This month’s advice focuses on the woman that gave birth to us …
My mother is driving me crazy with wedding planning! I’m a very low-key bride but my mom is the total opposite. She’s a momzilla, calling me several times a week, sending me links to wedding articles, even texting me photos of “ideas” she has for floral arrangements and centerpieces. As an added bonus, my mom doesn’t exactly have my taste. While I want a casual, laid-back wedding, my mom is more into a high-glamour, girly theme. To make it worse, my parents are paying for the wedding, so I can’t help but feel vulnerable to her demands. I love my mom, but how do I get her to back off without ruining the relationship? – Libby of Nashville, Texas
Allison: Ok, I’m about to be THAT girl, so bear with me a second. First things first, give your nosy Mom a big ol’ daughterly bear hug and put an extra squeeze in there for me too, because many brides (I was one of them) don’t get the luxury of having their mom with them at their wedding. What a wonderful time this is for you! You have a fabulous partner who wants to spend the rest of their life with you, you get to throw a beautiful wedding with financial help, AND your mother is so excited for you she just can’t slow her roll. First world problems, sister. (End guilt trip.)
With that said, I do know how important it is for a bride to feel like she is attending her own wedding and not her mother’s. It sounds like you two are butting heads conceptually. Planning a wedding is hard and new ideas aren’t always welcome during this “brainstorming phase.” Tell your mom that you’ve got it covered, and you’ll let her know when she is needed. And you WILL need her. Believe me, when there’s only three weeks until your wedding and all you need are solid workhorses, Mom will be there stuffing bazillions of favors (that YOU picked out) and smiling the whole time.
Sara: I come from a family of strong women, so I totally understand your dilemma. When I got married, my mom wanted to be very involved too. Take her out to lunch, and let her know the overall style you have in mind for your wedding. Show her an inspiration board so she can see what you’re going for in a visual way. Then, be very specific on the things that are helpful to you and those that aren’t. Maybe once a week, set aside time to work on wedding planning with mom and let her know that during the rest of the week, you need to focus on work and her texts stress you out. She’s your mom — she’ll get it, just remember to be kind. She just wants to be part of your big day!
Amy: Moms love you and always mean the best when they do the things they do. However, when they are off track, it can be hell. There’s a few options here – you can be the strong-willed adult daughter who stands up to your mom and gets all bridezilla at her, declaring to her that, “It’s my day and I get to make the decisions!” but that probably won’t get you far and strain the relationship. It’s best to be upfront but gentle to your mom. Tell her that you love her help and ideas, but that you also want to put in some of your personality and style into your day. Perhaps compromise and let her decide certain items for the wedding, such as the flowers or centerpieces while you concentrate on one part that you really want, like the dress or the food. Family matters are always tricky especially when money is involved, but hopefully you have a strong enough relationship that you can be honest and straight-forward even when the situation is uncomfortable.
What the MarryThis! team is thinking about this month…
Allison: House hunting, herb gardens, German Chocolate Cake Bars
Sara: My trip to London next month, cherry blossoms and Zappos’ new wedding shop
Amy: Chicago’s warm record-breaking temperatures, fresh-smelling candles and spinach smoothies (don’t knock them until you try them!)
Horrible future mother-in-law? Not sure what budget-friendly means for a city wedding? Tell us your problems and we’ll do our best to come up with a solution. Three minds are better than one, right? Ask MarryThis! is a monthly feature, so send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.