There are a lot of stories about horrible future mothers-in-law when people talk about weddings and marriages. They’ve become the stereotype.
What this brings home for me is that while there is so much talk about mothers-in-law, immediate familial relationships are often left unspoken about. No one talks about how to navigate a difficult relationship with their own mother, when it’s so much easier to complain about someone else’s.
It’s particularly hard when it comes to planning for your nuptials. Just how do you tell your mother to back off because she’s being an insufferable control freak who wants to take over your wedding?
In light of this, we’ve compiled a checklist of things your mother should never do when you’re planning your wedding:
Your mother should never:
Criticise your wedding party members
In what is probably one of the most infuriating letters we’ve seen online, a mother of the bride to be recently complained about one of her daughter’s bridesmaids.
In this letter, which originally featured in the Dear Prudence advice column on Slate.com, the woman actually had the audacity to complain about the fact that the bridesmaid walks with a limp because of a birth defect – blatantly stating that the limp would ruin her daughter’s wedding.
The response to her troubling ableism was appropriately scathing and as it turns out, the daughter is now no longer speaking to her mother.
Imagine thinking that you have so much power in your daughter’s wedding that you can go around dehumanising her friends – loved ones she chose to be part of her big day.
While it’s totally okay to be supportive and offer advice to your daughter, the big day is not about you.
Who she chooses to be part of her bridal entourage, what colours she likes and the venue her and her partner want – your role as parent doesn’t give you the right to dictate what she can or cannot do. And yes, that rule definitely applies even if you’re helping to foot the costs.
Be rude to the vendors
If your daughter takes you with her and her partner to check out some wedding vendors, iron out some details or finalise contracts, you are there because she wants you to be a part of the process - in the capacity of advice giver, not micro manager.
That means not interfering when a vendor offers advice, not being rude to the vendors at the wedding reception if mistakes happen (as they inevitably do) and it also means trusting your daughter to make decisions that make her happy.
And if the bride or you are unhappy with the service being rendered, there are many different ways to do that – none of which include having a shouting match with those involved.
Start wedding guest list drama
Don’t get along with certain family members? Divorced and don’t want your ex at your daughter’s wedding? It’s not up to you to influence the couple’s decisions over who should be invited and who should stay off the guest list.
Just because your relationships with individuals are fraught with tension, does not mean that you should start an anti-attendance crusade for the person in question, particularly if that person is on good terms with your daughter and her fiancée.
Also, it’s just a one day invite – surely you can avoid the person or put aside your animosity for that amount of time to just enjoy the celebrations with your family.
Wear white, unless she’s asked to
There’s nothing that says I want to upstage my own daughter’s wedding like wearing lacy white, ivory, champagne or any traditional wedding colours.
Yes, modern society dictates that we should be able to wear what we want at weddings (and we’re all for subverting tradition), but if brides-to-be have specific dress codes they’d like you to adhere to, it’s only polite to stick to dress requirements.
It’s a wholly different matter if the bride requests that you wear white, but in any other circumstance, try not to go down that route. Being mother of the bride doesn’t necessarily mean you get a free pass to breaking rules or roles regarding wedding etiquette.
Do you have any wedding horror stories to share? Tell us about them here.
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