Monday, January 25, 2010

What's a Mother To Do?

Some envision the Mother of the Bride as a crazy woman intent on making every detail perfect for herself...not necessarily her daughter. Others see the Mother of the Bride as a joyous exuberant woman reveling in a day that is special for her too. And, of course there are a number of categories that fall between those that I mention. I recently had an email from a Mother of the Bride, so I thought I would jump into this subject.

Did you know the MOB is technically a member of the wedding party?
Here is a list of her official duties from the The Everything Wedding Etiquette Book: From invites to thank you notes  - All you need to handle even the stickiest  situations with ease (Everything Series).
  • Assists the bride in selecting her gown, accessories, and trousseau
  • Helps the bride select bridesmaid’s attire 
  • Coordinates her attire with the mother of the groom
  • Works with bride, groom, and groom’s family to devise a seating plan
  • Helps address invitations
  • Helps attendants with coordinating the bridal shower
  • Generally assists the bride
  • Occupies a place of honor at the ceremony
  • Stands at the beginning of the receiving line
  • In most instances, acts as hostess of the reception
  • Occupies a seat of honor at the parent’s table

Of course, not all of the above duties will apply or be acceptable or even possible for all MOB's. As a wedding planner, I have seen brides and their mothers disagree in what is some times a power struggle. In those instances, it has been helpful to ask the MOB to assist with certain planning tasks that she can "run with"...within reason of course. Just be sure everyone is on the same page in terms of style, budget, etc. Ultimately, the MOB can be involved in every aspect of planning...if that is what the bride and her mother agree upon. Some specific duties the MOB can also assist with include:
  • Favor selection
  • Invitations selection
  • Plan the bridesmaids tea/luncheon
  • Research attendant gifts
  • Research other programs, menu cards, escort cards
  • Help select wedding day accessories...ring pillow, candles, guest book.
When I was planning a wedding a few years back, the MOB lived across the country and had a lot of hostility towards the bride, the groom, and me. As it turns out all she really wanted was to feel needed and involved. The bride had no real opinions about her invitation, other than some wording, so we told MOB the colors of the wedding, and let her "go to town." She was happy...almost obsessed, and the bride was happy too.

What's the Mother of the Bride to wear?
This can be the million dollar question. Seriously I have seen MOB's show up in gowns more revealing and more dramatic than the,"not appropriate!" However, the styles of dress for a MOB are far reaching and very stylish...gone are the days of ruffly chiffon dresses, sensible shoes, and floppy hats (unless of course that's her thing!)...MOB style has evolved as weddings have. Just a few points a MOB should consider when it comes to attire:
  • The color should compliment the bridesmaids dresses and the colors of the wedding but need not be the same color.
  • Her dress should not upstage or outshine the bride's fire engine red for the Spring wedding, no inappropriate cleavage, etc...Get the picture?
  • Her dress should not be white...unless approved by the bride or called for, i.e. a "white wedding" theme.
  • Her dress does not need to match the Mother of the Groom's (MOG) dress. They should compliment each other in formality, but the colors do not need to match, nor must the styles be the same. The MOB should shop for her attire first and the MOG should follow the lead as far as formality is concerned.
  • She should always discuss her options with the daughter is there is any question in her mind. In fact, make it a fun "girls day" of shopping.
Finally, the MOB should not feel like she needs to shop in formalwear shops or bridal boutiques only. Department Stores and other women's retailers often carry a beautiful selection of clothing that is perfectly suited for MOB attire. The options are limitless. I tell my MOB's to go shop at their favorite specialty store first (provided they carry more formal attire) and then go from there..."remain true to your style and the right dress will be there and you too will feel confident and be radiant on the wedding day."

HIP TIP: As a wedding planner you do not know how many times I have heard Mom's (OK, all female guests, other than maybe Grandma) complain about corsages. No one wants the heavy flowers pulling on their expensive dress or making a water stain on delicate fabric. Consider a small bouquet for the mothers, a single flower, or even no flowers at all (it isn't a rule you know).

What everyone involved in planning a wedding must remember is that this is not only a right of passage for a couple, but it is also a rite of passage for the families. There are many emotions involved and all it takes is a little consideration on everyone's part to make the planning go smoothly.

Happy Planning!


sheila said...

GREAT post!
My mom and MIL were both great during our planning. I was amazed they both behaved so well! lol

Jenny said...

What a fabulous informative post Holly. Gosh, it's too bad you can't syndicate them somehow into a Sunday paper somewhere.

Midtown Girl said...

I am saving this post for future reference - great list darling!!

Rhiannon Banda-Scott said...

Wonderful post :) My mother has NOTHING to do with our wedding because she thinks I am too young. Really sad but what can you do right??

Homesick Cajun said...

My husband's daughter is getting married next month and her Mom has just gone nuts with the wedding! It's turned into the wedding she wants not what her daughter wants, but her daughter is letting her mom have her way...she said she really doesn't care as long as she gets married, she's fine!

Laura@Cowboy Boots said...

i'll have to print this out and keep it as reminders when it's my daughters day!! :o)

The Royal Family said...

what a neat blog!

Finishing checking it out!
The Buzz Brandy

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said...

Great post. My mom and I fought a lot when I was planning my wedding!!

Stopping by from SITS

gayle said...

As the mother of the bride I did all of that and more and tried very hard not to drive my daughter crazy...........but I bought the book and made the lists and checked them twice and She is the type .........that doesn't plan...even though she tried.......she is just the type that does!! I bought my beautiful dress in a dept. store because the ones at the bridal shops looked too old fashioned!! Great advice!!!

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