It’s finally here, the day you have planned for, dreamed about and possibly lost sleep over. Visions of the perfect location, the perfect dress, the best catering you can afford and the guest list swirl around in your head until you have wedding bouquets for irises.
It’s your daughter’s or son’s wedding day.
Let me repeat that. Your Daughter or Son’s wedding day.
Now I understand that you may be footing the bill, or helping with some of the planning and you only want what is best for your child. But let me share a few things I have learned over the past 9 years of performing weddings. I realize this is a sensitive subject but it really needs to be addressed and unfortunately your children will probably never tell you but keep that festering resentment to themselves. You have to agree that is no way to start a marriage…right Moms?
I see the downward cast eyes when you take over the wedding planning, I see the look on their faces when they share the vision of a wedding day that is no longer their own. I see and hear the heated discusses and snide remarks that are made between the couple because they feel trapped by your prominent position in their wedding. I have seen couples call off the wedding due to too many opinions and run off to the courthouse to elope. I have seen couples foot their own bill so the only opinion in the pot is their own. I have seen mom’s act as if the whole day is about them. I see the frustration of the wedding vendors whose passion is to help couples realize their dreams have to be second guessed by mom …dare I say (zilla)
I hear so many times “that ‘s what my mom wants” or “well since she is paying for this…..”. It’s not said in a voice of joy or happiness as one would wish for a couple getting married it’s said in a voice of defeat, indifference and unhappiness. I will sometimes ask the couple if they had a choice, how would they envision their day and you should see how their eyes light up. Many times it is not very far off from what you their mom wants. And in the end I know you just want your children to be happy.
Weddings are sometimes turned into a social or business event for the parents and that is not always in the best interest of the couple. Many couples would prefer a smaller more intimate and meaningful wedding day, because they truly understand that the day should be about them and the close friends and family who love and support their relationship. There is nothing worse than seeing a bride crying in her freshly done make up because her mom is taking over her day or a groom unhappy because his mom won’t come because of a disagreement during the planning. Don’t miss out on their happiness because of who they have chosen to marry.
So moms talk with your children about their wedding day. Don’t talk at them. Really listen to them. This is an important day in their life and if you are controlling the wedding what does this mean for their marriage? Your dear children will probably never admit this to you and it does not mean that that they love you any less. But I am pretty sure you instilled some wonderful values in them and taught them to stand on their own two feet and make good decisions. Why would that not apply to their wedding day?
So dear moms take a load off. Enjoy the fruits of your labor for one day. Enjoy the loving atmosphere that your child’s wedding day should be. Be there for them if they need you but always let the final decision rest with them. Make suggestions in love not demands in the mom voice….you know what I mean. Don’t make the disapproving face when what you would have liked is not the same thing your children want. Remember you raised an individual, not a carbon copy of yourself. If you didn’t have the wedding you wanted, plan a vow renewal. There is nothing more romantic than love that has survived the years.
Don’t hold the fact that you are paying for things over their head as a bargaining chip to advance your own agenda. Don’t plan your perfect wedding day and try to pass it off as what your child wants. Be the one thing they need more than a $8000 Vera Wang dress because so and so’s daughter had a $5000 one, just be the best mom you have always been and I guarantee you they will be more than happy to show you their appreciation. This I also know for sure and have seen many times over.
I once saw a bride start her toast by saying “Mom thank you for giving me the wedding day I had hoped for and dreamed of…” and she also expressed that she wanted to include something during the wedding ceremony to thank them and we did. In the end just focus on the love you have for your child. Hire a planner and let the vendors do their job. Plan one activity that you can do together like maybe making favors where you can have a lasting touch on the wedding day or have a pre wedding day spa trip or hiking adventure where you can bond. If they are not including you in some of the planning processes it is not to snide you, it is to show you what a wonderful job you did in raising a completely capable adult secure in he own judgement and it is their thank you to you for working so hard at being their mom.
And then give them the best wedding gift of all. A gift of a no mama drama wedding. I thank you, the wedding industry thanks and most importantly, your children will thank you.