Susquehanna Style - Mothers and Brides and Grooms, Oh My!

January 2013

By Susan Moran

Reprinted with the kind permission of Susquehanna Style

Your daughter “said yes!”... Your son “popped the question!” Congratulations – you are now an official Mother-of-the-Bride (hereafter known as MOB) or Mother-of-the-Groom (likewise known as MOG) and your world has changed in the most wonderful of ways! Allow me to send you on this journey with insights as both a former MOB and MOG and as a professional wedding planner.

Likely, you have envisioned this role in your child's life since your early days of motherhood, most certainly comparing it with your own experience as a bride. While the traditional dynamic (the MOB in the lead, as she and the bride work together throughout the planning process; the MOG providing her part of the guest list, organizing the rehearsal dinner, wearing beige and being quiet; the groom simply showing up in a tux on the wedding day) may exist somewhere, today's weddings have departed from the time-honored ways of the past. What is the “new norm?” Simply stated: whatever works. The relationship between the bride and the groom, their specific wedding vision and their respective relationships with their families are the key elements in determining how the planning will move forward. Every wedding experience has its own distinct “planning process personality” and the roles of the MOB and MOG will reflect this.

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The first step is to define and verify your expected part and function from the outset. I strongly suggest that you initiate this by asking for clarification rather than assuming anything. Your participation and involvement are critical to the success of the process. Setting off on the proverbial “right foot” with sincere respect, freely-given assistance and plenty of unconditional love is not only a gift to them, but a gift to yourself. Although the obvious goal is providing everything to fulfill the wedding dreams of the bride and groom, the MOB and MOG are actually laying the foundation for all the holidays and family gatherings in all the years to come.

The next step is to take a moment to explore your own feelings about the wedding experience. In your heart, there may be a picture of this “day of days.” Honor these thoughts and feelings. Emotions - long-held and new, positive and negative - are heightened and must be creatively and constructively handled. Everything will be magnified and you must be aware that this is both extremely normal and totally common. It is how you factor these angels and demons into the mix that is important. At the end of the day, literally your child's wedding day, everyone you (and your child) love and everyone who loves you (and your child) will come together for this one moment in time. Your countenance and attitude will be pivotal to its joyful outcome!

Your MOB-MOG “GPS” is programmed with the“final destination” and “most direct route” to take you there! Here's a list of important things to take:
1. Clear Focus:
Remember what this is all about: Two people met, fell in love, decided to spend their lives together, plan to share a sacrament of this commitment and celebrate this with all those significant in their lives. Two families and “families of the heart” are going to be indelibly joined forever.

2. Reality Check:
There are endless ideas and examples in the media that supposedly define the ”perfect wedding.” When bombarded with this, immediately refer back to #1 and re-focus. This “reality check” will put everything in proper perspective.

3. Team Adventure:
This is an opportunity to bond with your child, members of both families and friends old and new. “Good sportsmanship” should be practiced by all concerned. You are literally a team experiencing an adventure together. Inclusiveness is a fabulous precedent to set. This is about a collection of opinions and talents reflecting the bride's and groom's wedding vision and bringing it to life rather than any territorial considerations of “right” or “wrong.” Go team!

4. Unique vs. Universal:
Remember that although every “planning process personality” is unique to its own wedding experience, hopes and dreams, laughter and tears, and expectations are universal to all weddings, and a very specific set of these feelings are found within each person involved.

5. Management Style:
With 24/7 communication via voicemail, email, texting and conversation, be aware the there is one and only one chance to to have your message correctly received. Words may never be taken back. Always think before you speak...virtually or otherwise.

Enjoy this ever-so-special journey! It will exceed your current expectations and you will cherish your memories forever! Bon voyage... off you go!

One final take-along to make your wedding experience extraordinary are some helpful tips shared from others who have already been on this journey: Becky, Brigid, Debbie, Dee, Donna, Dyan, Joan, Kathleen, Marcy and Sharon! Strokes of Genius:
-Listen, support, release control and stress, step back, respect, and remember that it is the bride’s and groom's day.
-Remember that this day is equally important to everyone, just in different ways.
-Schedule time for special pre-ceremony family moments.
-Have more than one person who knows how to bustle the bride's gown!
-Have a sense of humor!
-Hire a wedding professional in whom you place your full trust. Then turn it all over and enjoy the beauty and joy of the day!

Coulda Done Without: Worry!
Time flying by!
Unhappy feet – wore killer new shoes! Needed to break them in!

Shoulda Done
Relax and realize, really realize, that perfection doesn't exist! Unexpected things will happen. It's the overall outcome that counts.

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