Although most people are familiar with the term "bridezilla," the concept of a "momzilla" might seem a little foreign. This moniker applies to a mother of the bride or groom who is being extremely difficult, high-maintenance, and trying to take control of the entire event. "A 'momzilla' tries to take over wedding planning, typically because they're the ones paying for it or because they're trying to relive their own wedding experience vicariously through their children," explains Kelly Heyn, wedding planner and owner of SociaLife Event Planning. "It's difficult for the bride and groom to deal with this in addition to the average stress of wedding planning, and a strong personality can cause heated arguments that lead to damaged relationships."
Worried that you have a momzilla on your hands? Here's how wedding planners recommend handling the situation—and keep her in check.
Related: For the Mother of the Bride: 6 Ways You're Making Wedding Planning Difficult (and How to Stop!)
Discuss your budget and vision early on.
Shortly after you get engaged, set aside a time with your family to discuss the budget and overall wedding vision, suggests Heyn. "Most conflicts occur over money and different ideas regarding the wedding style," she says. "If you and your fiancé want a low-key backyard wedding, while your family is hoping for a more traditional celebration, it will be important to hash out these details in the early stages to avoid disputes later." In short: Laying out your plans and expectations early on can help you avoid encountering a momzilla at all.
Warn your vendors.
If you know you have a momzilla on your hands, it's a smart idea to give each of your vendors (at least the ones who will come in contact with her) a heads up. "You don't want her making changes behind your back," says Heyn. You can avoid this by letting your vendors know who's boss (you and your future husband) and that you two should make all final decisions.
Talk it out.
If you and your mom have a disagreement, don't let it simmer! Patti Hastings, owner of P. Hastings Design, recommends talking to your momzilla as soon as issues arise. "Due to the overwhelming stress, weddings can bring out the worst in people. Have that 'heart-to-heart' talk before it gets worse," she says. "If texting or emailing is easier than talking things out, that's fine—just don't shut down communication!"
Related: How to Include Your Future Mother-in-Law in the Wedding Prep Without Making Your Mom Jealous
It's important to set boundaries about the wedding plans. "If you and the momzilla disagree on something, it's good know in advance who gets to make the final decision," says Heyn. "Make it clear that while you will listen and respect other opinions, this is your wedding day and it's important for you to be happy with the choices being made."
Delegate specific tasks.
If you're open to the idea of letting her help in some way, it's best that you make these tasks well known to her. "Momzillas truly just want to be involved in the planning process," says Heyn. "If you assign them specific jobs to focus on, such as hiring the cake baker or making the hotel welcome bags, they will feel more included and will be less likely to try and take over other areas of the planning."
Choose your battles wisely.
As with any debacle involving loved ones, it's important to learn to let go of the small stuff. "The momzilla will have many opinions on colors, music choices, menu, and attire, but try not to make a fight out of each and every one of them," says Heyn. Instead, compromise where you feel comfortable, but hold your ground on the details that matter most to you.