Leslie Milk is the lifestyle editor of The Washingtonian magazine, where she has written stories about subjects ranging from climbing Mount Everest to losing weight. After extensive research, she concluded that losing weight is much harder.
Milk’s book, It’s Her Wedding, But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride, was released in February 2005. She has talked about mothers, daughters, and weddings on the CBS Early Show, The Diane Rehm Show, and Martha Stewart Radio, and has been quoted in newspapers and magazines all over the country.
At The Washingtonian, Milk’s story on underage drinking, “Saturday Night in the Suburbs,” won the 1993 Gold Medal for Investigative Reporting from the City and Regional Magazine Association. In 2004, she won a Dateline Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for the best magazine sports story.
Previously, Milk was a weekly columnist for the The Washington Post and other local papers. Her columns won two awards from the American Association of University Women. Milk was also honored for journalistic excellence by Capital Press Women.
Milk is a graduate of the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, which accepts no responsibility for anything Milk has written since.
Thanks for all of the great questions. I love talking about weddings and you can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have more wedding stuff on your mind.
The father of the bride gets a starring roe at the wedding itself, but he doesn't have much to do before the big day — except sign checks and grumble about the expense. I say that the father of the bride is like the corpse at the funeral — he has to show up but everybody hopes he won't do anything.
So, I can't see writing a book for him. But I'm always open to suggestions.
First, I do understand how her mom feels. You've seen your daughter in a dozen prom dresses, but until she puts on a veil, she isn't a bride.
That said, the bride can remind her mother that the moment she picks up her bouquet, she'll look like a bride. Or that Jenna Bush didn't wear a veil. Or that the wedding is pretty informal and a veil just doesn't feel right.
Or the bride can compromise — wear the veil for the trip down the aisle and take it off right after for the pictures and the party.
My daughter was married in 2003 and the book is dedicated to her. The moment she got engaged, I realized that I had a choice. I could do what I wanted and get the wedding I never had —my inlaws ruined my wedding—but that is another story. Or I could help my daughter get her dream wedding. And strengthen a bond that had been sorely tested when she was a teenager.
Writing the book was a constant reminder of what was important. It was also a lot of fun. I heard the most amazing stories. Relatives behaving badly. Kids and pets behaving badly. But also love stories that touched my heart.
Buy her a copy of my book! She needs to understand that it is your day and most things should be your way.
That said, you have to be certain that you are speaking up clearly. If you usually go along with her, she may not realize how strongly you feel about the food or the dress.
I don't know your mother, but I do know that mothers and daughters often disagree about dresses. When we were brides, it was often unthinkable to wear a strapless dress for a church wedding. Now that is the norm. A traditional mother and an independent bride may have very different ideas about what is bridal. You might show her some bridal magazines to give her an idea of how many alternatives are acceptable now.
I'd love to hear more about the food disagreement.
I know this sounds like a commercial — but get her a copy of my book. Maybe she'll read it and get off your case.
Another suggestion — give her specific assignments. Let her research some aspect of the ceremony or the reception—centerpieces, wedding programs, favors. This may focus her energy away from you for a while.
Also, let her know how busy you are. Much as you'd love to chat about every detail, you still have a job or school.
And this is why God invented voicemail, email, and answering machines. You don't have to be available all the time to talk about the wedding.
Do I sound heartless? Anti-mother? Yikes, I'm not turning on my own kind … I just know how obsessive I can get about little things. At one point right before my daughter's wedding I said to my son, "Aren't you impressed that I'm not going crazy?"
"But you are driving all of us crazy," he replied.
This is tricky! Tell her that the shopping is still in the early stages, and you'll invite her along when the choices are narrowed down. My daughter invited her prospective mother-in-law to the first fitting — after the dress was picked.
Is your fiance´ pushing you to involve his mother? If so, you may have to find little ways to involve her. Besides, you want to have a good relationship with her. She'll never be your mother but she'll be in your life.
First of all, I haven't seen mothers of brides in pants. This is one occasion where a skirt —either a dress or a suit—is still the rule.
But you don't have to look like the grandmother of the bride. Never tell a salesperson that you are looking for a mother of the bride dress. They immediately bring out dowdy outfits. Tell them you are dressing for a special occasion.
n the other hand, a "Red Hot Mama " dress is never in style for the mother of the bride. There are other times when you can show that you've still got it. This is no time to upstage the bride.
Start out where you normally shop. You aren't looking for a "mother of the bride" dress — that is the kiss of death. You want something pretty, flattering, comfortable, and in keeping with the formality or informality of the wedding itself.
There are stores that specialize in dresses for special occasions. In our area, Claire Dratch, Riziks, Saks Jandel, and both Nordstrom, and Macys come to mind. I love the Back Room at Loehmanns.
I know several mothers who have picked a style they loved and had a dress made. It turned out to be cheaper and more reflective of their style.