Your mother has the best intentions when it comes to helping you out with wedding-related tasks. However, there is a fine line between being helpful and meddlesome. I do find there are two kinds of relationships – some couples have great relationships with their moms and want their help and ideas, and other couples don’t want any interference. This is a great time to establish your boundaries and practice being strong with them. When you find yourself being pressured (bullied) just let your mom know your boundary and ask her to respect it. A good mom will step back and bit and honour your ability to make your own decisions.
A couple of years ago I wrote a post all about parental estrangement and wedding drama, just in case your situation isn’t just a matter of an over excited mother.
Unfortunately, some mothers, or mothers-in-law, don’t know when to stop. Instead of getting fed up to the point where you get angry, here are some ways to navigate a tricky situation:
Find Ways to Compromise
The first step is listening to what your mom has to say so that you can compromise. She may have some good suggestions, but this doesn’t mean you need to go along with all of them. Compromise is the best way to make her feel involved, but still accept that this is your day. When I was getting married, I would say “Thank you, I will add that idea to our list to review later” and change the subject.
Do the Big Things Before Involving Her
Before you involve your mother, mother-in-law, or your wedding party in your plans, finalize the bigger details first. This way, the things that mean the most to you are already taken care of and nobody can interfere or make you doubt yourself. Be prepared to stand your ground in case there is an explosion!
Give Her a To-Do List
If you know your mom wants to be heavily involved, create a personalized to-do list just for her. This can consist of tasks that aren’t as important to you or things you simply don’t have time for. Consider her strengths when creating this list and make her aware of the fact that these tasks are suited to her strengths. Some ideas for mom: researching and hiring your Officiant, seamstress, DJ, bartenders, decorators, suppliers, makeup artist, stationers etc. This will take the research hours off your plate – be sure to ask mom to provide a list of company names, pricing options, locations, and contact info so you can work from that list to choose your vendors.
Warn Your Vendors
If your mother has a tendency to take over, give your vendors and wedding planner a heads up. Your instructions are what matters and if they receive any additional instructions, tell them to clear it with your first. When I was in the funeral industry it was a simple matter of asking any meddler if they are the next of kin. If the answer is no (we already know the answer but it’s important to ask to make sure they know they aren’t in charge) we just say we will discuss it with the NoK. In the wedding world I do the same thing – when a meddler tries to get me to do something, I say I will discuss it with the couple and will go with what they say. Usually, meddler will say no no don’t bother them because they know they will be seen as interfering.
On my intake form I ask if there is a family dynamic I should be aware of – this is the place to tell me if a mom is going to be a problem!
Get a Friend Involved
Sometimes, all someone wants is a bit of recognition. If this is the case with your mom, get a friend to volunteer as an emotional cheerleader. You can also praise her, but it helps to have someone else who is aware of the situation and can run interference for you while you get on with your plans.
Communicate and Be Flexible
The more you communicate with your mother, the more she will understand what you want and need as the bride. It also ensures nobody’s feelings are hurt during the wedding planning process. Being flexible is a must when your mother wants to be involved. Listen to her ideas, but you will always have the last say, so take solace in that.
Planning your wedding is exciting, but stress and tension will surface at one point or another. As long as you keep your perspective and practice patience with those involved, you shouldn’t run into any major issues.
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