Thank you for being such a fantastic person and giving me all your love and support. It really has meant the world to me. That said, this is my wedding! Please butt out!
Our dear Mothers (and Fathers, too). They have given so much of themselves and so much of their love, to help us grow into the men and women we become. We owe them gratitude beyond compare. They stayed up all night when we were sick, let us crawl in bed when we were scared, shuttled us to ballet and soccer and sleepovers. They cooked meal after meal and washed our dirty laundry without (much) complaint. They deal with going from being the center of your world to someone who has to almost beg you to call. It’s a rough transition.
Then you get engaged. It’s Mom’s opportunity to dive back in and help you plan everything and enlist the help of all your aunts and cousins. She’s got all of this planned out for you already. After all, she’s been dreaming about it since she found out you were a little zygote. Oh, that wasn’t your plan?
You can plan your wedding with your parents in mind, and still keep it your own. It’s a bit of a balancing act and requires a little finesse, but it doesn’t need to be painful.
Make it Fun
Barring the occasional, extremely bossy, controlling mother, all Mom really wants to do is spend time with you and make sure your wedding is the best it can be. So, make it a date. Go out together for pie or a mimosa brunch and talk about your ideas together and expectations. Bring some of your inspirational photos (you know you already have a Pinterest, board, c’mon) and give Mom an idea of what your style is. You can discuss what parts are DIY and she can figure out what you may not have considered and how she can help. Moms are wired to try and help their kids, and planning the wedding is the coup de gras.
Be Flexible but Firm
This is an overall rule for all things wedding related. You’ve had YEARS to dream of your wedding. Nothing is going to go exactly as you initially dreamed it would, but you should fight for the things that are truly important to you. Your relationship with your Mom and the wedding should be the same way. Have a good idea of how many guests you want, so when you ask your parents for their preferred guest list, you can give them a number. Have an idea of where you want to get married, so they know that plays into everything as well. This is especially important for destination weddings. Know for sure what your feelings are on wearing Grandma’s wedding dress or Mom’s veil. If it’s not your thing, you’ll need to know how to kindly let Mom know. Basically, when you and Mom are chatting, things are going to go much smoother if you have considered what it is you value most in your day. That all goes a little easier over dessert and bubbly.
Give Her a Duty
I’ll keep saying it, Moms just want to help. Give her a large responsibility that she can work on, and one that you don’t mind having less say in. Maybe you let her scout caterers and set up some tastings for you to try. Fiancé doesn’t care about the icing of the cake? Bring Mom. Guest favors not really up your alley? I bet your Mom has helped make hundreds of DIY guest favors in the past and could do them in her sleep. Better yet, take your Mom’s specific talents into consideration and find a way for her to create the favor. She could make pints of her blackberry jam, bottles of chipotle hot sauce or hand cut soap. Can you imagine how special that would make her feel? Give her some ideas or set her loose. And be sure to thank her for it when you are enjoying it.
Remember That That’s the Way It Goes
It’s not like your Mom is greedy and needs to plan multiple weddings. Years ago, your Mom planned her wedding, too. She had her dream cake in mind, her dress was going to be laced up the back, it’d all happen at the ballroom on the pier. Except, guess who was right there offering her two-bits whenever possible – Grandma. It’s kind of a rite of passage into your later years, tradition if you will. If you have your own children someday, you will dream of their wedding day, too. It won’t happen exactly the way you dream, and it won’t matter. All that will matter is that they are happy. You’ll of course hope that they’ve chosen their partner well, that their marriage will be solid and strong, that they know themselves well enough to make good choices. But it’s all about seeing you happy. Remember that your Mom is trying her hardest to make that a reality. I know, I’ve said that already, but it’s true.
Yes, this article probably took a different turn than you were expecting (Where’s my support to tell her to bug off!) but it’s all about perspective. Sometimes you are going to feel like your parents are trying to make the wedding all about them, or like the wedding they never had. Sometimes, they may. But, 9 times out of 10, they are just trying to give you the dream wedding you want, and the day you all deserve. It can be hard to remember to look at it from their angle, but take a deep breath, you can do it. Be firm and flexible, be kind and patient, and be willing to let them help. Once upon a time, their help was all you wanted in the world.