A few generations ago mothers planned their daughter’s weddings, and had almost complete control over the decision making. These days, brides and couples often take the lead in creating their own wedding celebration. But we should not forget that a wedding is a hallmark of enormous change. Moms (and Dads) often feel like they are losing their son or daughter, and it can be unconsciously upsetting or even sad. Marriage will bring out a range of emotions for everyone involved.
I want to specifically address mother-daughter issues. It has become a bit of a modern-day cliché, but mothers and daughters do often fight. Especially during the teenage years, which I hope are well behind you; but sometimes wounds linger.
To further complicate the situation, if Mom is paying for the wedding, it bestows power or her. But there are ways to find common ground.
Here are some suggestions for moms and daughters to help smooth the way. Brides, you don’t want to turn into Bridezilla, and Moms, you certainly don’t want to be the Mother or Mother-in-law from Hell. With a little pro-active thoughtfulness, you should be able to not only survive wedding planning, but enjoy it together.
First, sit down together and make a to-do list very early in the process. Then discuss which responsibilities and decisions will be assigned to whom, and which areas will be collaborative. There should be no hard-and-fast rules. Should a job become overwhelming, don’t hesitate to ask each other for help.
Discuss the budget together, and approach it with a sense of values. Try not to get caught up in too much materialism, losing sight of what really matters.
Have some ‘big picture’ discussions together. Daughters – share your hopes for the future with your mother; mothers – share stories of your wedding with your daughter. You are sure to find things to laugh about, cry about, and learn from.
Mothers, if you don’t already do so, there will never be a better time to begin treating your daughter like an adult. Likewise, daughters, you must now respect your mother as you would a friend. Sometimes we treat those closest to us with less care than strangers. Don’t let this be the case.
Identify activities to do together, such as visit venues, florists, caterers, and clarify those you prefer to do it alone, with your fiancé, or with girlfriends.
Brides, realize this is a big day for everyone, not just you!
Mothers, no matter how difficult, be the cheerleader, and lead with grace. You will set the tone for family unity and happiness for years to come.
Finally, when areas of conflict arise, ask yourself honestly how important this issue actually is to you, before an argument ensues. The aspects of the wedding that are most important to you are certainly worth ‘fighting for,’ but compromises should be made as well. Taking the time to think about these and other potential areas for conflict over your wedding, especially in the early stages of planning, will help ensure an easier process in one of life’s biggest transitions.
thank you Michael Straub for the photo!