I'm excited to be sharing words of wisdom from a very special guest blogger today: my mom, Ann! I LOVE my mom and we're very close. Naturally, she played a huge part in the planning process for my wedding—the "I couldn't have done it without her" statement definitely applies. With that said, my 4.5 month engagement was not without its share of ups, downs, and disagreements over the practicality of sending guests home with starfish-shaped bookmarks. I'd go into further detail, but my mom's already got it covered below. ;) Read on for HER thoughts about the most appropriate role for the mother of the bride + her top tips for working with your mom to plan a wedding (no arguments required)!
wedding photos: Suggs Photography
The mother-of-the-bride dance is a nuanced one. And I’m not talking about the literal one that takes place on the day of her daughter’s wedding day. No, it’s the figurative one she does with her darling girl during the planning process that leads up to that momentous day.
Some days it’s a beautiful ballet between mother and daughter; suggestions and ideas are flowing back and forth between the two and all is right with the universe. And then there are those days when it’s one-step-forward-STOP-NOW-AND-
That’s the key, I suppose: letting our daughters take the lead and following along without stepping on their toes. After all, it’s HER big day; we’ve had ours and now it’s her turn as the bride-to-be. Most likely she already has firm ideas about how she’d like the day to go. Still, she may want a safe place to bounce ideas off of outside of her future husband-to-be, and that’s often where a momma can be most helpful.
Take note, though: By and large, if she wants our opinion she’ll ask for it. So, a good rule of thumb is to remember that giving an opinion when asked is one thing; giving it repeatedly without being asked is all together different; and doing that—combined with insisting upon it—is a recipe for disaster!
I know of which I speak. When Karley was planning her wedding, I asked her what she wanted to do in the way of wedding guest favors. She replied that while she liked the idea, she thought it was an unnecessary expense and an area that they could save money on...very wise and prudent AND delightful to her father’s ears. But, being ever so “helpful”, I told her I would do some research and see if I could find something cute but affordable. And I did and they were. But do you know what? That’s something that sticks out to her even today; that those “cute, affordable” starfish-shaped bookmarks were MY idea, not hers. She’s not ungrateful about it but simply acknowledges that it wasn’t her call or choice.
So, what’s a M-O-B to do then? First, A-S-K! Ask your daughter how and where you can help the most and what role she needs you to fill. My own personal experience included assisting my daughter in these areas: assembling the welcome gift bags she and her fiancé gave to their guests; overseeing the spa day arranged for her bridesmaids; and running point for the day-after breakfast. But, since all daughters aren’t created the same, some will need more assistance and some less. That’s why asking her is key.
Next, listen. Listen to her discuss her thoughts and ideas without interjecting your own. This isn’t always easy and as I admitted, I'm guilty as charged, but this approach can definitely lay the groundwork for eliminating unnecessary tension and drama. That said, when asked for an opinion, I think it goes without saying that being as open and direct as possible is always the best course. For example, if something won’t fit within the budget, it just won’t, so often give-and-take compromises must be made. Just be sure she’s the one giving and you’re not taking!
And third, carry out any and all agreed upon tasks with as much love, support and encouragement—and the least amount of complaining—as you possible can. Because at the end of the day, I believe that’s what will help make for one of her most wonderful of memories...that the wedding planning duet you danced together was delightful!