Tips for the Mother of the Bride

By Sharon Naylor,

“My mother is ruining my wedding!”

As a wedding author, I receive thousands of letters from brides and their families all over the world, and the most common complaint is that brides and their moms clash over the planning of the wedding.  Sometimes, it’s just a minor skirmish that requires a cooling-off period, and other times it’s all-out war that stops the formerly loving duo from even speaking to one another.  Some mothers threaten to boycott their daughters’ weddings.

What would bring two women to this kind of conflict?  Why does a happy occasion such as a wedding bring out the worst in some people?  And what would make a mother boycott her little girl’s wedding?

Weddings are emotional events, big life transitions that affect not only the couple who are joining their lives together, but everyone around them.  If your daughter is getting married, you’re probably feeling many more emotions than just excitement for her.  There’s also fear.  Fear of losing your little girl.  Sadness.  Sadness that her growing older means you’re growing older.  Anxiety.  You’re feeling anxious over the details of the wedding, what you’ll wear, maybe whether your ex-husband is planning to bring that little blonde chippy from his office to the wedding as his date.

Weddings can create a type of chaos in our lives, and the first things to suffer are our relationships with the people we love the most.  It’s a universal phenomenon, seen all over the country and the world to varying degrees.  You’ve probably heard horror stories of such mothers who do boycott the wedding just because the wording wasn’t “right” on the invitations. Another mother slipped the ceremony pianist some sheet music that she wanted to hear at the wedding, and the bride walked down the aisle to a song that she not only hated, but that reminded her of a previous boyfriend!  Are these mothers insane?  No.  Just a bit self-centered and out-of-focus.

You can be a great mom and still lose your sense of purpose during the planning of your daughter’s wedding.  It happens to the best of them.  You may have nothing but good intentions deep within as you make decisions or requests for the wedding, but the root of all Mother-Daughter Wedding Evil is not directing your good intentions to the bride and groom.


The saddest thing I ever heard a recent bride say was “I’ve lost all respect for my mother after the way she behaved all through the wedding planning time. I never knew she could be so selfish. We’ll never have a good relationship again.” Just grab your heart right now. Would you ever want your daughter to feel that way about you? Over something as simple as the color of the tablecloths, the choice of favors, or the music during the ceremony?

Knowing that weddings stir up underlying issues and intensify family dynamics for anyone, causing the kind of behavior that does injure if not ruin close family ties, I’ve put together the following rules to help you stay on the right track as you help your daughter plan her wedding:

Read 6 Rules for the Mother of the Bride