8 etiquette questions for the mother of the bride
Every mother has a vision of how her daughter should look as a bride, and it is no surprise that moms are usually a great help in helping the bride plan her wedding. All the way from being a part of her shopping entourage to supporting her with making vendor decisions and other important details, they are an indispensable presence.
However, it isn’t always smooth sailing. Unless you are a regular society bee, or have had another child get married in the recent past, it may be time to brush up on the etiquette rules you should follow for your daughter’s wedding.
So, this article is dedicated to all mothers of brides out there. Join us to find out all you need to know about your role in your daughter’s lifetime celebration.
Do I have to stick with the tradition of choosing my dress first and tell the mother of the groom what I’ll be wearing?
If you and your family are all about following traditions at your daughter’s wedding—Yes! The original practice was for the mother-of-the bride to first finish her dress shopping, and inform the mother-of-the-groom about what she would be wearing to the wedding. Then, the groom’s mother would choose a dress that would tie together with this choice, even if it wasn’t too similar. Now, times have changed, and not all people are fond of old traditions. You can always conform to the practice, if that is what you like.
Notify the groom’s mother of the outfit you have chosen for the wedding day. However, be realistic with your expectations. If she isn’t keen on following the practice, let her be. If you aren’t sure of whether your daughter’s future mother-in-law would appreciate you informing her, or whether it would seem to pushy instead, check with your daughter. She should be able to advice you on whether it is a good idea. Or, you can ask her to pass on the details to her future mother-in-law herself.
1.Do I have to ask my daughter for her thoughts on what I wear to her wedding?
Yes! It is your daughter’s day, after all. Although it would be unreasonable of her to dictate your overall look, she may have suggestions on what you could choose to fit the overall wedding party look. Ask your daughter for recommendations on colors and dress styles, and make your pick so that it matches her expectations.
It would be a good idea to choose a color in the wedding palette or one that goes well with the bridesmaids dress colors, though not exactly the same. Either pick a different shade in the same color spectrum as the bridesmaids, or a neutral or complementary color that will work with it. Most couples have a general idea of how their wedding scenery should be, and if you can find an outfit that works well with the theme, you would be doing your bit to make them all the more happier.
2.Are there any styles that I should absolutely avoid?
This again depends on your personal preferences and that of the bride’s. You should be comfortable in what you wear and feel good too. When choosing sexy dresses that are too short, with long slits or ones that expose too much skin, you may first want to get the go-ahead from your daughter. If she is fine with your dress choice, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Instead, if she feels that you should make an elegant and modest choice, or that you may steal her thunder with the way you dress on the day, it is better you rethink your original idea. Remember that you can look glamorous and stylish, but in a way that doesn’t make anyone unhappy with your choice. We think this is the route you should take. The same applies for when your daughter asks you to dress in something that you aren’t comfortable in. Although you should try to meet her expectations when choosing a dress, you should finally wear one that makes you happy too.
3.Should I be offended if the couple won’t take any of my suggestions?
We understand that you may not be entirely happy about the couple not taking your suggestions seriously, especially if you are footing the expenses for the wedding. However, you should remember that this is their special day, and it is a once-in-a-lifetime affair for them. So, prepare to handle it gracefully if your daughter decides not to go with your suggestions. Accept that you are making suggestions, not decisions! It may not be that she thinks they are bad ideas, it could just be that she has other ideas herself that she thinks are better suited for the situation.
So, before you provide any inputs, you may actually want to ask your daughter about what her own ideas and vision is. This way, you will be able to think of relevant and appropriate suggestions, that they are more likely to accept.
Now, for some humor, we think you should head over to this page on the Knot that lists some really crazy wedding planning comments from moms! You may also like to share it with your daughter, if she thinks your suggestions are weird! She may probably ease up a little, once she sees what other moms have been up to!
4.I am not sure the to-be-weds know about our limits to finance their wedding. Is it alright to discuss this with them directly?
If the couple expect you to pay for their wedding, it is only right that you inform them of the maximum amount you can afford to spend. Have a chat about the wedding finances with the couple, so they can plan expenses accordingly. Get this across right at the start and you can save them from being disappointed after booking everything at rates that you cannot afford.
Now, if the couple intend to pay for their wedding themselves, it is best that you do not interfere with their plans at all. If you will be contributing a specific amount to the wedding budget, you can share the amount with them beforehand, so they can plan it accordingly. Or, if your idea is to sponsor a certain wedding expense, like the wedding dress or entertainment, make sure that you tell them what your limit is. This will help you both be on the same page when the time arises.
5.I think my daughter is turning into a bridezilla. Should I do something about it?
You know how the excitement and overwhelming planning stress can get to your daughter and turn your level-headed, pleasant girl into a monster! This does happen to many a bride, and such women put all those around her in misery. From straining her relationship with her partner, to making her bridesmaids miserable, this can cause a lot of damage. As her mother, it is essential that you support her whole-heartedly during this trying time.
Nevertheless, it is also your responsibility to put her in her place and tell her when she crosses the limit. Make suggestions to help relieve the stress, and tell her not to freak out over unnecessary details. Also gently remind her that her friends and relatives need to be treated nicely, and she cannot forego behaving well just because she is a soon-to-be bride. You are the best person to put this across to her. So, take this responsibility seriously and make things better for her and all the others involved.
6.Do I have to take the initiative and reach out to her in-laws?
It is not just customary, but sensible as well, to meet your daughter’s soon-to-be in-laws once she is engaged. Ideally, your daughter and her fiance should set this meeting up. So, wait for them to do this. If you get the idea that they will not be taking the initiative, you can take the first step forward. Talk to your daughter’s partner and find out how you can get in touch with them.
Either invite them over to your home, or plan to meet for tea or dinner at a good restaurant or cafe. If you are comfortable in playing host and inviting them to dinner, it would be a good idea to contact them directly and invite them over. Whether you meet at home or outside, make sure that the first meeting is very casual, and the purpose is to get to know them. Be supportive of your daughter’s relationship with their son, and make the most of this first move by fostering a friendly relationship with them.
7.I would love my daughter to wear my wedding gown, but I am worried it looks dated and may not be her taste. Do I offer it?
Your wedding dress is associated with a lot of fond memories, and it would be a dream come true to see your daughter be wed in the same dress. However, as you have already realized, it may not be the right style or fit for your daughter. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t offer it to her. Just don’t force her into considering it. If you have a great vintage dress, and it is one that matches the theme of the wedding, you may even be doing your daughter a big favor.
Also, there are many talented wedding dress makers who can repurpose a wedding gown into a brand new wedding dress, while keeping the important elements of the original dress alive. This could be by taking the lace from the dress and adding it into a modern silhouette, or simply redesigning the gown to make it modern. If your daughter would like to consider this option, give her full freedom to do what she wants with your gown. You cannot expect her to wear the dress as it is, so don’t feel bad about the dress being taken apart after you agree to let her do what she chooses with it.
There are also options like taking the lace from the wedding dress and adding it to the bridal bouquet. Finally, just remember that whether the bride says yes or no to your dress, accept her decision gracefully and don’t complain about it later.
8.What say do I have in planning the guest list?
If you are sharing the wedding expenses, it is only reasonable to expect that you have a say in who is invited to the wedding. Nonetheless, talk to the couple and find out what type of ceremony they have in mind. Keep that in mind when deciding on who you should ask them to invite. If their idea is a small, intimate wedding, respect their choice and don’t expect to invite all those you want to.
Get a clear idea of how many people you can invite, and then decide upon who goes on the list. If the number is small, make sure that you list those who are most important. As with everything wedding-related, be reasonable with your expectations and nobody will feel hurt.
Weddings are a difficult time, and a bride is lucky if she has a supportive mother to help her meet the various wedding-related challenges. It is a one-time occasion, and she deserves all the support she can have to make it a memorable event in every way. Isn’t this what moms are always there for?
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