This column is for grooms-to-be and their relationships with their much-maligned mothers-in-law. The chances are she (and her husband) are going to be footing the bill for this wedding. Therefore, your position is to best grin and bear it.
If there are any particular aspects of your wedding day that you feel strongly about, these should be mentioned in the second breath, right after you’ve told her you’ve become engaged to her daughter. Because as soon as that ring is on your fiancée’s finger, if you don’t tell your mother-in-law straight out that you plan on being involved in the planning, you might as well just let it slide.
You see, she’s the one with the big bucks, and she expects (perhaps has already planned) a certain style in which she intends her daughter to walk down the aisle, as well as how the reception celebration will go.
There is one recourse, and this is where you keep your cool. You calmly point out that you also intend to shell out some big bucks. I have a feeling this will grab her attention. She may be willing to listen to your band preference and your thoughts on a buffet rather than a sit-down dinner.
There are various aspects that fall into the ‘definitely yours’ category, these include:
◆Choosing the best man and attendants
◆The bride’s rings
◆The rehearsal dinner’s venue and menu
Then, there are things that are not even worth the fight:
◆The type and color of the limo
◆The length and color of either mother’s dress
◆The song for the bride’s dance with her father
◆The wedding cake (exceptions: certain allergies you may have; the fact you are a baker)
Mothers-of-brides are susceptible to temporary lapses of insanity (expected, and perfectly acceptable). Chill out, as this too, shall pass. Try not to take it too personally, after all, this woman will be grandmother to your children.
The fact is that many mothers (and their bride daughters) have become weddingobsessed. Be man enough to realize that, at the max, this wedding will involve 10 hours on a weekend day. Your priority should be your marriage to this woman that you love, and your thoughts of spending the rest of your life as her partner.
This thought should help you get through any number of wedding schemes they’ve thought up. Remember, this woman you love is in complete cahoots with her mother— for now. Speaking of mother, how are you going to address your bride’s mother? Mrs. Doe seems too formal; Mary, too casual. Mrs. D? Mother Doe? That will be the subject of another whole column.
John Sullivan has a fine arts degree from Kansas City Art Institute. He has partnered with Ken Miesner for the past 25 years at Ken Miesner’s Flowers at Plaza Frontenac, where they have done flowers for more than 1,000 weddings!