Do you take your daughter, the future bride, and promise to love her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, as long as you both plan for this wedding?
Then, with the power vested by the engagement, you are now pronounced Mother of the Bride.
Weddings are both exciting and stressful, too, for just about everyone involved, including the mother of the bride. There are plans to be made, large sums of money being spent, and what about that seating chart?
Don’t even go there.
Not to mention that you’re essentially saying goodbye to your little girl.
“It’s an emotional time for a lot of moms,” said Jaime Hrubala, associate wedding planner and coordinator for Down the Aisle Wedding Planning & Design in New Hartford. “It symbolizes your daughter has come into her own and is starting her own life. That’s a huge thing especially for moms.”
Dawn Tanner would know. Jillian, the oldest of her three daughters, is getting married in August and the Newtown resident is in the thick of preparations. She’s a first time MotB and said that so far it’s been a mixture of nerves and joy.
“We were thrilled when they got engaged,” Tanner said. “It was very exciting, but then I got nervous and thought, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know how to do a wedding, where do I begin?'”
To avoid getting mired in the details, she and her daughter hired Hrubala. “We thought it might take the anxiety out of the planning process. There are a lot of moving parts and pitfalls to cope with, so to me, it’s worth it.”
Hiring a planner has allowed them to spend more time concentrating on the fun stuff, like picking out venues and shopping for her daughter’s dress, about which Tanner has advice: “Make sure everyone has had coffee, breakfast, and a good night’s sleep. It’s a lot of work and it took quite a few outings.”
As the MotB, Tanner said that she’s done her best to accommodate her daughter’s wishes and needs without interfering, because she recognizes that the wedding day belongs to the bride and groom.
“Attitude is everything. You have to be flexible, supportive and have an open mind,” she said.
That’s important, according to Hrubala, who said that a wedding should always be a reflection of the bride and groom’s personality and that on the big day the guests get a sense of who they are as a couple.
But it doesn’t always work out that way.
“We’ve seen our share of helicopter moms,” she said, “They need to be consulted on every aspect of the wedding. We’ve seen moms overstep the bride and groom and take matters into their own hands because they are paying.”
To avoid some of the more common pitfalls, Hrubala suggests that mothers and daughters establish ground rules at the onset and communicate about expectations. She also recommends that moms wanting to be involved approach their daughters and ask what they need or offer to take on certain tasks, while keeping in mind that any help should be given from the heart and without strings.
“Look at it as an opportunity to provide support and assistance to your daughter and future son-in-law,” Hrubala said.
No less important is the mother of the groom, who is frequently just as involved as the MotB.
Typically, because they are soon going to be family, the respective moms are friendly with one another and often collaborate on everything from wedding tasks to coordinating dresses, said Hrubala.
“We see a lot of moms who know each other pretty well,” she said. “And they talk to each other as the process is going on. Some moms even go together to shop.”
Not a bad idea considering that once the bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses have been chosen, the MotB’s and MotG’s dresses are the next logical items on the checklist.
Jim Cicerchia, visual merchandising manager for Lord & Taylor at Westfarms mall in Farmington, said that their search should start roughly six months prior to the wedding in order to get the ball rolling.
“If you’re having a June wedding, you want to start looking at the beginning of the year to get an idea of what’s out there,” he said and then suggested a few things to keep in mind when choosing.
The first is to figure out what kind of wedding it’s going to be; day, night, casual, semi-formal, or black tie.
If it’s a casual, day wedding, Cicerchia suggests wearing a knee-length dress, in a lighter shade. For semi-formal weddings he recommends wearing a cocktail or tea-length dress with a bit of shine or beadwork. And for formal, black-tie weddings, floor-length is a must.
He also recommends getting feedback on what to wear from the bride and groom, who may not have a preference, or who might want everyone to coordinate.
And what shouldn’t you wear?
“White is still taboo, stay away from wearing white,” he said. “You don’t want to outshine the bride.”
Tanner hasn’t picked out her dress yet and overall seems pretty relaxed about what she’ll wear to her daughter’s wedding. “I’m not too worried about the dress, it’ll be fine” she said, and then added, “Hopefully it won’t be like bathing suit shopping.”