One day your daughter could get married. Your son, too. But I’m a daughter, so I won’t speak for them.
Anyway, if they do, there are some things you really need to know about the process.
I’m walking down the aisle in 10 days, so this information is fresh in my mind and I’m happy to share.
Now keep in mind not every bride is the same, so my “tips” may not necessarily apply to your situation. I feel that goes without saying, but I’m warning you now so I *hopefully* don’t get brides attacking me saying “OMG UR SO WRONG.”
So without further ado…
1. Don’t ask them what you can do to help
At least not early on. I know that’s probably the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard. But hear me out: I’m not saying don’t help them. I’m saying don’t ask what you can do to help. Try to be more specific to give her ideas.
Assuming this is her first wedding, she has no clue what SHE should be doing, let alone what you should be doing.
- “Hey, I don’t want to stress you out, so if you want me to back off, just let me know, but if you need help calling a few florists (or makeup artists, venues, caterers, etc.) for pricing, let me know.”
- “Hey, have you thought about an engagement party? Would you like me to throw you one or help you plan one?”
- “Hey, it’s OK to have no clue what you’re doing, and if you need help establishing a list of to-do items and a timeline for when they should be done, I’m here to help. It might help you feel more organized.”
Once she’s got the ball rolling and she says something like, “Oh my gosh, I just have so many things to do!” or “I have so many people to call!” then THAT is an appropriate time to step in and say, “What things? Can I take some of them off your list?”
2. If you commit to helping, complete your task ASAP
Again, it’s different for every bride, but if your daughter is Type-A and must be organized (like me), then it’s a big leap of faith for her to trust someone else with a task, even her own mother.
So don’t be surprised if she asks you a week later if you’ve finished booking that cake tasting or compiled that list of venues to visit. And if you want her to avoid stress, have it done. That’s all there is to it. Just get it done.
The first time she checks in with you and you say, “Oh, sorry, I haven’t gotten to it yet, but don’t worry, I will!” it’s going to cause immediate stress for her. That task will linger in her thoughts and she’ll definitely ask about it again in a few days.
That will likely annoy you because you’ll feel micromanaged, and it will lead to her losing her sh**.
If you want to help but know in advance you’re busy during a certain time frame, try to tell her when you’ll be able to get it done. Assuming you have a decent relationship, she’ll likely understand. It’s about communication.
3. Remember that times change and her priorities may differ from yours
There were very few things I was adamant about when it came to my wedding. But one thing I knew I wanted was a videographer. I don’t think others in my family quite understood why I wanted one.
And it often felt like they thought it was over the top. Maybe so. But if there’s one thing that’s really important to your daughter, try to go along with it – assuming you can afford it or she’s paying for it herself.
It doesn’t really matter if it doesn’t make sense to you. It’s not about you. It’s her day and her memories.
4. Be honest from the start. Especially about finances.
Money is hard. And there’s no getting around it. It’s crazy how a photographer can cost X dollars normally but X-times-10 when you attach the word “wedding” to it.
But again, it’s all about communication. If you can’t afford something, and I guarantee there will be something that comes along with too hefty a price tag, then just say so.
Don’t stress yourself out trying to make ends meet. I’m sure that’s hard because you want to give your kid the world, but it’s going to make you miserable, which will in-turn make your daughter miserable.
Will she LOVE being told “no” to something she wants? Nope. She’ll get over it, and if she wants it desperately enough, she’ll find the money on her own. She can handle it.
Weddings are important and very special but they should never drag a family into debt.
5. Your daughter’s soon-to-be mother-in-law will never replace you
WOW, I’ve been shocked to hear just how common this issue is among my engaged friends.
Look: I won’t sit here and tell you not to be annoyed or frustrated at the other mom. Sometimes you just feel the way you feel. Plus, I don’t know her (or you), and I don’t know what’s gone on between y’all.
But all I’m going to say is this: If your daughter likes her soon-to-be mother-in-law, that is a great thing! We all know the saying that when you marry someone, you marry the person’s family, too.
You WANT your daughter to like her partner’s parents. If she didn’t, she’d be venting to you every Christmas and Thanksgiving for the rest of your life. I doubt you want the same hours-long complaining sesh every year.
So try to see the positive. You could never be replaced. Ever.
6. Don’t tell your daughter she can be selfish on this one day. Unless you mean it.
Look, you don’t have to tell her this! But if you DO, then you better mean it.
If you’re telling her the guest list is entirely up to her but then you aren’t in her corner when conflict arises as a result of her decision, that’s not cool.
Be on her side all the way or be honest from the start. And if you disagree with a choice of hers, let it be known, then let it go. Don’t make me insert a ‘Frozen’ meme.
7. Don’t call her a bridezilla. Ever.
Don’t even joke about it. Don’t even hint about it.