As usually happens, with all the focus on the happy bride, the mother of the bride’s absolutely central supporting role is often overlooked. As nerve-wracking and confusing as it is to be a bride on her own big day, spare a thought for the mother of the bride who experiences a plethora of discombobulating emotions herself ! The skills involved in wedding management may seem daunting and put you into a tailspin: financial wizardry, project management, complete unflappability, high-level diplomacy and unlimited patience, but though you want to do the politically correct thing in all spheres, it’s worth taking lots of deep breaths and having a broad repertoire of conciliatory remarks to ensure there are no big fall-outs on the day and you are not left with a lot of egg on your face.
The mother of the bride probably has the most important place in the wedding; it is her job to support the bride, to assist in finalising the wedding plans, to entertain the guests, and much more. I present to you a few pieces of advice to ease your way into the process.
For those who are just now embarking on the mother of the bride (MOTB) experience, they say it’s a part of parenting. No matter how many books you read, you’re never really prepared.
So, here are a few things which even Dr Benjamin Spock will not tell you about:
Who Is the bride?
Newsflash: Brides no longer want to do just as they are told – they have a mind of their own! So even if you and your husband are footing the bill, do NOT expect that you will have ultimate decision-making power, as you have always had when planning events for which you wrote cheques. Do not forget that your daughter is the one getting married, not you. Crude though it may sound, you will actually be putting your money where her mouth is.
Take it easy, do not work yourself up to a lather as you do not want to become too much of a dominant force behind your daughter’s wedding planning. Remember your daughter may have been planning her wedding day for years and have a fixed idea about EVERYTHING. You are there to facilitate her dream. You feathered your nest for your little one but it is her day and you are there to help her, not to push her into Bridezilla mode.
Now who’s this guy giving his opinions?
You had fantasised about creating the perfect, magical event for your bride-to-be darling daughter.
Imagine your surprise when an outsider – the groom, actually ! – is weighing in with his opinions. In your excitement, you had overlooked that your little angel is not the only person getting married! And – guess what? – You cannot just ignore his input, as it is glaringly apparent that your daughter is now part of a team.
Because of their mutual love and respect, she will consider his feelings – maybe even over yours. And though you may not take too kindly to this intrusion, it’ll do you good to gracefully accept this huge – but inevitable and healthy – swing in loyalty.
Say yes to her choice of bridal dress
One of the most fun and memorable of MOTB activities is shopping for the bridal dress. Of course, you have a vision of how you want your daughter to look on her wedding day, but then, so does she. So what do you do when it comes down to two final choices — both within the budget — and one is so gorgeous it moves you to tears, but your daughter is over the moon about the other one? Simple. But not easy. Bite your tongue. Clamp a hand over your mouth if necessary. Allow your daughter to have her moment without your little Mother Voice in her head making her doubt her choice. (That was a really tough one!)
Have the money talk
In the initial excited moments of an engagement, your daughter whom you have pampered all her life may think the sky’s the limit when it comes to expenses. I am not saying you need to put a damper on her enthusiasm, but you do need to be clear about your limits. Talk with your husband, then have a sit-down with the bride and groom-to-be to talk about the wedding finances. Be clear about how much you’re willing to spend : Remember, you’re a M-O-M, not an A-T-M.
Know your part and play it well
Remember this: even though you might be paying for her wedding, this is her day and you need to let her be in control. Many brides have major fallouts with their mothers during the preparations as mothers often unknowingly impose their decisions on the bride. Your loving support and assistance is what she needs; give her advice, but let her make the final decisions. She must already be feeling immense pressure; don’t make it more difficult for her over trivial details.
You probably have tons of wedding ideas – from that awesome florist your friend’s daughter used to the wedding theme you saw a picture of in a magazine the other week – and that’s totally great. That said, don’t immediately assume you’ll be taking the reins when it comes to planning the wedding. As a mother, you have raised your daughter to respect you. But don’t expect her to always agree with you. Show her the respect she deserves, and you will be surprised just how capable this person is – and feel so proud. It’s a little mind-blowing but it is a virtual passing of the torch and, for the MOTB, a profoundly moving moment. You have raised a really competent young woman…with great taste! If you allow yourself to go with the flow, you will learn a lot about this grown-up who used to be your little girl and come through it at the other end with an even stronger bond.
Hiring a planner, however, allows you to spend more time concentrating on the fun stuff, like picking out venues and shopping for dresses and jewelley and accessories !
Pick your priorities
There probably are some things you would really love to see, be part of the wedding. Choose a few things (say three) that you really, really want to be on the wedding agenda, and let the bride and groom know about them. Focusing on just a couple of items, the ones that really matter to you, allows you to pick your battles wisely rather than fighting it out nonstop.
Guess who (all) are coming to dinner ?
Be sure to talk to the bride and groom-to-be about their expectations for the guest list. Yes, they might be envisioning a mega-reception filled with hundreds of friends and relatives or they might also prefer an intimate outdoor affair with just a few of their nearest and dearest. Find out what their plans are for the guest list and your contribution to it (and remember, the boy’s parents are going to want to input, too!). Once you know about how many people you can reasonably invite, you can draw up your own guest list and provide it to the groom’s parents. All the significant people in your lives must be invited.
Perfecting the invitation wording
If you’re opting for a traditional wedding invitation, those technically come addressed from your husband’s parents, make sure that they have been shown due respect in the invitation and no feathers are ruffled – it’ll be the right thing to do.
The wedding day beauty treatment
From Botox to de-tanning to liposuction, brides are doing it all to ensure they look their best on
D-day. Yes, these days, the bridal party makes a celebration of it with hair and skin treatment and make-up and, even more important, bonding with the bride in her final single hours. When your daughter invites you to join that sacred space, grab an MOTB bathrobe and dive in. It is a unique opportunity to see her in her natural habitat surrounded by her dearest friends and revelling in the joy of the occasion. So, don’t be a party pooper.
We all know that the wedding day is all about the bride but when it comes to looking fabulous, the mother of the bride is a close second. This is a day that most mothers look forward to from the time their beautiful daughter was just a little girl and every mother wants to look and feel her most fabulous as she greets her guests and takes photos that will last a lifetime. As we age, our skin changes and what once worked in your 20s and 30s doesn’t always work into your 40s and beyond! Here are some tips for creating perfect mother-of-the-bride make-up to have you looking stunning at any age!
Stay true to yourself: You want to be the absolute best version of yourself do not try to be someone else! Stay true to your personal style and don’t stray too far from your comfort zone.
Hire a professional: This isn’t the day to take any chances! For the mother, the wedding day can be just as stressful, if not more, than it is for the bride. Even though all eyes will be on the blushing bride, the mom is the “hostess” of the event. The last thing you want to worry about is doing your own hair and/or make-up on the wedding day. You deserve to be pampered too!
Do a trial run: Once you have found a professional that you feel comfortable with, plan on scheduling a trial run anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks before the big day.
Preparing your skin for the day: As we age, our skin does not turn over and exfoliate as naturally as it did when we were younger and we tend to lose more moisture, both of which can leave skin looking dull and drab. Therefore, the two most important things to remember when it comes to a beautifully smooth make-up application is exfoliate and moisturise! Use a good exfoliating mask or peel the night before, or even the morning of, as long as it is something that you have used before and you know how your skin will react! Follow the mask or scrub with a face oil or serum and then apply a generous amount of moisturiser and let it soak in and don’t forget under the eyes; you may even choose to apply a separate eye cream.
Face: Once your face has been properly exfoliated and hydrated, it’s time to prime! A good illuminating primer will not only help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles but will add just a little bit of luminous glow to your skin. Use a light-medium coverage foundation, as this will give you nice coverage to even out your skin tone. Your skin will look fresh and dewy and will not set into wrinkles. Avoid matte foundations, as these will result in an older/dull look
Eyes: When it comes to your eyeshadow, keep it neutral! I also suggest you that don’t go too sparkly, keep things matte with maybe just the slightest hint of shimmer but not too much! Stick with brown liner and apply close to and even into the lashes and smudge in on both top and bottom , applying a matching eyeshadow on top of the liner to soften the effect even more. Stay away from black and/or liquid liner which can create a look that is too harsh!
Lips: Lip colour is going to be one of the things that you will want to stay most within your comfort zone! If you think you want to try a bolder lip colour try to keep it in the neutral tones and start testing out and wearing different colours a few weeks before the big day! As for touch-ups, you are going to be busy so you don’t want to keep reaching for your bag to reapply lipstick, so I suggest a longwearcolour.
Set your look: You want to look fabulous for hours so, besides making sure that all of your make-up is water-resistant, one of beauty experts’ favourite make-up tip for mature skin is, once your make-up is completely done, spray skin first with an Evian spray which will soften any powder that may have settled in fine lines and wrinkles and instantly soften your make-up without changing your look or taking any make-up away! Just mist very lightly and let dry naturally.
Dress for the occasion
Tears and emotions aside, one of the issues mothers face is the attire they must wear for their daughter’s wedding events. When you’re the mother of the bride, there are some easy rule of thumb to use when selecting your MOTB dress. First, follow the formality and style of the wedding. Second, if you’re not sure, ask! Both the mother-of-the-bride and the mother-of-the-groom should get in touch with each other and the bride. The bride can help you by keeping you in the loop about her wedding dress, the wedding colours, and so on. And while you don’t need to match each other, it’s usually a good idea for both the moms to have somewhat similar styles. You’ll both feel more comfortable if your elegance is in sync.
Be the back-up
Sometimes, wedding guests can be a bit demanding – wanting an extra serving at the reception, extensive face-time with the bride, or letting their ‘talented’ youngster play a solo at the ceremony. You need to help out the bride and groom by being their first line of defence; or if that fails, being their back-up. If guests come to you with complaints, deal with it tactfully by making the guest feel better, and at the same time, without giving in to guests’ pushy pleas. You can also be the go-to person for odd contingencies like a matching bangle was left at home, the lipstick fell out of the make-up bag, someone needs deodorant, the flush in some guest’s room is not working and so on. In all these scenarios and more, the mother of the bride has to save the day. Sometimes, something pops up at the last minute after you’ve done all the planning and arranging. At that point the wedding arrow has left the bow and is on its way to the target; there is no point in chasing it down. If you can fix it easily, do so or forget it. It’s time to just let the plan unfold and ENJOY IT. The arrow has flown.
Memories to last a lifetime
Though the wedding album will capture the momentous occasion for posterity, your most personal wedding memories will not be found on those pages. You will remember the moment you and your daughter both spotted the perfect invitation, hanging out over lunch or dinner between appointments, laughing about what her future children will call you, or dishing about the gritty realities of married life and expectations for the future. If the process is adversarial and argumentative, that is what you will remember. The more relaxed and flexible you can be, the more cherished those memories will be.
Moms usually can’t help being worriers, but you don’t have to go about with this tense smile and distant, frightened eyes which tells the whole world that you are playing out some apocalyptic scenario in your head. So, R-E-L-A-X. Trust me, you will sail through the day without coming unstuck. So, get ready to pop the bubbly and enjoy some unadulterated, high-octane fun time.
By Dr Rumy Agarwal