Weddings have become increasingly personal over the last few years. Couples are ditching tradition and infusing their personalities into every element of the day in an effort to plan a celebration that is uniquely theirs. But with all of this progress, your mom can sometimes feel left in the dust—confused, overwhelmed, and maybe even angry about the way you've decided to forgo tradition (who knew table numbers were so wrought with subliminal messaging!). If you're in the throes of conflict, fear not. We spoke to wedding planners Shannon Leahy and Jaclyn Watson and asked them to give us the heads-up about a few things that scare your mom, plus how to deal when it happens.
The Freak-Out: An Informal Dinner
Many couples opt for a free-flowing reception with dinner stations scattered throughout the room and unassigned or unique seating. "We find our couples want a mix of tables for their guests to sit at and love this!" says Watson. "However, we also see Mom and Dad looking at the designs and saying, 'Why not just use all rounds?'"
The Fix: Give Her Something to Visualize
If the eclectic furniture or a nontraditional floor plan is throwing your mom off, Pinterest is your best friend. What you see so clearly in your mind could be hard for her to visualize. Beyond that, assure your parents that there will be designated seating reserved for VIPs and those who need it most, like grandparents, guests with small children or infants, and anyone else who would be more comfortable partaking in the festivities from a seated position.
The Freak-Out: Not Wearing White
Maybe you're just not a white wedding dress kind of woman. Or maybe you first thought you were, but ultimately fell in love with something bolder. Whatever the reason, more and more brides are hopping on board with the trend of colorful gowns and it can be a tough pill for Mom to swallow.
The Fix: Choose a Classic Bridal Look for a Different Party
The pre-wedding process is a time full of celebrations. Engagement parties, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners—you name it. Use these gatherings to your advantage and select one to wear a more traditional look—perhaps even something you and Mom have chosen together. "At the end of the day, the most important word when it comes to keeping people happy during the planning process is compromise," says Leahy. By using one of your pre-wedding events as a platform to honor Mom's vision of her little girl's big day, you're ensuring that you'll feel your best on your big day, and Mom won't feel like she's missing out on a tradition near and dear to her heart.
The Freak-Out: Quirky Ceremonies
"We've seen a trend to make ceremonies a little less formal," says Leahy. "We had a bride and groom do a 'vow-off' where they went back and forth with hilarious promises. We've had scripted objections where audience members pop up to object to the ceremony. We've had bridal parties dance to upbeat songs down the aisle and we've also seen beautiful spiritual moments." While any one of these options might be perfect for you, it could leave Mom a little perplexed.
The Fix: Give Her a Chance to Get Used to the Idea
If you talk to your mom about your interpretive dance vows and she's none too pleased, Leahy says to give her a few days to get used to the idea before discussing it further. "Everything comes into perspective after you've had a few days to sleep on it, but hurtful words said in rash moments can have lasting effects," she says. Once things have settled, invite your parents to take part in the ceremony planning process by suggesting readings, stories, or other words they think would be meaningful to share. If they really can't get on board, there's always the option to hold a private, traditional ceremony on a different day where only immediate family is present. It a small gesture that won't affect your big day and could mean a lot.
Whether it's the venue, the clothing, or even the food you've chosen to serve, Leahy leaves us with one final piece of advice that applies to any sticky situation: "If you want to do something non-traditional for your wedding, be thoughtful and reflective about why it is important to you and share the meaning behind it with your families. Sometimes how you frame an idea is everything and if your loved ones understand the heart behind the matter they will be less likely to cling to tradition for traditions sake." Watson echoes this sentiment with encouraging words for anyone who's struggling to get on the same page. "With each family dynamic that we have encountered the family has come together wonderfully and it all comes down to what the couple wants on their big day and embracing the journey of their marriage!"