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Mom of the Bride

MoB Monday: By the Authority Vested in Me

Our resident expert weighs the pros and cons of having a friend or family member do the ceremonial honors.

By Leslie Milk Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.

Ministers, rabbis, justices of the peace, move over! More and more couples are choosing to be married by friends or relatives who are newly ordained online or governmentally approved for the occasion.

Is it legal? Yes, indeed.

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Mom of the Bride

Ceremonies and Budgets: What’s a Mother-of-the-Bride to Do?

Welcome to another edition of MOB Monday, wherein our intrepid expert, Leslie Milk, author of “It’s Her Wedding but I’ll Cry if I Want to: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride,” answers questions, soothes fears, and tells it like it is.

By Leslie Milk

I always dreamed my daughter would get married in our church. Now she tells me a friend is getting ordained online and will conduct the wedding ceremony. I just feel terrible. What can I do?

Welcome to the club. My son got married on a jogging path in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. He did agree to honor our Jewish heritage by breaking a glass at the end of the ceremony—but he neglected to tell us that he would be wearing flip-flops. Thank goodness the glass was well wrapped and we didn’t have to go straight from the wedding to the emergency room! Hard as it is to accept our children’s choices sometimes, maintaining our relationship with them is more important than any wedding venue.

My wedding budget is really tight. Do we have to entertain out-of-town guests for the entire wedding weekend?

Many weddings now seem to last as long and have as many events as coronations. But there is no requirement that you plan multiple activities—particularly if you are getting married here in the Washington area. I don’t mean to sound self-serving, but I’d suggest getting each out-of-town guest a copy of the Washingtonian Welcome Guide (to order, call 202-331-0715), or directing them to our one-, two-, three-, and four-day itineraries online, and letting them loose on the city. With so many free museums and monuments to visit, they should find plenty to do without you. And you’ll have more time to relax and prepare for your big day without the added pressure and expense of planning and attending multiple get-togethers.

Expert Advice

Advice from a Mother of the Bride: Vegan Menus and Parental Squabbles

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk—“Washingtonian” lifestyle editor and author of “It’s Her Wedding but I’ll Cry if I Want to: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride”—answers your questions.

By Kate Bennett

My daughter is a vegan, and she wants a strictly vegan menu for her wedding reception. I don’t think our elder relatives are going to eat tofu. Do I have to go along with her wishes?

Vegan choices, yes. Vegan only, not necessarily. Sometimes a bride needs to be reminded that wedding guests are not extras in her personal movie but are valued participants invited to share her celebration. Also, guests who don’t eat much tend to make up for it with liquor consumption, and that can create more “celebration” than any bride would welcome.

I’m getting married next year. My parents went through a nasty divorce a year ago. My father wants me to make his new wife a part of the wedding plans; my mother says “No way.” I’m caught in the middle, but I understand how my mother feels. What can I do?

Sounds like the divorce and the wedding are too close for comfort. Your dad isn’t being Mr. Sensitivity, so you’ll have to provide a not-too-gentle hint. Of course your new stepmother will be invited, will sit with him, etc. But you can assure him you and your mother already have the wedding well in hand and no additional help is needed. He should get the message.

Expert Advice

Advice From a Mother of the Bride: What to Wear and When to Favor

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk, author of It’s Her Wedding But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride, answers a couple of all-important MOB queries.

By Leslie Milk, Kate Bennett
Courtney and Geoff had cute pompom pins for guests with snippets of a poem attached. However, our MOB expert says memories can also make the perfect favors. Photo courtesy of Abby Jiu Photography.

Do we have to give out favors at the wedding? Our budget is really tight.

Favors are not required, and you may be doing your guests a favor by skipping them. Many of us have a drawer at home filled with little goodies we got at weddings that we feel guilty throwing out but that serve no identifiable purpose. It is enough to send guests home with fond memories of your wonderful day.

The groom's mother hates my color scheme and does not want to wear a dress in one of my colors. I don't want her to ruin all of my wedding pictures. What do I do?

Obviously she has never heard the old adage that the job of the mother of the groom is to "show up, shut up, and wear beige." But you don't want to go to war with your future mother-in-law. Find out if she would be willing to wear a complementary shade--if she hates purple, she might prefer a soft rose, for example. If she remains obstinate, the dress isn't the issue. She can wear any color she wants. The focus will still be on the bride and groom.

Do you have a wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kbennett@washingtonian.com and we'll get you the answer!


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Expert Advice

Nontraditional Bridal Shower Ideas

Not into oohing and aahing over toasters and oven mitts? Here are some more creative ideas.

By Kim Forrest

We’ve received a lot of questions from maids of honor, bridesmaids, and moms lately about bridal showers: “We don’t want to do just the standard luncheon at someone’s house. How can we make a shower a little more creative and fun?” Well, your friends at Washingtonian Bride & Groom are here to help.

We asked wedding planner Teresa Lee of Rex & Regina to come up with a few ideas for bridal showers that don’t involve making toilet paper wedding dresses in your great-aunt’s living room.

I Knew You When . . . “For this wedding shower, each guest should bring an object, like a newspaper headline, a song, or a clothing item, from the year they met the bride. As the bride opens the ‘artifact,’ the guest can share with the group how [he or she] met the bride,” says Lee.

This is a particularly great idea to liven up showers at a friend or relative’s house or at a restaurant.

Wine Tasting A fun and informative way to spend an afternoon, no flight to Napa required. Lee likes Zola Wine & Kitchen in DC for this type of shower because of its “open kitchen and casual atmosphere,” but many area restaurants would also be able to do a wine tasting party.

“To make the party even more personal, taste a flight of the bride’s favorite varietal,” says Lee.

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Mom of the Bride

MOB Monday: Destination Drama

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk, Washingtonian lifestyle editor and author of It’s Her Wedding But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride, answers questions from and about MOBs (or MOGs!)

By Leslie Milk
A beach wedding might not be what you had in mind, but if it makes them happy...

My son and his fiancée want to hold a small destination wedding on a Caribbean island. This would mean that my parents, who are elderly and can’t fly, won’t be able to make it. Is it appropriate for me to try to convince them to do something locally?

Many couples dream of an intimate wedding on the beach and a future mother-in-law throws sand in the face of this vision at her own peril. You’d be better off offering to host a post-wedding party locally. The grandparents can toast the happy couple and you’ll be getting off to a good start with your new daughter-in-law.

I’ve never had a great relationship with my mother, but now that I’m engaged, she really wants to be involved in wedding planning. My fiancée and I are paying for the wedding ourselves, so do I have to include her?

Can you pick a few small tasks that she can handle for you, so that she doesn’t feel totally excluded? She’s not going to become your BFF after years of tension, but a small gesture may buy you a lot of peace.

Do you have a wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer!

Mom of the Bride

Mother-of-the-Bride Monday

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk, Washingtonian lifestyle editor and author of It’s Her Wedding But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride, answers questions from and about MOBs (or MOGs!).

By Leslie Milk
"I found it, honey! The perfect outfit for your wedding!"

I hate what my mom is wearing to my wedding. It’s clear she’s trying to upstage me—her dress is too short and too revealing. What should I do?

Ah, the “red hot mama syndrome.” For some mothers, the idea of being mother of the bride brings out so much angst about looking or feeling old that they go overboard in the opposite direction.

They get desperate to show that they can strut their stuff and that they still have stuff to strut. This is the time to enlist another member of the family or a close family friend who can talk to her frankly about the dress and the impact it is likely to have. That said, she may wear it anyway. But you are still the bride and no one can upstage you. The most she can do is embarrass herself.

Do you have a wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer!

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Mom of the Bride

Mom of the Bride: It’s All Over!

Amanda contemplates the fact that her daughter’s wedding is now just a wonderful memory.

By Amanda Warrington
Amanda and the happy couple: Now she's Mom of the Missus.
What a fabulous week we had partying and hanging out. Although the planning that remained for the week was minimal, we were busy every day. My aunt and uncle hosted a clam bake at their house one night. Sarina and her mom, Saskia, arrived mid-week. The wedding itself went so fast that having the week before with family and friends was priceless. By Friday, everyone had arrived at the beach, and the rehearsal dinner was a big bash that included all the wedding guests.

The whole week and wedding went smooth as silk. The closest thing we had to a glitch was what I prefer to think of as a classic wedding moment. With perfectly coiffed hair and our precise makeup applications, Tiffany, her bridesmaids, and I ventured out to the truck—already cooled by the AC—to go to the aquarium to dress there. Albert was driving—and might have been a little anxious. Although there was no hurry, he began driving faster and faster. In the same moment that I said, “slow down,” Tiffany said, “You’re getting pulled over.” Mind you, it’s quite humid in coastal North Carolina at the end of May. I guess as a safety precaution, the officer made us roll down the rear window—maybe to make sure we didn’t pull a bouquet on him? The policeman asked Albert if he knew how fast he was driving. Did he know what the speed limit was? What was the hurry? Where were we headed? You know the drill. Finally, I couldn’t take any more and explained from the back seat that our hair was going to wilt and our makeup would melt if he didn’t let us put the windows up. So after we answered his questions about the wedding, he congratulated Tiffany and sent us on our way without a ticket. Keep Reading ...

Mom of the Bride

Mom of the Bride: Ready, Set, Wed!

By Amanda Warrington Ready or not, here we go. These past few weeks have been filled with finicky little tasks—all those things you can’t do in advance. With all of the big-ticket items taken care of and nothing huge left to tackle, I’ve had a lingering feeling that I’m forgetting something. To keep myself on track, I’ve gone into hyper-list-making mode. Even the smallest to-do item lands on my list—wedding-related or not. My lists look something like this: Keep Reading ...

Mom of the Bride

Mother of the Bride: It’s the Final Countdown

With less than a month until the wedding, what has been going on and what remains to be done? Plenty, on both counts.

By Amanda Warrington In these past few months, life has gone on without regard for my well-set-out wedding-planning schedule. A few unexpected things have popped up: A skylight sprang a leak and had to be repaired, and a pipe burst in our house, flooded a bedroom, and required hardwood and carpet replacement. And as long as we had to pull everything out of the bedroom, we figured we might as well paint it.

Also in the past month, my son was in a play at school and my life stopped altogether so I could attend the Dominion High School production of The Music Man. In addition to being mom of the bride, I can’t forget that I am also mom of the boy.

But enough with day-to-day stuff. What has been going on related to the wedding in these final weeks?
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