Moms often wait what seems like forever for their baby girls to get married. I was never sure mine would go the conventional route nor have a traditional wedding but in the end, she surprised me. Truth be told, this is a life event mothers with daughters think about a LOT from the time their girls are small.
My daughter’s elegant and somewhat elaborate wedding was amazing; a stunning visual display of the love and excitement she and her husband-to-be shared for this life-changing rite of passage.
It would be impossible, however, to avoid every pitfall the intricacies any wedding can produce, especially for the MOB. So for those moms out there who want a heads-up on how to improve upon my recent experiences, I offer the following advice:
(1) Don’t question your daughter’s taste for wedding details. It has nothing to do with you. Moms tend to project how they want to see things when their daughters marry and often use the excuse (especially if they are paying for any of it) that their daughters should just go along. Just remember, no matter how off-the-charts her ideas about her own wedding are, the day is not about YOU. And it’s not about guests who will be there on YOUR behalf. It’s about the beginning of your daughter’s new life. Practice lots of nodding, smiling and repeating “if it’s what you want” –ing. Answer questions honestly when asked, but don’t be insulted if she does not implement your idea, take your advice, or observe the things you deem important. If you take that approach, you won’t look back with regrets about fighting over details that will not really matter years from now.
(2) If you are asked to say a few words at one or more of the wedding events, prepare it in advance but commit much of it to memory. The words you use and the comfort with which you say them can mean the difference between a memorable toast/speech and one where you are fumbling with a piece of paper using your iPhone light to see it while holding a microphone in the other hand. Tell sweet stories, speak lovingly to the family that is about to merge with your own and remember that everything you say and do here can and will be used for future reference. She will hang on every word.
(3) Don’t use a self-tanner you’ve never tested out before. I was mortified when a product that said it “dried quickly” left hug marks on people’s clothes and I had to hightail it back to my AirBnb apartment to wash it all off. I was livid.
(4) Realize that your daughter is in panic mode most of the time. If the photographer tells you to pretend to pull back her blusher to give her a kiss for a photo, ask her if she is ready for it and don’t be hurt if she flinches. She is thinking about her makeup, the expression on her face and whether you might get self-tanner on her crisp, white veil.
(5) Don’t stress over a wedding gift. It is often family heirlooms and keepsakes your daughter will value at a time like this. A food processor from her registry list simply does not measure up.
(6) Bring more than one pair of shoes and arm yourself with pain relievers. You will be on your feet a LOT.
(7) Make a list of people with whom you’ll want to have your photo taken throughout the day/event. I did not do this and the evening went by without even smart phone photos taken with my dearest friends and relatives. It’s a homework assignment you will want to complete before cutting loose on the dance floor.
(8) If you’re getting ready (hair, makeup, etc.) with your daughter and her bridesmaids in anticipation of her putting on her wedding gown, bring a pretty robe to wear. Chances are, they will all be in satin robes that match. Having mom in her yoga clothes as photographers snap “getting ready” photos just doesn’t cut it. And bring a REAL handkerchief. There will be lots of happy tears.
(9) Make it a point to dance with your daughter. I didn’t and I cry now when I think about it. Both of you may be so busy with guests that you forget to do a number of things that will someday feel like important small gestures on her wedding day.
(10) Realize that this day (hopefully) comes but once and that you must concentrate on savoring every moment as it happens. Don’t let the social whirlwind rob you of that. Be gracious. Be happy. Remember that the wedding will be perfectly imperfect no matter how meticulously it was planned.