June 22, 2021
Just a little over a week ago, one of my five sons got married. It was supposed to be one of the most beautiful days of his life–and, of mine, as well. For six months, I assured my son, “All that matters is that it is a beautiful day for you two. You guys are all that matter”; but, we–as mothers–cannot deny that we have some skin in the game, too. Just like every sporting event, band concert, or scouts meeting, we sat on the sidelines–not participating in the event–but bursting with love and gratification to watch them do what brought them joy. As a mother of all sons, hopefully I can give you some advice to guide you through this process so that it is a beautiful experience for you, as well in my What every Mother of the Groom wishes you knew.
We are their biggest fans.
- To the Mother of the Bride: Let me love on your daughter. No need to be jealous and controlling. Every mother of a son knows that she is losing a son and you are gaining one. And, if you are a boymomma, like me, you know that you are losing all of your children to some girls family, eventually. No denial here. So, get over yourself–Seriously. Let your daughter show love and affection to her new mother-in-law. If not, you are teaching her to dishonor her husbands mother. This will NOT bode well for the future–and, will only bring the kids pain. For goodness sake, your home is going to be where they spend most of the holidays; you will probably get to be in the room when they give birth to their first child; you will get to spend 90% of grandparent time with our grandchildren. Your daughter is a woman now. Let her out of your psycho death grip. Share your daughter. Period.
- To the Bride: Yes, you are marrying my son, but, you do not get to dictate when and how I talk to him. I have been a part of his life–his whole life. And, most boymomma’s knew their boundaries with their fella’s long before you showed up; they have been leaving us from the moment that they came out of us. You try to overstep and take away the little bit that a mom gets with her son, surely, she will be willing to die on that hill with guns blazing; and you will have sown some heartache that will be very hard to repair. You are his everything right now, but as all married couples know, that gets old real quick; he will resent you for controlling his outside relationships. And, if that didn’t inspire you, know this: it’s very, very mentally and emotionally unhealthy. Psychologists will even tell you that it (alienation) is emotional abuse.
- To the Brides family: If the grooms family pays for half of the wedding–or more than half–it is not YOUR wedding–it is OUR wedding. The grooms family should be privy to wedding planning and communication; share in choices made; get half of the guest invite, so on and so on. If you want to share the expenses, then you have to share the rest, too. If you want to act like this is 1950–then pay the whole darn tab!
- To the Bride and The Mother of the Bride: I do not have to ask you permission before I buy my Mother of the Groom dress. I do not have to get my choices approved by you. Nothin’. Tell me your wedding colors. I will even wait until after the Mother of the Bride has chosen her dress to not buy one just like hers. I will respect the style and formality of your wedding day in my ultimate choice. But, beyond that, it ain’t any of your business!
- To the Mother of the Bride: If you do not intend to invite any of the women from the grooms extended family to the bridal shower, please tell us beforehand so that we can have our own shower.
- To the Whole Darn Wedding Planning Committee: If you are struggling with communication and overwhelmed with planning YOUR wedding, don’t drop a handful of emergencies in the grooms family’s lap at the last minute when you should have involved us from day one. We aren’t the clean up crew. Or, in the very least, be humble and realize that you could have used our help from day one. Just some acknowledgement and appreciation would go along way.
- To the Bride and The Mother of the Bride: Ask yourself “Why is it when the Mother of the Groom offers a suggestion, I only see it as criticism; but, when other people offer a suggestion, I see it as help and support?” Truly, this one is about you–not us. Take a deep look inside.
- To the Mother of the Bride: The day of the wedding is not about YOU; It is about your daughter and my son. But, as I have witnessed, if you make it all about you, all eyes will be on you; and, not in the way that you had hoped.
- To Everyone Involved: Unless the Mother of the Groom has a diagnosed (or undiagnosed) mental disorder or mood disorder that makes large events (such as a wedding) difficult for her to navigate, she isn’t trying or doing anything to sabotage the special day. Give some grace. Give some love. The Mother of the Groom just wants to know that she still has a place in this new life/world. If you show her the honor and respect that she deserves as the woman who birthed the man of the brides dreams, you will all reap dividends!
To conclude, know that we are humans, too. Our hearts are open, raw and bleeding during this time. We have to straddle that weird place of being a bridal party member–a parent, literally giving away their child– while being one of the least important people at the event. And, history has shown, that the bride and her mother usually go out of their way to reinforce that belief. What a beautiful day it could be if–appropriately so–the mother of the bride taught her daughter how to honor her future mother in law through her own actions and choices; gosh, the synergy that could be had–dang–It could be precious.
So, please take this WHAT EVERY MOTHER OF THE GROOM WISHES YOU KNEW and I pray that you spend some time taking it all to heart. It is just one day and being a giver, instead of a taker, can invest one day in a tremendous future!