ve come up with a list of hints and tips that MOBs will hopefully find useful. If you are a bride reading this you might want to share it with your mum – but you might also find it helpful in terms of seeing things from her point of view.
Whose wedding is it anyway?
This issue is sure to raise its ugly head at some point – and it’s complicated. In the mother-daughter relationship the mother has probably been the one in control. But That dynamic will have changed once your daughter became a teenager, a young adult and then started to lead her own life. Although she may have left home some years ago the act of getting married formalises her status as an independent grown-up. So, even though you may find this uncomfortable, it’s her wedding.
However, you are probably contributing financially, so that does give you some say in matters. And you inevitably have your own views, expectations and tastes. The trouble is that the same is true of your daughter – and the world has moved on since you tied the knot yourself. Don’t be surprised if she doesn’t go for cute little cake topper figurines, tossing the bouquet and wearing a garter!
So, even if you're helping with the planning and contributing financially, don't take over. Make suggestions but don’t get bent out of shape when she follows her own tastes and ideas. And never refer to the day as "our wedding." Because it's not.
With due respect
This follows on from the first point, but develops it. You expect your daughter to respect you - that’s the way you’ve have raised her. However, as difficult as it is to come to terms with, she is not a Mini You. So differences of opinion are inevitable. No matter what is in your creative vision for the venue, the dress, the menu and everything else, only her opinion matters. Instead of telling her you think she should do, listen to what she has in mind and respect that her happiness is the most important thing of all.
Bottom line - you need to treat her with the same respect you expect from her. It’s a two-way street and if she insists on excluding you from the planning and organisation, or doing things you don’t agree with, just go with the flow. Handle it right and you’ll create an even stronger bond between you.
It pays to talk about money early on
Weddings are expensive and money is obviously an issue. There are many traditions surrounding who pays for what but the times, and expectations, are a-changing. Many of us find it hard to talk about money (something to do with being British?) but our advice to parents is this – don't wait for the bride and groom to ask if you're making a financial contribution. Take the initiative and you make life easier for everyone. Be specific about the amount you're offering, when the money will be available and whether it’s a gift or a loan.
Just go with it
Following on from the first two points just do whatever your daughter asks – assuming it is reasonable. If she asks you to wear a purple dress, wear a purple dress - even if you hate how you look in purple. Instead of flatly refusing see if there's any wiggle room, like wearing another jewel tone (emerald, sapphire). Being cooperative and congenial works better than arguments and face-pulling.
Say “yes” to the dress
Shopping for the dress is one of those items on the “to do” list where you will probably be asked to play a part. You’ll obviously have a picture in your mind of how you’d like her to look as she makes her big entrance. So how do you handle it when she can’t decide between two dresses – one so perfect it moves you to tears the other not what you had in mind at all? Bite your tongue. Your daughter is struggling with a tough decision and she doesn’t need you undermining her confidence.
Not forgetting the groom
The dream wedding you have in mind may nor be in line with your daughters wishes, and that is tough to take. But then you realise that there’s another voice you must pay heed to – the groom’s. He’s not part of your family (yet), you may not know him well, and yet you have accept that he has a big say in things. What’s more, you may find your daughter more inclined to take his side rather than yours if any differences of opinion arise. You have agreed to pay for all the drinks and think his idea of serving real ale will bring down the tone. Probably best to let him have that one.
Meet his parents
Don’t wait until the wedding day. They have probably got some ideas of their own for the big day and may want to share some of the responsibilities. Ultimately, it’s really important that you get along for your daughter’s sake. Be friendly and set up an informal meeting. Who know, you may find you really like them. And, warm to them or not, you are probably going to have to share your daughter (and grandchildren) with them for a long time, so the sooner you start building the relationship the better.
Be ready to step in if required
It’s your job to anticipate anything that could go wrong. Think about everything from weather surprises to guest complications, cake disasters to emotional challenges. You should be ready to solve any last-minute problems so the bride doesn't have to. Support her, which includes offering a shoulder to cry on when wedding-planning stress becomes too much. If things do start to go awry, and the bride starts to panic, you must be prepared to swoop in and save the day. After all, looking after your daughter is the most important part. With that in mind best go easy on the chardonnay – enjoy the day, embrace the moment, but not too much!
Any other questions?
Whether you’re the bride, or mother-of, making the big day a roaring success is a team effort. Hopefully you find these tips helpful but if you have any other questions or worries just ask – the Team at Clevedon Hall is only too happy to help.