Don’t forget the reason for the wedding! It’s a celebration of LOVE.
The following article has some sections addressed to brides, and some sections addressed to moms and hopefully some good advice on how to stay on the same page with each other!
I think most mom’s can fall into 3 different categories:
1: The Super-involved (maybe a little too involved, overriding your daughters choices with your own, possibly making things about you instead of about her, or having her best interest at heart but not giving her a chance to make her own decisions)
2: The Super-Supportive (Just all about being helpful and giving your daughter love but not being overbearing. Good Job Supportive Mom!)
3: The Super-Non-Supportive. (Your daughter is basically on her own, you show up, but you aren’t really involved—possibly not even interested in her wedding plans at all)
of course, there is a spectrum for all 3 of the mom-types and lots of mom’s are probably a combination of 2 or all 3 categories!
The two types of mom’s I see the most at weddings are the “Super-involved” and The “Super-Supportive”. The one that I see causing a lot of stress in my line of work especially with young brides, is “The Super Involved” Mom. These are the parents who are planning their dream wedding for their daughters, instead of helping to plan their daughter’s dream wedding. I’ve talked to a lot of brides and a lot of moms and the reality is that this battle of wills (be it subconscious or otherwise) puts lots of strain and stress on relationships and the overall emotional well-being of all parties involved! So for super-involved moms and the daughters of super-involved moms, here’s some food for thought:
THE BRIDE IS QUEEN
This is your day, you have been dreaming about it forever and this is the time in your life where you should get to have your dreams come true. So many people have strong opinions on all-things wedding…brace yourself for a whole lot of unsolicited advice from a whole lot of people. I think part of it stems from people who would have done things differently given the chance to do their own wedding over, and they just want to make sure you don’t have the same regrets they do. Some people (like your vendors) really do have valuable advice and opinions from doing so many different weddings and watching them all unfold with the good and the bad—listen and be gracious, ask questions when you have them, but ultimately do what you think will make you the happiest in the end.
mom is also queen
…But the kind of queen who loves her daughter and wants her to be happy and make her own decisions for her new kingdom she is creating with her husband-to-be.
I know it can be hard when your daughter has a different style than you, or different ideas than you—-and trust me, she values your opinion and your input—but at the end of the day, your support and love and encouragement will be much more appreciated and worthwhile than your criticism, opinions, or discouragement.
Something I hear from moms who are reigning supreme (or trying to at least) throughout their daughter’s wedding planning process is “I’m the one paying for it”
Which is true.
You are paying for it because you are throwing the wedding as a gift to your daughter and new son-in-law, right? You are giving them this amazing celebration to show them how much you love them, to welcome the new in-law into your family, to show off your incredible daughter to all your friends and relatives—-because you are so proud of her and excited for her to start this new chapter in her life! This gift is an amazing and generous gift. And when you are giving someone you love a gift, don’t you want it to be something they are excited about? Aren’t you specifically doing your best to give them something that will make them happy and fulfill their dreams and wishes? You don’t pick out a birthday gift for your daughter by thinking “what would I choose, what would make me happy” You pick out a birthday gift for your daughter by thinking “What would she love? What would make her happy?”
Try to go about the wedding plans with that same gift-giving approach. Of course you want to throw the most beautiful event (in your opinion) but what really matters is not if you think the dessert choice your daughter made wasn’t what she should have chosen, it’s that your daughter feels special and looks back on her wedding day as the best day ever! If she feels that way at the end of it all, you’ll feel that way too!
When there are things in planning that you feel like your daughter is being short-sighted on, try to communicate them in a non-judgmental way. Make sure she knows you’re in her corner, and you just want her to know all of the options and make the best possible choices. The last thing you want to do is make her feel attacked, or that you think her ideas are unworthy. If she knows you’re on her side, she won’t get defensive, and that is the key to having open, pleasant discussions! No one on the defense, everyone on the same side with the same end goal.
On the actual day of the event——DO NOT GET STRESSED. The wedding day is the icing on the cake, and even if things go wrong, or the weather is bad, or your daughter forgets to bring her shoes with her to the wedding venue——-just be POSITIVE. If you show distress, or start making negative comments, or pointing out flaws and problems throughout the day it will have a HUGE impact on your daughter and the entire tone for the day.
I always think of moms as “the lioness at the gate” of their homes. Moms are the ones who are deciding what comes into their homes and the lives of their children. It’s honestly crazy how influential the attitude and moods of mothers are. You have the power to set the tone for the whole wedding day just like you have the power to set the tone in your home. Be a force for good and happiness and relief, not a source of tension, stress, and negativity. If this is something that doesn’t come to you naturally that’s ok! Maybe your parents were less-than encouraging to you, or maybe you just have a natural-born tendency to be critical! Break that cycle! Decide in your head to give responses that help not responses that hurt. Try to take a beat before responding to problems so you don’t accidentally lead out with a negative “knee-jerk” reaction. Practice saying things like “How can I help?” or “Everything is fine, no worries at all” or “it’s not a big deal, we can take care of it!”
I know I’m really going on for a long time about this, but it’s because I have seen Moms who make the day amazing for their daughters and I’ve seen moms who make the day ROUGH.
I once shot a wedding that had rain all. day. long. leading up to the beginning of the wedding. While I was there getting set up for the reception, I heard the mom greet a family member by saying “Welcome to Hell. I can’t believe this weather. I need a diet coke”. and it broke my heart! She made comments like that throughout the entire night to guests and to her daughter, as if the entire day was a bust because it was raining! The bride felt stressed that her mom was stressed—I tried doing damage control by telling her it was all going to be fine, and her wedding was beautiful, and the cloudy skies were giving her perfect flattering light for the whole day (which were all true statements by the way)—-but the words and encouragements of a photographer don’t hold a candle to the words and encouragement of a mom.
On the flip-side, I have seen so many SUPER moms on wedding days.
One bride I had a few years ago, walked through mud after her ceremony, and the bottom of her dress was noticeably covered in it. Instead of being angry or stressed the mom was calm, and positive, and said “we’ll get it all cleaned before your reception, no problem” and she did! She took the gown to get cleaned between the ceremony and reception and no-one ever knew the difference!
MOM’S YOU MATTER
everything you say and do is so important. Your kids are following your example and having emotions and opinions and thoughts derived directly from your emotions and opinions and thoughts.
Dads and Mother-in-Laws this all applies to you too:) Offer to help wherever you are able, be a support and an aid as much as you can! Your kids will be eternally thankful to you for it.
BRIDES, ITS YOUR DAY….
…to be grateful and appreciative.
Brides (and grooms) This day is all about you, but this is not a license to be a bridezilla!!! No matter what type of Mom you have, it is your job to be gracious. Your parents are giving you this gift, spending countless hours with you and of course helping with funding for the whole thing. Listen to them, and communicate your ideas, opinions, and needs in a kind and respectful way. If there is something that is really important to you for your wedding that your mom just can’t get on board with, consider offering to pay for it yourself! Be gracious and considerate in all things.
Tell your parents you love them, show them you are grateful for them. Take every opportunity you can to show appreciation for everything they have done for you in relation to the wedding, and for all they’ve given you throughout your entire life.
For Brides with non-supportive moms
Having a parent or parents who are seemingly disinterested, unwilling or unable to help you (emotionally, financially, physically, etc.) can be really hard! To you, I would say, find support in other places, other family members or friends, possibly in-laws, or even awesome vendors you can trust! Find a crew that works for you and let them help! Even though your mom may be unavailable or hard to include, you may still want to get her involved in ways that work for both of you. Maybe give her a specific job to do on the day of the wedding that is minimal enough to not stress you out turning it over to her (or stress her out by being handed a responsibility she doesn’t want to have) . This will help her feel important and wanted, and it will also protect you from her trying to get involved at the last minute and doing things in a way you don’t want them done. Some good options that could work are: Setting up the sign-in book display, greeting guests, watching the gift/card table for you, bringing you drinks/food while you greet guests, help you get dressed or with doing your hair, ask her to take some videos on her phone throughout the day to send to you at the end of the night so you have something from your wedding right away, passing out thank you gifts/cards to vendors and other family members who you want to thank for their help is a great low-key job (just be sure you give her a personal “thank-you” yourself), passing out bridesmaid bouquets and/or groomsman boutonnieres and putting them in water if necessary between the ceremony and reception, etc.
If all else fails, and your love is really all you’ve got, he’s all you need:) and eloping isn’t the worst idea! It’s cost effective, intimate, and doesn’t require much (if any) support at all!
the bottom line
Whether you are the bride, the groom, the mother, or the second cousin…(yes I have seen random distant relatives make scenes at weddings about things that do not concern them at all…) make a conscious decision to be positive, kind, gracious, helpful, and considerate. Try not to get caught up in selfish agendas. The bride and groom should be showered in love from their engagement to their send-off! That’s what this whole event is about anyways, right?!
Was this helpful? Let me know what you think! Feel free to add words of wisdom and personal experience in the comments!