As many of you may know, I’m a mom. As such, I tend to look at weddings from the parents’ – and specifically, the mother’s – perspective. Having four of my children married – two within this last year – more often than not, I watch couples marry off identifying with the teary-eyed mothers and fathers who are giving them away. In the next several weeks, I’ll be telling you my story as a mother of brides. What I did well, what I wish I’d done better, and giving some advice that you Moms out there can hopefully benefit from.
To give you a little background, my husband and I were blessed with seven children – six still with us – three daughters, three sons. My first Mother-of-the-Bride experience was in 2002 when our almost 22-year-old eldest daughter was married. In 2010, our second daughter who was 27-years-old was married. Finally, this past summer, my youngest daughter, 26-year-old Aimee, whom many of you may know as one of our Event Coordinators, was married.
Having been a mother of the bride three times now, you might possibly think I’m an expert. Some women joke that I could do it again blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back. While this is a lovely thought, it couldn’t be further from the truth. My three daughters, though more alike than they like to admit, were so different when it came to planning and ultimately executing their wedding. And that fact made my job as mother of the bride different but equally challenging each time.
After having helped plan my first daughter’s wedding, I thought the second (and most assuredly the third) would be a breeze… definitely not the case. Each bride’s vision is so unique. For the most part, my second and third daughters’ weddings were planned totally by the bride. Mom (and on occasion, Dad) were there to answer questions and pay deposits, but largely, the girls knew what they wanted. Because of this and for the sake of this post, I’d like to focus on my oldest daughter: Jen.
Jen was 21, young, and finishing college during her engagement. She was my firstborn baby, and as a result, I seemed to orchestrate her wedding as a conductor would orchestrate a beautiful ballad. While we talked and shared ideas together, I planned her wedding with efficiency, love, and a heartfelt desire that her wedding be all it should be! She was such an easy bride, and in the end, it was all I’d ever hoped for! Her wedding was before Pinterest and Facebook and the age of innumerable wedding ideas floating all around the web. It wasn’t until years later that my daughter admitted that she wished she’d been more hands on. Having been so young and busy with school and work during her engagement, she hadn’t been as attentive to details that looking back she wished she’d been. Having been to numerous weddings since her own, she grew to wish she’d incorporated some of the fun trends into her wedding that she sees so often now. While her wedding was beautiful and perfect, in retrospect it may have been lacking some of her personalization.
Moms, take great care with your young brides. Those that are a bit older and have been to many weddings (and have a Pinterest account) have ideas for days. It’s those younger brides that may need your help researching vendors and details so that they can concentrate their time researching for their college essays. Your young brides – they need encouragement. Like most brides, the planning overwhelms them. Even more so if they are working or in school full-time. Set aside time to devote just to planning the wedding with them, and be helpful behind the scenes. Not only will you get things done, you will create some once-in-a-lifetime memories as well. There are a million and one things that need to be done, and while there are times she may turn you down, getting the “you’re a lifesaver” smile always makes trying worth it. Ask them questions about what you can do to help, pull from their ideas and don’t just focus on your own. For me, there were times when it was difficult to be the encourager – I’d look at this young woman who was an infant just a moment ago, and here she was – all grown up. That old saying “If we raise them, isn’t it only fair that we get to keep them?” would frequently come to mind.
This time is not only important to your daughter as her life changes; as the mother, you are forging new territory with her. Focus on encouraging her throughout the engagement process. Specifically for those young brides, this is a time of transition where she will learn what it feels like to “leave the nest”.
It is an honor to be able to be the mother of the bride, and I have been so blessed to have experienced this three times. For those of you that will soon be “Mother of the Bride”, I hope you’ve been able to learn something from my experience with my oldest daughter that you’ll be able to use as you help your little girl plan her big day.
If you would like to have your wedding or event at Brandywine Manor House, call or email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610.942.2200.