For most girls that get engaged there is often one person even more excited the news than they are – their mum. Enter the mother of the bride…
While you might think you have been dreaming about the big day forever, your mum has had the occasion firmly placed in her future diary since you were a little girl – and now it’s actually happening!
But after the whoops and cheers have died down some mothers of the bride, and sometimes of the groom, can be known to get a little carried away and overbearing when it comes to planning the ‘perfect day’.
On top of the stress organising a wedding can bring, the last thing you want is a family feud so it’s important to know how to handle over-enthusiastic mums that take off down this route. Brides Up North, I’m here to help.
image via queenslandbrides.blogspot.com.au
be clear from the start
Though I’m yet to have a ring on my finger I have to say me and my mum talk about my fictional wedding all the time, but then I constantly change my mind on what I think I’ll have (I blame the day job).
Whether your mum is in the know or not, once you and your partner have made some key decisions about the type of wedding you want, arrange to meet up or speak to your mum over the phone about your plans to gage her thoughts/approval. Be sure to give reasons on your decisions and emphasise that you came to these conclusions with your groom so that she can tell you’ve really thought about these elements and that it’s what you both want as a couple.
Whether she fully agrees or not she will appreciate you keeping her informed on the decisions and for seeking her opinion. Be sure to keep the updates coming throughout the planning process to ensure she doesn’t feel out of touch or surplus to your requirements.
If you and your mum have different ideas about what will make the perfect day your mum could come to meddle in your plans in an attempt to get her own way.
Try to figure out early on what elements of the wedding you think will be particularly important to your mum to avoid her trying to change your plans later down the line. This might be who should be included on the guest list, the location in which you should tie the knot or what type of food you should be serving up.
Take on board her thoughts and if you can compromise in these areas to avoid your mum looking like she’s sucking on a lemon at the top table come your big day.
play on her strengths
Having a mum that wants to get involved in the wedding can work to your advantage, especially if they have a great skill set.
Think of your mum’s talents and try to give her jobs that will let her shine. So if she gives Mary Berry a run for her money in the kitchen ask her to make your wedding cake, if she knows of more flowers than Alan Titchmarsh take her along to the florists or if she’s more of a Kirstie Allsopp give her some crafty tasks to take ownership of, like making decorations or stationery.
Not only will she enjoy the challenge but she will also feel touched that you’ve given her a special role in the proceedings.
set mum-sized boundaries
While you have taken the time to listen to the areas that are important to your mum and to include her, don’t be afraid to let her know the areas that are important to you and the groom, elements that you are not prepared to change your mind on.
Of course approach the conversation with care but gently let her know where you draw the line in negotiating.
mums that overstep the mark
Having set the boundaries if your mum chooses to hop, skip and triple jump over them, pull her up on it to avoid heartbreak and fallouts.
Speak to her and try to figure out why she’s feeling the need to try to overrule your wishes. It could be that your parents are paying for the majority of the wedding and therefore she feels she has the right to call the shots. In such circumstances try to explain that while you are grateful for their kind contribution and want them to have a say and feel included, the wedding is a huge milestone in your relationship and should therefore be a reflection of you as a couple and what you want.
Alternatively it could be that your mother didn’t get much say in her own wedding and therefore she is either mimicking her mum by taking on the chief planning role or trying to create the wedding she really wanted through your big day. Again take the time to talk to your mum about this – listen to her feelings and share your own. Remind her how it felt to have someone else calling the shots and try to make her see that organising parts together is a much more enjoyable and fair way to go about things.
dealing with the mother-in-law
Some mothers can find it difficult to let go of their sons and such feelings can manifest themselves in reactions to your wedding plans.
Just like with your own mum be sure to let your mother-in-law know your plans early on so she feels included and continue with regular updates. Also as a wedding is ultimately the joining of two families, invite your mother-in-law to join you and your mum when arranging some parts of the wedding, such as choosing the flowers or shopping for decorations. This will also help you to bond as a family.
If however your mother-in-law gets a little out of hand, ask your partner to have a gentle word with her and to explain that you have made your decisions as a couple to avoid her taking up issue with you alone.
Most importantly – have fun with it. This is a great time of your life for mother/daughter bonding and while the planning path might not run entirely smooth, it’s a perfect opportunity to spend quality time together and to create some fabulous memories.
A mum’s input can be particularly helpful in areas that the groom just can’t get enthused about, such as chair covers and sashes, so there are plenty of different areas in which to get those most important to you involved.
Planning with your mum is also a great excuse for numerous shopping trips and glasses of fizz, just don’t mention it to the men that will be left at home!