Does your future mother-in-law really want to help you plan the wedding? Does your mother call you every day, twice? Does the groom’s mother have an awful lot of opinions? Has your mother started e-mailing you pictures of the bouquets SHE likes — who taught her how to embed an attachment anyway? Has dinner with his parents become a torturous question-and-answer session about the nitty-gritty details of your Caribbean destination wedding? Sometimes, it’s easier to find a special project to keep a well-meaning relative busy than it is to keep that same person out of your hair during your entire wedding planning experience.
I think it is especially difficult for mothers of grooms who don’t have any daughters of their own to keep their big mouths shut when it comes time to plan their baby boy’s wedding. After all, her son’s wedding is her only opportunity to do what every woman likes to do — plan a party. And she probably likes you a lot, so her intentions are good. She really does want to help. But if you don’t want her help… well, let’s just say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. So what can you do about it?
You want to keep the peace in the months leading up to your wedding. Weddings are an emotionally exhausting time no matter what to do, so you want to try to avoid drama as much as possible. There are several ways you can involve your mother or his mother in the process without having to give them the key to the city. Remember, you’ve chosen to get married thousands of miles away from home for a reason. You hired a professional destination wedding planner so that you wouldn’t get mired in the little bitty details. Do not let your mother or his mother stress you out. Start from the beginning by making a list of things that moms can help with so that when they bug you, you actually have an assignment to give them.
Here are some specific projects that are actual ways (tried and true) to keep the moms busy and out of your hair:
— wedding invitations — you have to choose and order them, but you can certainly assign your mother the task of stuffing and addressing them. You’ll have to do a complete spreadsheet with your guest list and all the addresses, but once that’s done, you can just hand them the guest list, invitations and stamps and check one more thing off your list.
— track RSVPs — you don’t have to have RSVPs sent to your house, have them sent to your mother! Let mom keep track of who is coming, where they’re staying, and what they want for dinner.
— welcome bag stuffing — giving each mother a budget and tell her how many welcome bags you’re going to fill, and you might be surprised with the creative goodies the ladies come up with.
— reception favors — are they handy in the kitchen? crafty and creative? Homemade and hand-decorated treats, tied carefully in little glassine bags, make wonderful wedding reception favors. Mom can make them in advance and ship them ahead.
If your mother is particularly crafty or his mother is particularly artistic, there are number of other things you can involve them in that will help give your wedding creative, personalized touches. I recommend the bride have a firm idea of what kind of decor she wants before she involves their mothers so she doesn’t get steamrolled. Unless, of course, they want their mom’s input on the wedding colors and theme. Some brides don’t know enough about flowers and don’t feel comfortable taking a recommendation from a wedding planner or florist who they’ve never met in person. If that’s the case, by all means, call your mom. Nobody knows you better than your mother. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have the same taste, but the evil you know is better than the evil you don’t know, right?
I’ve worked with a number of brides have involved their mothers in every single conference call — with much success! Some girls are like peas in a pod with mom, and working together is no big deal. Other girls do everything possible to treat mom like a mushroom (keep her in the dark, feed her bullshit, etc.). Whatever is best for you and your fiancée is the tact you should take.
Try to remember that your mom probably has your best interests at heart no matter what. She’s excited! Her baby is getting married, in some cases FINALLY. Try not to be evil and nasty and witchy towards her, no matter how stressed out you get. When I look back at the way I spoke to my mother in front of the dress shop the day of my wedding gown fitting, I’m mortified. I’m sure I’ve been forgiven but I certainly don’t deserve it. That said, if being a bitch was a crime, I’d have gotten off on temporary insanity when judged by a jury of my peers (i.e. other brides-to-be).
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques!