It's the day we dream about as little girls-- the fluffy white dress, the multi-tiered cake... and the mother of the bride. Yes, Mr. Right is there too of course. But the planning and let's face it-- the purse strings-- have more to do with your Mom than your man. When it comes to orchestrating a wedding-- you and your mom are a couple!
GalTime caught up with the experts on the subject. Author Susan Wiggs literally wrote the book on happily-ever-after love. She's a bestselling romance novelist. When she and her daughter Elizabeth started planning Elizabeth's wedding-- a whole new chapter of their relationship was born.
While wading through the trenches of flowers and flavors-- battling over budgets and much more-- this "couple" learned a lot of life lessons. They share their story and some great wedding planning advice in their book: "How I Planned Your Wedding."
Here are Elizabeth and Susan's tips on Mom/Daughter wedding planning:
1. Brides, repeat after me “I’m just so happy to be engaged, I haven’t thought about that yet!”
Elizabeth: Memorize it. Print it out and staple it to your forehead. This one golden sentence will be the shield between you and all sorts of drama when your wedding planning adventure begins. When is your wedding? “I’m just so happy to be engaged, I haven’t thought about that yet!” Who are your bridesmaids? “I’m just so happy to be engaged, I haven’t thought about that yet!” How religious will your ceremony be? “I’m just so happy to be engaged, I haven’t thought about that yet!” How much money do you want from me? “I’m just so happy to be engaged, I haven’t thought about that yet!”
You get the picture. If you answer any of these early-days questions without having a well thought-out plan, you do so at your own peril. I made the mistake of telling my mom exactly who my bridesmaids would be (and, more to the point, who they wouldn’t be) within 24 hours of getting engaged. When my precious – but very young – cousins didn’t make the cut, my mom practically pulled out a pair of brass knuckles.
Susan: As the mom, you're gonna see right through this ruse. There is only one answer: "Well, young lady, I have been thinking about it since the day you bagged Prince Charming, so leave everything to me. I've got it aaaalll figured out.
2. Remember that any sum of money your mother gives you for your wedding – no matter how small – is a gift.
Elizabeth: It’s very, very easy to feel entitled to family money when you’re planning your Big Day. After all, tradition says that the bride’s side is responsible for the heavy financial lifting. But I don’t care if your mom is a bazillionaire or a full-time volunteer with no income to speak of. If she (or anyone else) helps you pay for your wedding, make sure you show your love and gratitude. It’s a tough pill to swallow – or was for me, anyway.
Initially, she said she thought I should be able to plan the wedding for $5,000, which seemed indescribably small against the backdrop of the lavish wedding I had envisioned. I fought tooth-and-nail with her about it, never once stopping to remember that she didn’t have to give me a dime. What’s more, when my very level-headed fiancé put together a modest budget and a well-reasoned request, he managed to talk her up to $20,000 in under 10 minutes and with no bloodshed. Imagine that.
Susan: You'd be amazed at how resourceful and creative people get when you put them on a budget. Those two were rock stars.
3. Do not over-share.
Elizabeth: I call my mom about three times a day. I have this weird compulsion to tell her nearly every detail of my life in real-time. Today, in fact, I informed her of the size and consistency of my dog’s most recent bowel movement.
When it comes to the wedding, though, you need to find a balance of how much information to share. It took me a long time to realize that I would save myself and my mother a lot of headache if I made decisions first, then shared them with her second.
Susan: She has internalized one of life's greatest lessons: "It's easier to apologize afterward than to ask permission."
4. Acknowledge how important this day is for her, too.
Elizabeth: Don’t let your mom feel like a stranger at her own daughter’s wedding. If, like me, you went to college in a different state and don’t live close to your hometown, you’re likely to have a guest list populated with people your mom has only met a handful of times. Make sure your mom has the chance to surround herself with her own entourage of close friends who can cheer her on and dry her tears while she watches her little girl become a new wife.
Susan: Don't you wish there was a fashion-forward way to make everyone at a wedding wear a name tag? Honestly, Elizabeth did a wonderful job putting together opportunities for everyone to mingle. We had a welcome barbecue, a rehearsal party at a Seattle pub, and then there was the reception! I loved her clever idea of setting the table with conversation starters. Everyone loved that.
5. Laugh at yourselves.
Elizabeth: If you catch yourself having a giant meltdown over something trivial – say, a cupcake, or the color of the Spanx you’ve asked your mother to wear under her gown – take a step back. Would you really be flipping out about this in any other situation? No? Then take a breather, give your mom a hug, and have a big laugh. (Afterward, you can resume your meltdown if you must.)
Susan: That's my favorite take-away from this book--the humor. Judging by the reader feedback, this is everyone's favorite part of it.
For more about "How I Planned Your Wedding" visit the website.