Mother of the Bride

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Mistakes All Mothers of the Bride Make

Mistakes All Mothers of the Bride Make

Avoid derailing your daughter's special day
Mother of the Bride

pixelheadphoto digitalskillet/Shutterstock

From the moment a mom gets the news that her daughter is engaged, she is going to be navigating a tricky and exciting time in their relationship. A wedding is an exciting event to plan, but it can also be incredibly stressful — and mothers are often involved in the planning process from the start. 

Wedding etiquette today is different than it used to be, as are the expectations of modern brides-to-be. Here are some common pitfalls all mothers of the bride should avoid to make sure the wedding is a success — and to make sure their relationships with their daughters stay strong.

Avoiding the money talk

Avoiding the money talk
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Conversations about money can be awkward, but it’s best to get everyone on the same page in terms of family contributions to the big day. Whether you and other people on the bride's side will be paying for all of it, contributing a portion or not contributing at all, it helps to manage expectations by having an honest, up-front dialogue.

Not checking expectations at the door

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If you’ve been dreaming of a black-tie affair but your daughter wants a destination beach wedding, someone is going to be disappointed. A parent trying to force their ideas onto a daughter’s big day is just going to cause arguments and headaches for everyone.

Assuming you already know the guest list

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You might assume you know who will be getting an invite to the nuptials, but it’s best to hold off talking about the big day with too many people. While you may want to shout the happy news from the rooftops, implying to someone that they will be invited to the wedding when they may not make the final guest list could cause hurt feelings. Staying tight-lipped could save you from having to be rude later.

Being negative or critical of the plans


Your daughter will most likely lean on you for help because you have years of good advice already on your track record. That means there will be many calls for a second opinion. A mother of the bride should be gentle in offering advice — don’t be too critical of things you know are important to your daughter.

Starting a beauty or fitness regimen too late


Growing out hair because everyone else is going to wear an updo takes time, as does losing a few pounds to wear that dream dress. These things don’t just happen magically, so long-term goals need to be started early to be achieved by the big day. Be realistic about your goals and start working toward them accordingly.

Going rogue with the dress

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The last thing you want to do on your daughter’s special day is cause dress drama. Seek her input from the start about what you’ll wear to avoid a fashion faux pas. Make plans for a day of shopping together to make memories and avoid an argument. Even if the dress isn’t exactly what you envisioned, as long as you are comfortable, her vision is what really matters.

Buying your dress too early — or late

Buying your dress too early — or late
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A mother of the bride’s dress should probably not be an impulse buy, and it also shouldn’t be a last-minute decision. It’s best to shop around and keep the feel and dress code of the event in mind. Buying a dress too early may only cause regret, but it’s always possible to circle back to an original favorite.

Being too matchy-matchy


A mother of the bride is not a bridesmaid. Choosing the same color dress as the bridesmaids may be confusing and may not translate well in photos. Choose a color or cut that is complementary to the colors of the bridal party.

Not consulting with the future mother-in-law about outfits

Not consulting with the future mother-in-law about outfits
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Obviously, the mother of your bride's future partner doesn't want to look like your twin, but it will look better if the two of you are on the same page when it comes to the formality of the day and the aesthetics for the wedding.

Not consulting with the future mother-in-law about the day

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On top of comparing outfits, you should have a casual conversation about finances, family traditions and more with the other set of parents as well. It will help you navigate the day better and also help you give your daughter the best advice. Just like you, the mother of the groom is navigating her own set of expectations, so any conversation about the ceremony can be a great chance to bond. After all, this is two families coming together.

Not being specific about how you can help

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As the mother of the bride, you’re going to want to help in any way you can — but that’s not realistic. Just saying that you can help in general may get you in over your head, saddled with more tasks than you can handle. Likewise, if you’re too vague, your daughter may assign a task you really wanted someone else to handle. Being specific and setting boundaries will help you maintain a healthy relationship with your daughter through this process.

Taking on a task you aren’t good at

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If you know you are a terrible speller, someone else should probably proofread the invitations. Even if your daughter really needs help making paper flowers, it’s still not a good idea to take that on if you’re a terrible crafter. Find a way to take something else off her plate that is more within your skillset. It will keep stress low for both of you.

Comparing weddings


Each wedding day is different, so it’s best if you don’t compare your daughter's ceremony and reception to anyone else’s —  a friend’s, a family member’s or even your own. What’s important is that your daughter gets to have the special day she envisioned.

Blabbing too much about the details

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Of course you are excited and want to talk about the wedding, but maybe your daughter wants some of the special details to be a surprise for her guests. The best course of action is to be on the same page with your daughter about what you are allowed to share. Sticking to her wishes is a way to show you respect her relationship boundaries.

Showing off the dress

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The dress may be the biggest wedding detail to your daughter, and she may want to keep it a secret. If you have photos from a fitting on your phone, keep them to yourself unless given explicit permission to share them with others.

Passing on hair and makeup

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Oftentimes the mother of the bride is in on the bridal party glam squad and gets her hair and makeup done. If you are concerned you will not look like yourself on the big day, just be transparent with your makeup artist and bring in pictures of looks you would feel comfortable with.

Taking on too many day-of tasks

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Even though it’s not your day, you are still one of the stars of the show. If you take on a task to complete on the day of the ceremony, you need to keep it simple and make sure it isn’t going to cause too much stress for you.

Getting too lost on the details on the day

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This day is a big deal and it should be enjoyed. Let go of any last-minute anxieties about things that could go wrong and celebrate all you’ve done to make the day go right.

Not keeping nerves in check

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Of course, it is a big day for you too — but this is likely the biggest event your daughter will ever throw. If you get wedding day jitters, it’s best to keep your nerves out of the spotlight and instead be a calming force in the moment for your daughter’s sake.

Thinking this won’t impact your relationship

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Little tiffs can become big blowups, and big blowups about the wedding can cause lasting problems. Weddings can be stressful, but it is important to keep any problems in perspective so they don’t permanently damage your relationship with your daughter. Not resolving disagreements and holding grudges are both toxic habits that will hurt your relationship.

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