The day you’ve dreamed of for years has finally arrived! Your little girl is all grown up and has chosen a partner to start her life with, and you are officially a MoB -- Mother of the Bride! While congratulatory remarks are appropriate at this juncture, so are a few caveats for your new role. If you’ve recently donned a MoB hat, you may want to think about some of these dos and don’ts before diving in headfirst.
DO use your network to help. As a woman who has lived fully, there is no doubt that you are well connected. People you have encountered through your work, your volunteering, and through long-standing friendships have provided you with access to many people who work in industries your daughter will need for wedding planning. Maybe your friend’s son is a hairdresser, or your work colleague owns her own photography business on the side. From bakeries to floral shops to bridesmaid dress alterations, you probably know someone who can point you toward the best professionals in town. And if your daughter isn’t assertive enough to ask, there’s no doubt a MoB is more than willing to request a “friends and family” discount!
DON’T demand the bride opt to use your network or your ideas. While it’s a wonderful thing to know a lot of people, don’t assume that your daughter’s visions of her wedding will match your own. If your best friend decorates cakes and is willing to make one, that’s all well and good if there is consistency between what she can do and what your daughter wants. But keep in mind that just because your BFF wants to help, it doesn’t mean she should. While it’s wise to provide options, be careful not to expect your daughter to go with your suggestions, and remember to skip the side order of guilt if she goes her own way.
DO take duties off the bride’s busy plate. From helping gather guest list addresses to making important follow-up phone calls with difficult vendors to dealing with the tedious task of seating arrangements, mothers of the bride have an important role in supporting their daughters during the wedding planning process. Be available, when at all possible, to do the things your daughter needs and be sure to follow through on all the chores you accept. Remember to be honest about responsibilities you are uncomfortable assuming or don’t have the time to complete.
DON’T assume undertakings without asking. While most brides willingly accept help and consider friendly suggestions, never move forward with any wedding decision without asking. Follow her lead in all things wedding-related so that you don’t end up like Maria Portokalos, mother of the bride in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, who orders invitations in advance with the names of the groom’s parents misspelled.
While it probably goes without saying, it is important to remind parents of the bride that just because they may be helping to pay for the wedding or paying for it in full, it doesn’t mean you get to call the shots. While it’s understandable that you are excited about the event and want to ensure that all tasks are completed, remember that it the bride’s desires, thoughts, and standards that matter.
DO plan special events. Some traditional MoBs still feel that they should not be the main host of a bridal shower, but many are now joining with bridesmaids and family members to put together amazing showers. From contributing monetarily to providing appetizers to gathering items for games, mothers of the bride can help cash-strapped and event-worn bridesmaids who will more than likely be happy to get your assistance. Some mothers of the bride host other events like the engagement party, the rehearsal dinner, or the morning-after breakfast, and use all of their own ideas, themes, and menus.
DON’T be a source of stress. Planning a wedding is a difficult process in the best of circumstances. From coordinating details to dealing with various vendors, the prospect of year-long planning is a source of stress for most brides regardless of how organized they are. Concerns they may have about money, the need to keep up with related wedding events, as well as continuing to deal with everyday occurrences like going to work and maintaining a household will also contribute to their stress level. As a MoB, you don’t want to add additional anxiety and difficulty to your daughter’s life. Take a backseat, help when asked, and do little things to help your bride enjoy the ride.
DO be a safe place. Whether it’s taking the bride out for a pedicure, organizing a movie night or lunch break, or being there for her to vent without being judgmental, a MoB can be a great source of comfort and inspiration. Letting your daughter grow into her role as a bride and being her biggest cheerleader is all that is necessary for your role as an amazing Mother of the Bride.
If you’ve been a Mother of the Bride, what suggestions would you provide? If you are a bride, what would you want most from your mother during the planning process? Feel free to comment here.