Advice for the Mother of the Bride
It seems like just a few minutes ago you were changing your toddler’s diaper, and all of a sudden she’s sporting an engagement ring and has dived right into planning her wedding. If it makes your head spin, you’re not alone. So what do you do now? What is the mother of the bride’s role these days?
There are two very important dimensions for parents to act in when their child is getting married: financial and emotional. Let’s look at both of these in turn.
LDS Mother of the Bride as Financial Support
As tradition would have it, the bride’s family pays for the majority of the wedding, while the groom’s family gets off easy and just paid for the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon. But it’s a very different ball game today. Today, all kinds of financial arrangements are going on with wedding planning.
So while your daughter may be chomping at the bit to go dress shopping, your first responsibility as a family is to sit down and figure out who will be paying for what. More importantly, set reasonable limits to what you will spend and what you can afford. Developing a budget is absolutely essential to sound wedding planning, and should involve the groom’s family as well as your daughter.
LDS Mother of the Bride as Emotional Support
Emotional support is another important dimension of your role as a parent. Odds are that your daughter will never need a cheerleader as much as she will in the next several months of wedding planning.
Your most important job as mother of the bride is to be her constant support. That means listening when she vents about the frustration she’s feeling during the demanding wedding planning process and empathizing without judging.
More importantly, you should be there to provide perspective. To your daughter, it seems like the stressful planning phase will go on forever, but you can remind her that it’s only temporary.
Remind her gently that no matter what goes wrong – even if the wedding cake gets dropped on the sidewalk en route to the reception or the flower girl decides to roll in the mud 5 minutes before pictures – the most important thing that she is marrying her eternal companion in the Temple. The rest is just details.
How Parents Can Help With Wedding Planning
Helping without stepping on your daughter’s toes in planning her wedding can be a difficult dance. You can offer to accompany her shopping or help her do some research on the Internet. Unsolicited advice might seem like criticism to your daughter, but certainly let her know that you can give feedback whenever she needs or wants it.
Help however you can in wedding planning, but in the end, give your daughter space and autonomy to make the final decisions herself. This is her wedding day, and it will only happen once.
You may not understand or agree with all your daughter’s plans (why did she have to fall in love with the reception hall in the most inconvenient location? Is she sure she wants to get a wedding dress that doesn’t touch the floor?). However as long as she’s happy with her choices then that’s what really matters.
When your daughter gets engaged and starts to plan her wedding, mixed emotions are the order of the day. Add to that a healthy dose of wedding planning stress (for her and for you), and some conflict is unavoidable. Try to be there for her emotionally, as well as financially within the parameters you’ve discussed ahead of time. By all means offer to help, but remember that she’s an adult and this is her wedding day to plan.
♥ Jenny Evans
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