Even when a mother and daughter share a great relationship, a wedding can test it to the limit. These hints and tips are for the Mother of the Bride but they could be useful for brides as well – it’s good to see things from the other person’s point of view.
It’s not your wedding but her wedding
For many years you’ve been the one in control. But as your daughter became a young woman the dynamic probably changed. Now she’s getting married this formalises her status as a self-sufficient adult. So, it’s her wedding! She has her own expectations, tastes and personality. Plus the wedding is her declaration of her independence.
However, if you have strong views and wishes, you may feel she should take these into account – especially if you are contributing financially. The best advice is to help, support and advise…but don’t take over.
Respect works both ways
It’s only natural that you expect your daughter to respect you – because that’s how you raised her. But don’t be surprised to discover she’s not a perfect mini-me. If your Mother of the Bride advice about the venue, cake or dress falls on deaf ears don’t get bent out of shape - treat your daughter with the same respect you expect from her. Challenging her at every turn is a recipe for disaster. But handle it right and you’ll create an even stronger bond between you.
Talk money early
There are numerous traditions about who pays for what, but times and expectations are changing. To avoid misunderstanding have a frank discussion about the finances with your daughter and fiancée fairly early in the planning. Take the initiative, be clear how much you’ll contribute and whether it’s a gift or a loan.
Just do it
Within reason, go along with whatever your daughter asks. If she wants the Mother of the Bride to wear purple, even if it’s a colour you hate, it’s best to agree rather than flatly refuse. Being cooperative works better than being cantankerous.
The dress discussion
Helping choose the dress is traditionally one of the main Mother of the Bride duties. You’ll probably have a picture in your mind of the dress she’ll be walking down the aisle in. But what if the decision comes down to that dress you have in your dreams and one you really wish she’d put back on the hanger? Don’t be too quick to help her make up her mind (because it will be your fault if she has regrets later!). What she needs right now, with an awkward choice to make, is you to build her confidence.
Don’t forget your future son-in-law
A smart Mother of the Bride is not only very considerate to her daughter but to the fiancé as well. He’ll have his own views (and his own mother!). Your daughter may be more inclined to take his side rather than yours if any differences of opinion arise. However, if you work hard at building a good relationship with him you might find he actually agrees with you on occasion!
Meet the parents
Your future son-in-law’s parents will probably have some ideas of their own for the big day and may be keen to share some of the responsibilities. Also, like it or not, you are going to be part of each other’s lives for many years so the sooner you start building a good relationship the better!
Be ready to step in if required
It’s the Mother of the Bride’s job to anticipate potential problems, from weather surprises to guest complications, cake disasters to emotional challenges. Your role is to take the pressure off your daughter, come up with solutions and smooth everything over. So, best to go easy on the Prosecco – enjoy the day, but not too much!
One last thing
Planning a wedding is quite an undertaking and the Mother of the Bride has an important role to play. This has to be taken seriously – but not too seriously. Perhaps the biggest contribution you can make is by ensuring everyone has a smile on their face at every stage!