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Stress Caused By The Mother of The Bride

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I am the first person to admit, I hate to generalize people and put them into the same category. I know if you are like me, you also hate to be that person who is put into a “category”. Here it comes….,but from my years of experience there is a major difference between a couple just beginning their wedding planning process, the middle and the end. In the beginning, they are excited, happy, and hopeful. In the middle they are overwhelmed, stressed, and angry. Toward the end, they typically have given up and have a feeling that they just can’t wait for it to be over. This has been what I have seen for over 27 years and frankly why I have stayed in the business. I am continually trying to help that couple avoid as much of the planning stress as possible. There are circumstances surrounding some weddings that just can not be fixed by hiring a wedding planner. They typically revolve around family issues. A planner can often lend their ear in these cases and be a great sounding board and believe it or not most experienced Wedding Planners will tell you your problem is most likely common although it may not feel like it is. I normally see the same problems occur from the family stress category. The most common problem is mothers and daughters not seeing eye to eye on the vision and etiquette of the wedding. This time that should be utter joy for the brides and her mom, turns into fighting and heart break. You may be asking yourself, “How and why does this happen?” The typical common thread I see in these situations is that a.) The mother is inconsiderate and uncaring about her daughter’s dream and wants her daughter to “get on board” with the mother’s vision. and b.) The daughter has a hard time communicating effectively to her mother. (Who has been in the habit of telling the daughter what to do and what is acceptable her entire life.)

I realize I may have described the mother’s motives and views pretty harshly. Honestly, I am a middle aged mother with 2 daughters. Both have been in the wedding planning stages. I understand the mother’s side. Wanting everything perfect. (My idea of perfect). I have also, been saddened for the last 27 years seeing the mother/daughter dynamic enough to see the heartache caused by the mother. I don’t think it is her intention to cause all this heartache to her daughter. I think she is just simply stuck in the “mother” mode. Mother has been “right” daughter’s whole life. Mom is sure her daughter will see in the end once again… mom was right. Unfortunately, Mom doesn’t realize, this time she isn’t right. Mom doesn’t realize she is hurting her daughter by not encouraging and sharing her daughter’s dream. Mom is taking over (as usual) and not allowing her daughter to realize her own dream for her wedding day.

It may sound like I am on the daughter’s (the bride’s) side. Well, I guess I do lean more toward the bride’s wants, hopes, and dreams on her own wedding day. Shouldn’t I? Shouldn’t the mother? Should we all? I mean, it is her wedding right? I get the concept that if the parents are paying for it, they should have a say in some of the aspects of the wedding and there should be respect for the parents from the bride. The parents need to remember, the wedding is ALL about the bride. Let’s face it, that is the way our society has created it. The groom may be involved in the planning and the marriage is about the couple, but typically the groom doesn’t dream of his wedding day. I am not trying to diminish the groom as vital part of the day. I have many grooms who actually do ALL the planning. He may be very excited about getting married and looking forward to the day. Typically he is doing the planning because he loves his Bride- to-be and doesn’t want her to stress. Let’s face it, the guests are all thinking about the bride and what she will be wearing, I have never heard a guest say, “WOW, the groom looks amazing. I was wondering what he was going to wear.”

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photo credit rebeccadavidson.com


So, how can I help those who are reading this article and experiencing this problem? I must give the same advice I do to everyone else in this and many related problems. Communication is the key. I know it is unpleasant. Who wants to say, “Mom, we need to talk.” I don’t think this is the approach that you need to take. I think something like,”Hey can we have lunch and maybe I can show you some of my ideas for the wedding?” You need to start the conversation with a humble heart and express your sorrow in how things have turned out. You don’t need to site too many examples of her wrong doing. This can result in her feeling the need to defend her actions. Just simply say you are sad about the way thing have been going or turned out and you would like to enjoy the rest of the wedding planning process with her. You should also feel comfortable to share how you would like her to communicate her ideas with you. Then don’t just explain your vision in words, but try every way possible to give a clear presentation with supportive materials. If the bride or groom wants to wear tennis shoes with a suit or tux or even a dress, just because you have seen it 1,000 times on Pinterest doesn’t mean it makes sense to your parents. This may be an entirely new concept to your parents/mother and in their minds totally inappropriate. Honestly, just a few short years ago, it was unacceptable.

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Try a new approach. Don’t just “talk” about what you are thinking. Take time to sit down with your mom and thoroughly explain it to her, show her your inspiration, and use multiple sources to show how widely excepted the idea is. Create a vision board to show how your entire concept may come together. If you are not a computer wiz, do it the old fashion way and make a collage from magazine articles. If you can’t, won’t, or don’t take the time to try to clearly share your vision, you can’t expect someone to understand and embrace it. Give your mother the same time investment and consideration you would want her to give you.

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temp-post-image I understand some of my readers may be thinking, “It doesn’t matter how much communication there is, mom still just won’t care.” Unfortunately, I have seen this prove to be true too many times. I know many have heard the saying, “You can’t control other peoples thoughts and actions, only your own.” It just doesn’t seem fair. Why should you have to be the grown up? Well, if you are getting married, news flash, you are a grown up. You may need to just realize, you are more mature and sympathetic than your mother. That just doesn’t seem right does it? But, in many cases it is true. Or you may need to realize you need to establish a new relationship with your mother. Still with respect, but you need to show her that you are not a child anymore and you can effectively communicate to adults. Maybe you have not had the opportunity to prove your skills and just how “grown up” you are. You now have to decide as an adult how you are going to “deal” with your adult mother. If you try to communicate your feelings, your dreams, hopes, and desires and you fail to accomplish what you had hoped, at least you tried. Do it respectfully with love and consideration of her feelings. Do it with out the expectation that she will change her mind. Do it only with the idea that you want to be able to communicate better than you have in the past.

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It is very cliche for me to say, that the day really should be about the two of you (couple getting married). This is the perspective so many people loose when planning their wedding. The concentration becomes all about the celebration not the ceremony. If you are faced with the fact that the day just won’t turn out the way you had anticipated, focusing on your new union may just be the one thing no one can take from you.

I wish you all the best in your wedding planning. If you want to leave a comment to encourage others or would like to leave a prayer request for your marriage or relationship concerns below please feel free to share. All requests receive prayer.

When leaving a comment for others to read, please keep them positive. We want to encourage hope for all who read this.

Photo Credit truephotographyweddings.tumblr.com