“My mother… she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.” – Jodi Picoult
Day 403: Moms. You love them, you hate them, you love them again. Depending on how we’ve grown up, all of us have a unique relationship with our mothers. And when her baby girl gets engaged, you witness a whole different side of your mother. Take it from me.
I am truly fascinated by what my engagement has brought out in my mother. I honestly didn’t expect so much involvement from such an independent woman who prides herself in growing up as a tomboy.
Let’s take a step back and talk about her wedding. She married my father while she was in her thirties back in 1990. It was a quick engagement and only cost her a few thousand dollars. She picked her dress out of a Sears catalog. She had three bridesmaids who essentially all agreed on matching black dresses from H&M. When her own mother asked how many friends she could invite, my mom answered one. (My mom now looks back on what she put her own mother through and shakes her head.)
Back in the 90’s, my mother planned a quick, simple wedding without help from anyone. Now, 25 years later, she is by my side, helping me plan and organize every last detail of my big day. After Joe and I chose a venue, band, photographer and videographer, I felt bad about not including my mother in the decision making. I asked her to look into accommodations and in just a week, she had visited the closest hotel to the reception venue and lined up an interview for me with the hotel manager. This summer the hotel is going under renovations to become a Four Points by Sheraton, but my mother requested they hold their current price for me since we had asked before renovations began. She’s saved each of my guests $50 in hotel costs and booked a shuttle to and from the reception. She’s on fire.
My mother and father have also been a huge help financially. They’ve given us a few thousand dollars for down payments on vendors. We would have had to wait another 6 months before starting to plan if they hadn’t offered to help.
Unless asked, my mother has been pretty hands-off throughout the wedding planning process. She researches and suggests ideas and I take them into consideration, but she has been very good about not being too pushy.
I invited her to try on wedding dresses with some of my bridesmaids and me and I had braced myself for her to scoff at the ostentatiousness of the dresses and the price tags attached. I was pleasantly surprised when she gave actual input and even said, “that’s not too bad,” when the saleswoman read off the prices. We only went dress shopping twice, but I’m glad we found the dress so quickly, otherwise dress shopping may not have been such a happy experience for us. I was thrilled when we all unanimously decided on one dress and mom put down the down payment, happy to feel included in such a big part of my wedding day.
The one thing she’s asked me to do is wear her mother’s pearl necklace down the aisle. Her mom wore it, she wore it, and my half-sister wore it. But, of course, I bought a dress that I’m not sure will work with the necklace and became sick with anxiety.
Finally, I read an article about a woman who picked out her wedding dress with her mom’s pearl necklace in mind and instantly hated the dress after she bought it. In the article, she ended up buying a different dress and wearing the pearl necklace as a bracelet. Brilliant! I was nervous about discussing it with my mom, but when I told her, she brushed it off and non-chalantly told me sure I could do that. I could wear whatever I wanted.
I’m not saying you should include your mother in every single decision you make, after all, it’s yours and your fiancé’s wedding! Give her just enough to feel included and give her tasks you think she’ll be good at. It’s been really nice to bond with my mother during this wedding planning process. I feel like I am getting to know another version of her that I would never have been able to if I hadn’t asked her for help.