In my own wedding planning, I got very lucky in that both my own mother and my mother-in-law didn’t overstep their boundaries. In fact, while they both offered advice, they were fully accepting of the fact that it was Michael’s and my big day…which I must say was nice. However, from talking to brides, I know not everyone is as lucky. That’s why I polled some experts to provide these 6 tips for dealing with an overbearing mom…
1. Talk It Out.
First and foremost, if you discover you have a mom-zilla on your hands, your best bet is to try and talk things out. As April Chantel Hollar of April Chantel Wedding & Event Company suggests, schedule a meeting on neutral ground with the MOB and/or MOG in question. This is the time to state your fears, concerns and wishes in a non-threatening way. Tell her in clear terms how she’s making you feel and what you’d like to see happen going forward. The intent is to really show her that you value and respect her opinion, but you need the same in return.
2. Delegate a Task.
Ashley Paz of Vera Green Productions mentions that most overbearing moms simply want to feel involved, so the best way to handle the situation is to give them a task, and let them know that you are giving them that task because it’s one that you are very stressed about and that you completely trust their judgment on. Then, gently let her know that you have other friends/family members/a wedding planner/etc. who are helping with the rest of the details.
3. Hire a Mediator (AKA Wedding Planner).
Gail Johnson, Accredited Bridal Consultant, suggests having a mediator who can keep the peace, such as a wedding planner. As Gail told me, “I had a bride whose future mother-in-law was determined to take over the wedding. As a compromise, we decided to let her plan the rehearsal dinner. Another compromise was for the mother to call me instead of the bride to answer wedding related questions. We never want a stress out bride, hurt feelings or for a couple to start their lives in a bitter feud with their parents.”
4. Listen and Give Thanks.
Sometimes, mothers just want to be heard, even if you don’t end up taking their advice. That’s why Samantha Goldberg, celebrity event designer and TV personality, suggests finding a way to show thanks for advice…even if you didn’t ask for it and don’t intend to use it. Mention that you will consider the suggestion, and be sure to thank her in person and with a thank you card!
5. Be Willing to Budge on Some Things if She’s Footing the Bill.
While it is your wedding, if the mom-zilla in question is footing the bill for the big day, you might just have to budge on one or two things to keep her happy. Lynn Jawitz, owner of Florisan Wedding and Event Design, gives an alternate suggestion: pay for it yourself. As she says, “Control goes to the person writing the checks. If you take the money to overreach the type of affair that is out of your price range, you are stuck with the strings attached.”
6. Keep Calm
Finally, through it all, keep calm. As Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, says, do your best to never lose your cool, and do whatever you can to prevent an argument. No one benefits from that. The stress of planning a wedding is hard enough — the last thing you need is to waste time patching things up or soothing hurt feelings.
So…who’s feeling prepared to take on their overbearing mom? I hope you are! What other suggestions do you have?
About Nicole Denton
With a love of planning just about anything — from her own wedding, to bridal and baby showers, to dinner parties, and more – Nicole is the Plunge Project’s founder and former editor-in-chief. A New Jersey native, Nicole has called Chandler, Arizona home since 2013, where she currently lives with her husband Michael; two pit bulls, Shelby and Link; and cat, Kity Perry. A University of Tennessee graduate, Nicole has a bachelors in communications and a career at a rapidly-growing digital marketing firm.