Weddings and Mothers
We know weddings are a celebration of a love story and the day is about the brightness of that beginning. But right beneath that love story, another love story is unfolding that has the heaviness of endings- that’s the love story of a mother and daughter.
We forget that our mothers experience our wedding days with a multitude of emotions. Hopefully she is overjoyed that you have found your partner. Even better if she loves and gets along with them! But no matter what, this day is an ending for her. It’s often the end of her time as your closest confidant. The end of her time as the first person you call when you’re bursting with good news or falling apart with bad. Your whole life has been a practice of letting go- each milestone, each new assertion of independence had that same mix of joy and sorrow. But your wedding day is the real moment her role in your life actually shifts. And as happy as it is, it’s also filled with grief and sadness.
And as brides and daughters we don’t always make the space for this sense of loss our mothers are experiencing. And there are a million reasons why this is hard to do. But here is what I am asking of you.
1. Just remember. Just be aware that this day is hard for her. It means something very different to her than it does to you. While your gaze is focused on the excitement of the future, hers is filled with the memories of the past. .
2. Give graciously. So much of wedding planning becomes a power play between moms and brides. Knowing that your mom is processing difficult emotions, maybe you can let her have control over the florals or the party favors or whatever details she most cares about. In the scheme of things- will you care? And when you reflect on what she has given you, this is a great opportunity to give back at a really poignant time.
3. Make space. Make space for your mom and her emotions during your wedding planning. Make space for her opinions and input. Also, make space for her mixed emotions and unfamiliar behavior. Most importantly, make mental and emotional space for this to be a tricky time in your relationship.
When you do these three subtle things, you will not only have a much better wedding planning experience but you will be paving the way for your new mother daughter dynamic. Just like that first day you shared together- let there be the excruciating mix of pain and joy and magic and mystery.