Just for

the Mothers of

the Bride and Groom

Roles and Rules Defined

By Bridal News Network 

(BNN) Things have changed for the mothers of prospective brides and grooms.   A decade ago, weddings were planned primarily by the bride and her mother, with the groom and his family playing supporting roles.  Now, as more brides and grooms plan and pay for their own weddings without parental help, and with more couples inviting both sets of parents to participate fully, the moms are confused about their roles.

 “Moms are caught between old-world expectations and 21st-century realities, and those old-world expectations lead to resentment,” says Sharon Naylor, author of The Mother of the Bride Book (Citadel Press, 2001) {pictured} and Mother of the Groom (Citadel Press, 2005).  “When a mother is surprised to find that she’ll play a smaller role, or no role, or – even worse – share a planning role with ‘his mother,’ that can be a recipe for disaster.  Both books provide new role definitions and updated mom etiquette. When moms get the answers they need, the frustration levels go down, and clashes are prevented.”

Here are some of the author’s top tips for mothers:

  • Acknowledge that the bride and groom are in charge, even if you’re paying for the wedding. Being in charge of the platinum card doesn’t give you the right to steamroll your wishes onto the day.
  • If you find yourself overly-invested in the wedding, it could be a sign that you want your own celebration. Consider renewing your wedding vows.
  • Propose your wishes as requests - not demands or manipulations.
  • See into the future. You’re building the foundation of your future relationship with the bride and groom now, so everything you do determines the access you’ll have to them and to any future grandkids. Be pleasant and look at the in-laws as an extended part of your family, not competitors.
  • Don’t focus only on the wedding; ask the bride what’s new in her work and social life.
  • Embrace your new son- or daughter-in law. Find wonderful ways to welcome him/her into the family, such as inviting the couple to dinner or sending them copies of family recipes.
  • Honor the couple’s boundaries. If they say you can invite only ten friends and colleagues, hand in a list of ten, not twenty. When you show that you respect their wishes, they’ll respect yours in the future.
  • Keep track of what’s going well, so that you’ll enjoy the process more, and so that you can comfort the bride when she loses her perspective.

 

Naylor’s must-read books also caution against making assumptions from the start, as well as the best ways to be of help in every area of the wedding plans. “What’s most surprising to today’s mother and step-mother is the intensity involved,” says Naylor. “They often get stunned by the heightened emotions -- and the heightened expenses – so what they thought was going to be a fun process becomes a highly-charged atmosphere where they feel they ‘can’t win.” The author feels it’s all about establishing a foundation of communication, trust, and reliability, and then maintaining them in the middle of all those hundreds of wedding planning details.

All of this makes for not-to-be-missed talk and helpful advice on the

Wedding Podcast Network’s ‘Here Comes the Moms’ (weddingpodcastnetwork.com).  According to Naylor, the idea is to take the fear and frustration out of the mothers’ new roles in wedding planning, and return them to the excitement of preparing for both a joyous wedding and a future shared with a new son- or daughter-in-law, plus a new extended family.

So what’s the number one tip for mothers of the bride and groom? Listen more than you speak – both to the bride and the groom. They’re the center of the day, so their wishes come before anything else.