The 7 Types of Mothers of the Bride
And how to navigate wedding planning with them.
Chances are, you phoned your mother as soon as that ring was on your finger. Perhaps you always dreamed of planning the big day with your mom, and even if you didn't, you're going to want to share how your preparations are coming along. In a perfect world, you both agree serving pie for dessert is a no-brainer and splurging on killer heels is a-ok. In reality, your personalities might clash under pressure. Terri Eaves, owner of Bash, a wedding and event planning firm in Washington, DC., shares the most common types of MOBs (she has seen it all!) and how to avoid driving each other crazy.
The Opinionated Mom
This mom likes to control all aspects of the wedding, from your wedding hairstyle and your fiancés suit, and even your first dance song choice-sometimes you think she's the one getting married because of her need to pipe in on every decision. Perhaps she feels entitled because she is contributing financially, or maybe she just has difficulty giving up control.
How to deal: Tell her that while you value her opinion, the wedding is about you and your fiancé. You want her to be happy, but it can't all be about her wishes. Pick an area, or two, that you're not so particular about. Let her choose the linens or decorate the guest welcome table, that way she can have her own projects and you can focus on more personal decisions, like your hairstyle.
The Financial-Supporter Mom
This mom (or any parent) is paying for all, or most, of the wedding. Since she is paying so much, she feels that every decision needs to go through her, instead of trusting that you'll use the budget wisely.
How to deal: Let her know that you are grateful for her support. You certainly would not be able to afford as many bells and whistles without her contribution. If you feel like she's hijacking a lot of the decision making, be honest and tell her that you feel like she is planning her own wedding instead of respecting your choices as a couple. You'll have to find a middle ground, so pick your battles wisely.
The Center-of-Attention Mom
This wedding is not about you, it's about her! Her dress is more important than yours and she wants the makeup artist to stay on-site the whole night to make sure she looks her best.
How to deal: Honesty is the best policy here. Tell her that you feel hurt by her diva attitude and she'll probably back off, at least a little. If you feel like talking about her self-centered behavior will only rile her up, ask one of her close friends to step in as a neutral mediator. Those faced with a look-at-me MIL need to have a serious convo with your partner who is more apt to dealing with her without putting you in an awkward situation.
The Apathetic Mom
This mom is happy with any decision you make. She is along for the ride but doesn't voice her opinion or act super excited when something is checked off your to-do list.
How to deal: Congratulations, you've won the MOB lottery. Just because she doesn't chime in on your debate between the difference in cream and beige gown fabrics, doesn't mean she doesn't care. It's not that she's not excited for you, she probably just trusts that you'll make the right decisions. Instead, seek advice from other close friends and family. To spark some wedding planning motivation, try a bit of nudging. Invite her to a cake tasting and once she sees how fun planning can be, she may step up her game.
The (Not So) Apathetic Mom
This mom seems like she is not interested in the wedding planning until something is officially done. She'll say something like, "Oh, I would never put a fern-leaf in a bouquet." Her comments may seem a bit passive-aggressive or she may seem fine with your choice upfront, but then gripe to your aunt how she would have done things differently.
How to deal: This is one tough mom to plan with. Your best bet is to check in with her as the planning processes. If she says something like, "As long as you're happy," you know she may not be completely truthful. Explain to her that you value her opinion and honesty is appreciated.
The Budget-Conscious Mom
You've always admired your mom's coupon-clipping prowess until she suggested you buy fake flowers to make centerpieces. Some people are just born with the penny-pinching gene, even if they have money to spend.
How to deal: You may run into two scenarios: the mom who graciously contributed to your wedding planning, only to watch you like a tax attorney; and the mom who sighs any time you even glance at something beyond everyday prices. The key to keeping peace in both cases is explaining the value of your purchases. Invite her to a caterer tasting so she can appreciate (and dream) about those smoked-salmon lollipop apps; or, list all the other times you'll be able to wear your fun wedding shoes.
The Splurgy Mom
Hooray! Her little girl is getting married and it's going to be the best wedding, ever-no matter the cost.
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How to deal: While this type of mom sounds dreamy, be ready to curb her enthusiasm before she puts you (and herself) in debt. Having a personal cheerleader who wants only the best for you is great, but you also need someone who understands reality and can be rational (no, you do not need a ten-foot train). Let her know that the expense or extravagance of things is making you nervous and isn't in-line with your personal style as a couple. If she's itching to spend, let her pour her resources into things that matter, like an awesome photographer, not a caviar bar.