As wedding planners, we are very involved with the couple during the wedding planning process, but quite often we get to know one or both moms as well, particularly when there is a mother of the bride. We know that being the mother of the bride can be a big role, so to help all the moms and motherly figures out there that have a bride-to-be, we interviewed some mothers of the bride we have had the pleasure of working with to get some real advice about maintaining a good relationship with the bride, how having a planner was beneficial, and things they want other mothers to know.
We started with Laura C by asking how involved she was in the planning of her daughter’s wedding day as mother of the bride:
“I was very involved in all the planning for my daughter’s wedding – that’s partly due to our close relationship but also because she is the idea person and I am the one that ‘gets it done’. We’ve been like this ever since she started hosting big gatherings in high school and beyond. I had also assumed responsibility for paying for most of the wedding, so I wanted to make sure that we were keeping track of costs and making worthwhile decisions. I didn’t always have my way on that….”
We then asked Laura what ultimately led her to decide to get help from Keyed Up Events for the wedding. She had a lot to explain about the benefits of working with a wedding planner:
“Both my daughter and I have experience organizing and managing large events. So when her friend (a wedding planner) offered to help us, I thought it was mostly to keep my daughter motivated to get things done. However, as we got more involved in the planning, we realized the incredible level of detail we were having to work with. And when that friend announced she was pregnant and couldn’t help us anymore, we found Dana. It was definitely a joint decision to have her help. Having a planner kept us on track, removed some of the emotion from the decision-making, and saved us over and over again on large and small decisions that we might have struggled to make (but which Dana had handled many times before). I also realized that without help, I would not be able to enjoy the day nearly as much as I eventually did. There were quite a few last-minute “glitches” that were calmly solved by Dana that would have sent me over the edge without her calm touch. I would never tackle an event that big again without professional help.”
Following Laura’s interview, we were given the opportunity to talk about some things with her daughter, Lia. We asked Lia if having help with her wedding helped her maintain a better relationship with her mom while planning and through the day. This was her point of view:
“Having professional help planning our wedding definitely helped my relationship with my mom throughout the whole process. We were constantly on the same page, knew what each other was doing, and what the Keyed Up Events team was working on as well. There are SO many moving parts when planning a wedding. Having someone I could talk to about every/any aspect, outside of our family was crucial in allowing my mom and I to enjoy the planning process and the day of. In many ways, a bride’s big day is just as special to her mom and allowing her to enjoy it is a gift. My mom and I are already extremely close, but having someone else who had ‘our backs’ made everything more enjoyable and relaxing.”
We then interviewed Tammy D and asked her for her three best pieces of advice for a mother of the bride to help maintain the relationship. Here are her helpful tips:
“First of all, it is THEIR wedding. Let them have the wedding they want, not what you want. Even if you are paying for the wedding, you need to let them make the major decisions of how they want it to be and not dictate how it will be because you are footing the bill.
Next, ask how you can be of help, instead of constantly asking if they have done the things on their list.
Finally, hire a wedding planner if you can afford it. It was the best money we spent. Not only was she able to suggest the best vendors, but she would also contact them, and set up the meetings. She was able to keep the couple on task. Making them responsible to her and not to the mom! That helps in saving the mother/daughter relationship. She helped us save so much time because she would give us three suggestions per vendor and in the end, we would say which one would you pick for us and she always nailed it. I think she also helped us save money because we weren’t chasing our tails constantly and she knew our budget and was able to find vendors that stayed within that budget.”
We followed up by asking Tammy how she was able to work with her daughter on the wedding and still come out of it with a great relationship (because we all know weddings are full of emotions). She responded very truthfully by saying:
“To be honest, it was very difficult and wasn’t always fun. My daughter and I approach things very differently. I’m a ‘let’s get it done’ kind of person and my daughter is more of an ‘it will all work out, no need to hurry’ kind of person. We also have different tastes, which can be hard when making decisions. It is a fine line when you are paying for the wedding, but need to let them have the wedding they want and not what you want. I realize now that I didn’t always handle things the best way and would end up frustrated. I’d try to back off and let things go, but that didn’t work either. There were other factors, like Covid and our different views and approaches with the two different families. We had lots of hard talks, but we do love each other a lot and value each other, and didn’t want anything to damage our relationship so even though there was hurt on both sides, we forgave and moved forward. When the wedding finally came we were all able to enjoy it and have our relationship restored.”
Tammy already had one daughter who got married where they did not use a planner, so we wanted to know why did she suggest getting one for Abby:
“Our first daughter was married in the town where I live and I could ask friends, and just knew people to use as vendors. When the kids got engaged, wanted a 6-month engagement, and be married in Minnesota, I knew I didn’t have the resources or know of any vendors. I had talked with our daughter about hiring a wedding planner and she thought it was a great idea. We all met Dana on a Zoom call and she went over who she was, and what she could do for us. She gave us three different plans and didn’t push anything on us. After the Zoom call, we all talked and decided we didn’t need to talk to anyone else. We had found our wedding planner and we wanted/needed the full package. She was always quick to answer our questions or call back very quickly. She never got stressed or frustrated with us. She helped talk me off the ledge a time or two as well. She was also so patient with the couple when they weren’t getting things done that needed to be done. She gently guided/pushed them and it all did get done.”
Laura had some general advice to other mothers of the bride:
“Line up your venue as SOON AS POSSIBLE. Almost every other decision we made had to flow from the availability (date, time, location) of the venue.
Pick the best vendors you can afford (food, photos, DJ, and flowers especially). Knowing those important things were being handled by really great vendors reduced our stress and made for an amazing evening.
Be very thoughtful with the guest list. It is really easy for the size of the list to balloon and get filled with people that may not really matter to the bride and groom. The guest list drives so many decisions (and costs): the size of the venue, costs of food and beverage, and more. In the end, the bride and groom were surrounded by the (175) people that meant the most to them.”
Laura also took advice from other mothers of the bride she had spoken with:
“For those of us used to working with things on paper, make a binder with ALL the contracts, agreements, schedules, lists, etc. We had copies of much of it online, but it was incredibly helpful to me to go to vendor meetings or walk-throughs and have everything for the wedding in one place and readily accessible. I also kept a spreadsheet of which vendors needed to be paid when and how much, which I referred to many times. I don’t know how I would have kept track otherwise.”
We are beyond thankful to have worked with so many amazing mothers of the bride over the years! And to any bride-to-be or mother of the bride reading this, here are some wise words from Laura’s daughter, Lia, “Do yourself, and your mom a favor, and run (not walk) to book with Keyed Up Events!”