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What's Up Weddings

Whose Wedding?

Oct 10, 2018 03:51PM ● By Brian Saucedo
By Jessica Greensmith
Photography By Bekah Kay Creative

You love your mama, we know it. But something about seating charts and dupioni linens brings out your circus twin, the fire-breathing version of yourself that’s high on drama and scarce on flexibility. Or maybe the elephant in the room is actually your mother. She’s a human cannonball, blasting you with strong opinions, and you’re just the tightrope walker, trying to make it to the church intact.

Wedding planning has a way of making us all a bit crazy. We’re zapped from decision fatigue, strung out on cake samples, and liable to forget that as perfect as this day will be, it lasts a mere 24 hours. You know what doesn’t disappear, though? Your relationships. Here’s our guide to staying sane and caring for the second most important one, with advice for both mom and bride, courtesy of wedding planner Elle Ellinghaus.

Dear Mom: 
Let your daughter shine. “Step back a little bit,” Ellinghaus says. “Let your bride say what she wants and give her opinion. A lot of moms try to make it their day because weddings 30 years ago were so different. But your daughter is a different person; she likes her own things; and as long as she doesn’t want elephants hanging from the ceiling, listen to what she says because she might have some really great ideas!”

Lowball your budget. “Some moms don’t tell their daughters their budget at all, but if you do, go a little bit lower because if you have a daughter, you will go overbudget. If you tell her a little bit lower, you have room to say, ‘You know what, honey, you love these invitations; let’s splurge on these guys,’ and you’ll make yourself a hero!”

Savor the moment. “Take the stress out and focus on the fun stuff,” Ellinghaus says. “That’s when wedding planning becomes what it should be.”

Dear Bride: 
Put yourself in your mother’s shoes. “You have to remember, when your mom is acting kind of crazy or getting on your nerves, it’s out of love,” Ellinghaus says. “Once I became a mom, I understood it so much more. She wants your day to be perfect.”

Give her stuff to do. “If your mom is paying for your wedding, you need to give her some say in it, whether it’s the guest list or even letting her pick a few things. Like, ‘Hey, Mom, I’d love for you to be in charge of the band. I’d love for you to think of a signature drink for us. Help me come up with my color scheme!’ Give her responsibilities to: a) keep her occupied and b) make her involved so she doesn’t have to overstep to be involved.”

Make her feel special. There are a ton of ways you can give your mom extra love on your big day: displaying her wedding photo, dedicating a thank you to her in the program, giving her a rose during the ceremony, toasting her during the reception. “But my favorite is when the bride plays her parents’ wedding song—I’ve only seen it once or twice,” Ellinghaus says. “On this day that is devoted to the bride and groom, it gives the mother-of-the-bride two minutes in the spotlight. That’s brownie points for life!”

Dear Everybody: 
Consider a planner. “I get to be the bad guy and the middleman and the tie-breaker and the therapist when [mom and bride] both want to talk about things, but not necessarily with each other,” Ellinghaus says. “I also do most of the planning, the design, the behind-the-scenes stuff, so I leave the fun stuff for them, which takes the stress out right there…The less that goes wrong for your wedding or during the wedding planning, the more people get along.”

What about  your mother-in-law?
Keep her in the loop. “You don’t want your mother-in-law to come to the wedding feeling like she has no idea what it’s going to look like or what’s going to happen,” Ellinghaus says. “It’s nice to share details with her, so she feels included.” Here are a few ways to involve her in the planning process:
• Invite her to a dress fitting
• Organize a fun night with both moms to assemble hotel boxes or stuff invitations
• Cover her hair and makeup
• Help her plan the rehearsal dinner
• Take her out to lunch and update her on your latest decisions

If your mother-in-law gets overzealous, don’t be afraid to involve your groom. Make sure he understands your boundaries, so he can help manage her involvement. Along those lines, if you don’t want her opinion, don’t invite it. “Instead of asking, ‘What do you think?,’ tell her what you’ve decided and how much you’re excited for it,” Ellinghaus says.