As mentioned previously, I have been in the wedding business for a long time. I call myself a lifer, because it seems as though I will never be let out of this tulle and grosgrain prison I have created for myself (Oh, I complain, but I still love, love, love it!). Having been around for so long, I sometimes feel as though I have seen it all. Just when I start to feel that way, something happens to illustrate just how wrong I was. Recently, I have been floored by the interactions I’ve seen between mothers and daughters. You would think that this would be a blissful, warm and fuzzy time between a mom and her little girl. You would think that, and you would be so incredibly wrong.
Weddings seem to bring out the best and worst in people. Add a mom trying to live vicariously through her daughter and it’s multiplied times a million. Even my own mother (whom I get along with swimmingly) freaked when I told her I would be having cupcakes for my wedding instead of cake. She couldn’t fathom it. It her world it is just not done. Ultimately she enjoyed my little frosted confections, and was particularly delighted that they were at least arranged in the shape of a cake. Still, it caused a little momentary tension between us. Now, take a mother and daughter who don’t normally get along. Add a wedding and you have a recipe for disaster.
I once saw a mother tell her size 4 daughter that a particular dress made her look fat. I’m sorry, but in my entire lifetime I’ve never seen a fat size 4! The deflated look on the girl’s face was enough to bring me nearly to tears. Momzilla had no such reaction. She went on and on about how she could see her daughter’s “tummy” and how she should probably retry the dress she had on earlier. Mind you, this was a dress that the bride clearly despised, and mom adored. Why? Because it reminded her of her own late-70’s era wedding gown, which the bride had already declined to wear. The bride did not for a second look fat in that dress. Mommy just wanted to replay her own wedding day. The daughter had come in planning to buy her own wedding gown. Mom then pulled the trump card: She would whip out her plastic for the dress she liked, and that dress only. If the bride wanted any other dress she was on her own.
This kind of manipulative, ruthless behavior is worthy of a daytime soap villainess, not a mother of the bride! When a girl is faced with this while planning her wedding, it makes me wonder what the poor thing faced growing up. Did mom bribe her with a car if she took up cheerleading over softball? Did she offer to pay for her prom dress if she chose Vassar over Yale? With the traps laid for this young lady and girls like her, it’s no wonder that some young women start out their betrothals as such entitled, spoiled brats. They’ve learned at the knees of the best- their own mothers. I’m not usually on the “blame the parents” bandwagon, but in a lot of cases people become what they see. Are these high maintenance moms the precise reason why we have to deal with women we’ve not-so-affectionately dubbed Bridezillas? While not an excuse, it’s at least an explanation.
Thankfully, most mothers are wonderful, helpful participants in their daughters’ weddings. They are the ones sewing up a torn bustle at the last minute or paying the band to stay for an extra hour because everyone’s having so much fun. They are the glue that keep our weddings (and our families) together. They are the norm, not the exception. They deserve praise not only for their own behavior, but for the fact that they’ve raised daughters who don’t make vendors quake when they see them coming!
I love the sweet moms, but as I said, I am a lifer. The high maintenance mommies don’t scare me away. They just make me shake my head and have a little extra wine at the end of the day!