Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wedding Q&A Thursday: Mother of the Bride

Q: I know that she's just trying to be helpful, but my Mom is driving me a bit crazy. I'm sure you deal with a lot of Mothers, is there a way for me to politely" ask her to back off? I don't want to hurt her feelings!

A: As you said, your mother is just trying to help, and if she's really all over you about things, it may be because she's actually a little overwhelmed herself! I think the best way to "control" family members in general is to think about what their traditional roles in the process should be, combined with what they are capable of, combined with what you trust them to do, thereby creating a personalized role for them. Then sit down with them and discuss all of your plans, and the thought process behind them, highlighting specifically where you would like their assistance, advice, etc.

The wedding planning process is so different from normal life. Everyone wants to help, everyone wants to be put to work. So give them a job! If they have an assigned duty they are less likely to just arbitrarily give you advice and opinions that could start to drive you crazy. Even if your justification comes from a good place - "Mom, I just want you to relax and enjoy the wedding..." - some people will not be satisfied with a hands-off approach.

That said, the "traditional" mother of the bride roles are less defined than, say, the father of the bride or maid of honor. Her job, vaguely enough, is to help! So if she's a little frantic, overwhelmed and, therefore, overwhelming, keep her filled in on the process (maybe suggest a weekly phone call to keep it in control) and ask her to do specific things that will actually help you...

- Mom, would you mind making me a list of addresses of all of our family members as well as your guests, including their full names and the names of their children?

- Hi Mom, I'd love for you to talk to Grandma and our other female relatives and come up with some family traditions that we may consider using in our wedding.

- Hey Mom, I've got that under control, but ya know what I could use a little help with? Calling area hotels and finding out the rates they offer for group reservations! (yay)

- Mother Dearest, you are such a great hostess! I know that you're going to come up with some great ideas for the welcome bags we leave in our guests' hotel rooms (wink).

Your Mom is excited! She will throw herself full-force into whatever task you assign her and be a much calmer ally in the process.

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