Wednesday, October 3, 2012

But I’m the Mother-of-the-Bride!

Mothers of the bride have a special role in every wedding. After all, without them there likely wouldn’t be a bride (and, hence, a wedding), to celebrate.

Despite this special role, many brides struggle with identifying what tasks to assign to their mothers and what to leave to their planners. Although all brides love their mom (and are smart enough to remind them of that constantly while planning a wedding), they often are at a loss as to how to mesh the role of their mother and that of their wedding planner when making big and small decisions. Unfortunately, this leads to many a fight between mother and bride, something HJ absolutely hates to hear about or have occurred.  

Usually, the difficulty is that the last time a bride’s mom planned a wedding was years (if not decades) prior. Just like everything else, though, weddings change with time (see previous two week’s posts if you are uncertain about this). This means that a mother’s idea of style, elements to include and guest expectations of a wedding can be way off, or, at the very least, seriously outdated.

For example, my mother planned my sister’s wedding 14 years prior to mine. Her and my biggest hurdle to overcome was the fact that Laura Ashley floral bridesmaid’s dresses were no longer de rigueur. In fact, she didn’t approve of my bridesmaid’s black, non-uniform dresses until after seeing our wedding photos.

So, just what tasks can a bride safely assign to their mothers, and what should be left in a planner’s capable hands? In most cases, consider whether the element requires a PLAN:

Precise: if a wedding element must be precisely timed, fitted or otherwise perfect to avoid a catastrophic problem, leave it to the planner.

Lucky: if you find yourself saying “I hope we’re lucky enough…” hand it over to your planner. Luck shouldn’t factor into a wedding, and a planner’s job is to remove all elements of surprise and give you just want you want.

Available: if placing, organizing or running an element of the wedding needs someone available on the day of the wedding, it’s the planner’s job.

Negotiable: if an item or location’s cost or rules are not perfectly suited to your event and need to be changed, leave the negotiations up to your planner.

Looking for a way to tell your mom that she’s not in charge of certain elements? We’ve found that these sentences are helpful:
  • “I want you to have fun on the wedding day with your and our friends, not worrying about how something looks or if it will occur on time.”
  • “Keeping a good repertoire with the vendor is essential, so I think we should let the planner handle it. That way, if the vendor gets mad, they won’t take it out on us.”
  • “That’s work that we shouldn’t have to do. Let’s have the planner handle that.”
  • “It’s important that you be with me as much as possible on that day. I’d really like it if the planner handled that so you can be nearby.”

Still not able to convince your mom? Let her have her say, then do what you want. It sounds cruel, but oftentimes is the best way to let your mother feel involved, which is most likely all she wants.