Moms and Maids

Advice for new MOB?

My daughter just got engaged.  She lives in a Southern city and plans to have the wedding on Cape Cod.  I live in Massachusetts.  I love my future son-in-law and couldn't be happier about their engagement.  I know that some stress and perhaps friction is inevitable but I'd like to do my best to be helpful and not become intrusive or annoying.  
I would love to hear your advice or tips about ways to be the best MOB I can be to support my daughter and help make it the day of her dreams.
Thanks!

Re: Advice for new MOB?

  • edited December 2012
    Congrats!

    What is your relationship with your daughter like? The two most common scenarios on this board are:

    1. Brides complaining that moms are being overbearing and manipulative drama queens who are seeking to make the wedding about themselves;
    2. Brides complaining that their moms aren't interested in their weddings and that no mother-daughter bonding over the wedding planning is occurring

    I would say to follow your daughter's lead. If she asks for your advice and input, offer it. If she doesn't, don't say anything.
  • Be supportive of her ideas but not a push over (if something is plainly rude or out of budget you can tell your daughter you think so) 

    Be mindful of your guest list. Perhaps the best thing I have to thank my mom for is limiting how many family friends she's tried to push onto the list (our venue only fits 100 so it's a tight fit with our friends and family) She remember how much she hated having a guest list of people only her father knew and so said she'd rather us invite people we wanted than those she wanted.

    Other than that, offer advice when asked and be incredibly happy for your daughter and FSIL :)
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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    edited December 2012
    Congratulations on the upcomming wedding!

    When my daughter started planning her wedding, my husband and I gave them a generous check to put toward her wedding budget. It was our gift to them, no strings attached. We stayed in the background, while my daughter and her fi planned a wedding that suited their style. Occasionally, they bounced an idea off us, but most of the decisions were made by them, without our input. There was minimal friction between us and the wedding was perfect.

    If you will be shopping with your daughter for her wedding dress, be supportive of her decision. Forget about your vision of what your daughter should wear on her wedding day and follow her lead.

    Hang around, here. You will learn a lot from the brides and moms that post on this board.
                
  • As a daughter I will say do not try to recreate your wedding or the wedding that you would like to have had.  Let your daughter and FI plan their wedding.  I had to stop talking about my wedding with my mom because every suggestion was what she did in the early 1970s right down to trying to push her cake topper that she had saved on me.  I wore her veil only because she was so crestfallen (after insisting I at least try to get into her dress) to see that her 35 y/o 5'7" 160 lbs. daughter could not get into the dress she wore at 25 y/o 5'4" 100 lbs.
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  • OP, you sound like a fabulous MOB already. I would just suggest to be upfront about what/if you plan on contributing to the wedding and if there are any things that 'must' happen if you do contribute (ie- you want to invite 5 couples, etc). Not that these are strings attached to the money, but it's better to be upfront about what is expected on your end. 

  • Hi OP, I am a 3 time MOB and I do truly hope you have a wonderful experience with your DD as she plans her wedding.  You have gotten great advice already - don't crowd the guest list with your friends, don't plan vicariously through her, and don't push things on her that she may not want (like cake toppers and other things from your wedding).

    One thing I really encourage you to do is be open minded!  Back in our day you would have never seen BM's with dresses that didn't match identically.  They were practically clones of each other.  Now it is common (and quite wonderful in my eyes) for brides to choose a designer, color, and length and then let the BM's choose the dress that flatters them the most.  I love this trend.

    Back in our day you would have never seen a guy stand in the bride's wedding party or a girl stand on the guy's side in his party.  Now it is quite common as brides and grooms choose their closest/nearest/dearest based on who they are and not what public bathroom they must use.  Another trend I love.

    I'll just give one more example of something more common now than 30 years ago.  Each side of the wedding party doesn't have to have the same number of people.

    You may be very familiar with all of this from attending weddings but we have girls who come here with mom's who are throwing fits about these things.

    Be open minded, have fun, let them make their plans, and enjoy the ride.  I can't tell you how special it was to help each of my girls plan their weddings.  I hope you have the same wonderful experience.
  • Smile and nod.

    Just kidding (sort of).  I adore my mother, but dress shopping (the only wedding thing that I've done with her besides show her some pictures on Pinterest) was making me want to shake her.  Two of my BMs were there, too, and both told me later how impressed they were because I never flipped out on her.  Any time someone would ask me a question, she would jump in to answer, even if our answers didn't match.  I almost didn't get to try on the dress that I ultimately chose because she told the consultant that I would only wear WHITE (not ivory, cream, etc.).  She was rude and overbearing and I was horribly embarrassed that she was acting this way in front of my friends. 

    So, my advice is to ask questions without giving your opinions unless you're asked.  The only exception would be if your daughter is trying to do something that might offend guests or is against etiquette; definitely let her know or point her to the etiquette board here on The Knot.  There's a difference between her doing something that you think is tacky or ugly (like a centerpiece that you hate) and her doing something like uninviting guests because her venue won't hold them all.
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  • The primary things that stressed me out with my mother is that she was extremely detached from the wedding,which was not ideal, but I was fine with it.  If she's not interested in frilly things, she's just not interested.  Nothing personal.  T

    he problem became that she had no interest in helping me, but had no reservations about criticizing my decisions, and making assumptions that I was doing things wrong (at one point she embarrassed my FMIL by forcing an invite onto her to a pedicure appt that I knew she wouldn't want to go to for a variety of personal reasons.  I didn't want to embarrass her, but my mother wouldn't hear it, and insisted that I was excluding her, then extended the invite FOR me.  I wanted to die).

    If you do have criticism, or ideas, be gentle about it.  Making wedding decisions can be overwhelming and stressful to the bride, and she's probably been trying to please everyone.  Knowing her mother doesn't approve of her very best efforts can be hard to take emotionally.

    And finally, be VERY considerate about the guest list.  I ended up crying multiple times because the mothers on both sides HAD to have so-and-so there.  There wasn't any room, and we didn't have the money.  But these people we didn't know just HAD to be there.  Your friends do not need to be at the wedding.  I know you want them there, but they don't need to be there at the expense of the bride's and groom's friends.  Hard to take, but true.  It's their wedding, their friends take precident.  If you choose to push this issue without compromise, you will cause a lot of misery.

    Don't make me mobilize OffensiveKitten

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  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    I am a MOG and the best advice I got was to minimize conflict whenever and wherever. It is their wedding and they may make crazy decisions, but just let them unless the result will be catastrophic. One example was the bride chose lavender centerpieces for a room with bold gold, red, and navy walls and decor. Not the wisest decorating choice, but so what. Have fun and good luck.
  • In Response to Re: Advice for new MOB?:
    Mercedes, the wedding doesn't have to match the venue. Think of the last ten weddings you attended.  What color was the carpet at the reception? The guests don't notice that.  Neither should the bride. 
    Posted by RetreadBride
    It doesn't have to match, but you also don't want it to clash.  One of the venues that we almost conisdered had horibbly ugly carpets (not a big deal) and wall colors and decor along with it  that all looked cheap and gaudy.  The photographs of another wedding shown on their website were mostly extreme close-ups of people and tables so that you wouldn't notice how badly everything looked together.

    Nine times out of ten, I would never notice the venue colors...but if they're bright or a focal point of the room, I will.
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  • PP's have offered great advice.  I just want to add that I recommend tossing out any predetermined ideas you have about what has to go on at a wedding reception or prewedding parties.  My mom for example, was up in arms when she found out we will not be doing grand entrances at the reception, and we are not doing the bouquet or garter toss.  She also thinks I'm nuts for not making my bridesmaids go dress shopping as a group, because according to  her, I'm supposed to be building comradery among everyone.  She also for some reason thinks it is ok to tell people my clothing size for the bridal shower in case they want to buy me lingerie.  I had to sit her down and tell her that just because she sees things on TV or movies doesn't mean they are wedding or prewedding requirements, and that skipping all of these doesn't break any kind of etiquette rule and doing or not doing them is completely optional.  She doesn't seem to really get it still, so I just don't talk to her about wedding details that I don't think she should have a say in (like bouquet toss, entrances, etc.  She is paying for a good chunk of this wedding so she does get a say in other things, but not the find details, especially if what she wants would make me or FI uncomfortable).
  • My mom and I had zero friction during the year we planned my wedding, and it was marvelous.  There was some friction with my grandmother, but my mom stuck up for me and what I wanted - which was a huge help.

    IMO the way to be the best MOB you can be is to keep your focus on your daughter having the day she wants.  Within reason of course; if she's doing something really tacky or rude see if you can change her mind.  But if it just isn't the way you would have done it keep it to yourself (I know for me a lot of these decisions were hard enough b/c I'm indecisive, if people start introducing doubt it could just spiral...).

    And while my mom wasn't overbearing at all she was SUPER helpful (wedding was in my home town; H and I lived an hr+ away).  My parents hosted and paid for everything; so as we made decisions she was the one to actually go back to the vendors with deposit checks and sign contracts.  Even if you're not paying I imagine being so much closer to where the wedding is it may be helpful if you can do some of those face-to-face errands.

  • Thank you everyone for your very thoughtful advice, wisdom and words of encouragement.  You have really helped give me greater clarity & peace about my role!  I expect I'll refer back to this thread now & then over the next few months to help me stay focused.  Thanks again!
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