Diana’s I Dos: It’s Everybody’s Wedding

Diana learns that the wedding isn’t just about the bride—lots of people have opinions on the big day.

When you’re planning a wedding, some good-natured soul will inevitably tell you, “Remember, this day is all about you.” My theory is that people who say this are either single or former brides who’d like to perpetuate the myth. Let’s get this straight, ladies: The wedding isn’t—and never will be—all about you.

For all you brides-to-be, my goal isn’t to burst your bubble but to help you avoid potential minefields as you and your fiancé make the trip from bended knee to the altar.

Planning a wedding is full of politics, opinions, and egos. For the first time in your life, you’ll experience family members getting upset because they feel your decision to have sirloin instead of their favorite chicken recipe is a direct insult. You might have another family member who feels that walking down the aisle to “All You Need Is Love” flouts tradition and makes a mockery of the marriage ceremony. You’ll experience a multitude of opinions, many of them uninvited, about everything from the band to your toenail polish. You might even have someone you barely know corner you in the elevator and ask how much your wedding is setting you back. (Seriously, that really happened.)

While all this is going on, you’re working on making the mental transition from “me” to “we” and realizing your single life is over. Life as you knew it is changing, and suddenly every little fight you and your fiancé have is amplified because you start thinking, “Is this the way it’s always going to be?” You’ll have little freak outs, he’ll have little freak outs, and you’ll learn to communicate through them. You might begin to feel that a part of your mind is always on the wedding. It’ll pop up at the strangest times, like when you see a shade of blue on your coworker’s tie that would be perfect for your bridesmaids’ dresses, or a gorgeous flower in your neighbor’s garden that would look amazing in a centerpiece. You catch yourself in the shower shampooing your hair while making a mental list of the things you have left to do and the tiny details that probably no one but you will ever notice. This on top of your job, social life, family, workout routine, household chores, and trying to take some time for your own sanity.

To add more pressure, anytime you’re planning a gathering of your entire family, there’s going to be at least a little drama. When you’re organizing a wedding merging two families, things get even trickier. This is when people remind you, “This day is all about you.” While the ceremony might be about you, how can you throw a party for a bunch of people and not work to make sure they have a good time? These are the people you care about most, and many of them are making a huge effort to be with you on your special day.

To all the mothers who are reading this, I know that your situation can be unwieldy. The mother of the bride (commonly known as MOB) usually has more input in the planning process but walks a fine line between being involved and too involved. My advice to the MOBs is remember that you’re entitled to your opinions but that the bride has the final say. Keep in mind that traditions can change, and what might have been looked down upon in your day is now en vogue.

For the mothers of the groom (MOG), the wedding can be stressful because your position is less defined. You want to help but don’t want to overstep your bounds. It never hurts to ask if there’s anything you can do to help or offer your services if you think you’d be really great at a certain task. The bride might be hesitant to ask but very happy to accept your offer. Also, it’s good to express your opinion as long as you realize that your suggestion may not be used. Keeping in touch with the bride and offering assistance and ideas can be a great way to get to know your future daughter-in-law better.

Recently, someone asked me about appropriate dresses for mothers of the bride and groom. The number-one rule: Never wear white or ivory. Also, unless you’re a miracle of science, you’re not in your twenties and shouldn’t dress like you are. Your dress should be something that makes you feel attractive, but should keep your assets under wraps. Wear something tasteful that matches with the theme of the wedding.

As Ben’s mom, Kelly, said, this is a new experience for everyone. We’re all learning. The most important thing is to communicate. Speak up if something is upsetting you or if something is making you happy. Let each other know you appreciate the support, and keep in mind that it’s normal for people to disagree. Remember that even though a disagreement or argument might pop up along the way, it’s not the end of the world. Even though a million people will say this, savor the moment because it’s all about you. All of you.

Read Diana's story from the beginning, here

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