When it comes to planning a wedding, most of the advice is geared towards the bride and the groom. Which is only natural, as the newlyweds are, and should be, the focus of the day.
But many other people have a role to play in the wedding, and they need some guidance as well. Mothers, I’m talking to you here.
When your son or daughter comes to you to announce their engagement, you are naturally going to want to get involved in the wedding planning process. However, have a care. It is all too easy to go overboard, and to overstep your part.
So when your children announce their wedding, you need to know what you should, and shouldn’t, do. Here are some essential tips for the mothers of the bride and groom.
1. Who’s In Charge?
Wedding traditions have changed over the years, and today it is the bride and groom who are in charge of the wedding plans. Regardless of who is paying, the wedding couple always makes the final decisions.
As parents, you may well have your own opinions on the ceremony and celebrations, but your keep them to yourself. Let your children call the shots.
2. Be Supportive
Obviously, you want to be supportive. But you need to do so without being a pest. Let the happy couple know that you are there to help, if they need it. Tell them what you may be able to help with, and let them call on you when, and if, they need you.
3. Know Your Limits
Undoubtedly, your children will come to you for help and advice as they begin to plan their wedding. But it is important that you do not overextend yourselves. Know your limits, and try not to promise more than you can deliver.
Remember, you’re likely to have your hands full with wedding showers, and with visiting friends and relatives as the wedding day approaches. So don’t take on more than you can handle.
4. Meet the In-Laws
Traditionally, after a couple’s engagement is announced, the parents of the groom arrange a meeting with the parents of the bride. Today, there is no need to be so formal.
However, it is still good form to arrange a relaxed get together with your future in-laws to get to know one another and discuss the upcoming wedding.
Let the bride and groom handle the arrangements, and keep the evening light and friendly. Don’t worry too much about wedding details, and simply take some time to get to know your new family.
5. Wedding Attire
It’s customary for the mother of the bride to choose her dress first. The mother of the groom can then choose an outfit that is complementary in style and color. Both of you should avoid white, as well as the principle colors of the wedding party itself. Think of the wedding photos, and try to find styles and colors that will complement the choices made by the bride and groom.
6. Invitation Overload
After your children announce their engagement, there will no doubt be family and friends that you want to call and invite to the wedding. However, you need to wait until the bride and groom finalize their guest list. Remember, your kids are in charge here. They may not want a large wedding, and they may not be able to accommodate everyone you want to invite. Hold steady, and wait until the bride and groom give you the go ahead to contact friends and relatives.
7. Discretion is the Better Part of Valor
…it is also the better part of being a mother of the bride and groom. Your children are likely to make decisions that you do not agree with, including inviting people that you do not particularly like. Be discrete, and keep your opinions to yourself. Gossip causes stress, and that is the last thing the happy couple needs as they plan their wedding.
It’s only natural to want to help your children as much as possible as they plan their wedding. However, this is their day, and they are in charge. Be supportive, and available to lend assistance when necessary, and when asked. Keep unsolicited opinions to yourself, and let the bride and groom have the wedding they envision.