Wedding Planning: Avoiding Mother-Daughter Conflict

By Tina Callison,

Planning a wedding can be exciting, fun, stressful, and overwhelming, all at the same time. A wedding marks the beginning of a new relationship, which inevitably means changes in other relationships. The mother-daughter relationship can rarely be ignored when it comes to planning a wedding, and is often sited as a source of stress and conflict. To help minimize the conflict and the subsequent stress, there are things that both mothers and daughters can do, while ensuring that their relationship stays intact.

First it is important to understand some of the sources of mother-daughter conflict. Much of the conflict arises from the impending change in the relationship that the mother and daughter previously shared. After years of nurturing, protecting, and caring for their daughters, mothers can fear (whether consciously, or unconsciously) being replaced by the daughter’s new husband. Daughters, on the other hand, may feel trapped and stifled by their mothers, believing that their mothers are being selfish by not letting the daughter grow up and live her own life. On top of all of this, mothers may also have regrets about their own weddings, and seek to create their own fairytale wedding through their daughter. All of these underlying feelings show themselves in a variety of ways, such as mothers having strong opinions about every aspect of the wedding planning process (opinions which often contradict the daughter’s opinions), mothers disapproving of her daughter’s relationship, and daughters not wanting to accept any advice or help from their mothers during the wedding planning. These behaviors can be very damaging to the mother-daughter relationship and can cause lasting hurt.

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