It’s weird. You have spent your whole life dreaming of this day and the last 10 months planning every detail. Everyone around you should know just how important this wedding is to you … and they do.
That is why some of the worst fights, brawls and all-out wars have started on a bride’s wedding day. The emotion level is at an all time high and the estrogen is flowing through the air in thick wafts that entangle everyone – well, all the women anyway.
Your mom is upset that she didn’t get to be in the group shot. Your mother-in-law is upset that she didn’t get a special “mother-son” dance. Your sister is upset that your best friend was maid of honor. Your cousin is upset that she only gets to be a junior bridesmaid. I could go on and on.
Why do women get like this when it comes to weddings? The simple truth is that a wedding epitomizes all that is romantic in our modern world. The last great statement of fairy-tale enchantment that still exists amidst dutch-dating and internet courtships. It’s our one chance to put on a huge gown and a tiara for pete’s sake. Not to mention the sappy love songs, the slow dancing and the tuxedos.
The other women in your life can’t help but feel a pang of jealousy. No matter how good they look, every one is looking at you. It’s your big day, after all. But if you can approach the situation sensitively and make everyone feel part of the magic, you might avoid some of the bitchiness that can ruin a perfect wedding.
Don’t let faded traditions dictate the role your mother takes in your wedding day festivities.
For all the wrong and socially biased reasons, wedding traditions somewhat focus around the father of the bride as opposed to the mother of the bride. I assume this is because the father of the bride was traditionally the financial support of the wedding. The father gets the honor of walking the bride down the aisle while mom gets a good seat up front. Dad gets the first speech, traditionally. Dad gets the “father-daughter” dance.
Your mom may feel left out by all of this. She is the one who helped you plan, went with you to try on a zillion dresses and painstakingly took up your dress to make it just the right length.
Part of the traditional Jewish wedding is that the parents of both the bride and groom escort each of them down the aisle. During the wedding, both sets of parents stand under the “chuppah” while the ceremony is being conducted. I love this idea. What a great symbol of the two families uniting and what a statement of equality! Do you really want your father to “give you away” to your new husband? What does that really say?
After your dad gives a speech, have him hand the mic over to your mom. Of course, you’ll want to clear this with her well in advance. Some moms aren’t used to the spotlight or they may be too emotional to spit out a good speech. Just let her know that it would mean a lot to you and she may enjoy the opportunity.
The traditional father-daughter dance is nice but rocking back and forth with my dad for 3 minutes sounded like a waste of precious reception time. Do a switcharoo dance. While you are dancing with your dad, have your groom dance with your mom. When the DJ gives you a cue, grab your groom’s father and have him grab his mother. Your parents dance together until the next cue when his parents dance together and you dance with your groom. You get the idea.
Make sure you include your mother-in-law by inviting her to all the pre-wedding events. Have a special photograph taken with you and your two moms. Ask her to help you with your final touches before you walk down the aisle. Most importantly, take the time to introduce your mother-in-law to your family and friends at the reception. Make her feel part of the family.
My number one suggestion is to ask your most self-assured and confident girlfriends to be your bridesmaids. Your friend that is always going through some sort of drama will probably go through some sort of a drama at your wedding. Your friend with the slight alcohol problem will probably get very drunk at the wedding. Your friend that picks up on every ones’ boyfriend will probably pick up on yours.
If you don’t have any friends that fit into the first category I mentioned but not into the second, do without bridesmaids.
In any regard, treat your bridesmaids very carefully that day. Make sure they know that everything you are asking of them is voluntary and don’t get mad if they don’t go along with your every wish. Remember, a wedding can be a very emotional and stressful situation. Watching your friends getting married one by one is a powerful reminder that you are not married or getting married anytime soon. Be sensitive to this reaction and try to point out why you selected these girls in the first place.
The traditional bridesmaid tea is a very cute idea to get all your girls in one sappy heap right before the wedding. The day of, arrange a gathering of some sort with all the women in the bridal party. This can be on the lawn outside the hotel or in your room. Have some crackers, cheese and cookies on hand along with a good bottle of wine. Every one will be thankful for the snack and a small glass of wine will calm your nerves. Go around the room and tell each woman just what they mean to you and why they are there on your wedding day. Avoid bawling your eyes out and messing up your make-up. After hearing your sincere sentiments, how could anyone feel slighted?
Right before my wedding, all the girls gathered in a circle. We were burning incense and playing soft, soothing music in the background. My sister-in-law gave us a pre-wedding pep talk of sorts concentrating on focusing loving energy my way. The whole experience was wonderful. We all felt really close to one another and I left feeling rejuvenated and calm.
Take the time on your wedding day to send loving energy to the women in your life. Remember, its easy to feel blue or left out at someone else’s wedding.