Are you ready, Mama? Limbered up and ready to go? You’ve been training for this your whole life. It’s the big show. It’s the countdown to end all countdowns. Your daughter is getting married. It’s baby girl’s Big Day, and you are the MOB. The months of wedding planning leading up the wedding are fun…and fraught. There are plenty of ups and downs, but you’ll be there through it all. Let us help you navigate the icing-covered stumbling blocks that litter the wedding planning process. You can do it. After all, you’re a superhero in heels—and those heels were dyed to match your mother-of-the-bride dress perfectly.
9: Proposal (aka: Celebrate, Then Plan)
We’re sure that your future son-in-law asked for your permission before he got down on one knee, right? After inspecting the ring and sipping celebratory champagne, it’s time to start booking, making reservations, and locking down dates. Enjoy this moment, then brace yourself. The shift into planning mode is imminent, and there are lots of decisions ahead. Go ahead and pull out that guest list you’ve been working on for years—it’s time.
8: Book Everything (aka: MOB Makes It Happen)
Choosing a date for the big day was easy as pie, right? At least that’s over. Now it’s time to book the ceremony, the reception, the photographer, the florist, the caterer, the music, and all the rest. During this period, it’s best to keep your datebook permanently affixed to your person and your phone always charged. Planning emergency? It’s Mama to the rescue. You learned to bargain at farmers’ markets and antique malls—now it’s time to use your skills to help the bride and her fiancée schedule their dream day.
7: Bridal Party (aka: Mama Knows Best)
You know that one friend that your daughter loves but you never really liked? She’s definitely going to be in the bridal party. In this moment, refrain from saying, “You know, when I was planning my wedding…” Baby girl won’t appreciate it.
It’s best to pick your battles carefully and share your wisdom in moderation. (If we’re looking at a bridal party of 30 bridesmaids and 30 groomsmen, though, you may need to step in. There’s no way those numbers can fit at the front of the church.)
6: Wedding Dress (aka: Decisions, Decisions)
Every mama has opinions galore when her daughter is choosing a dress for her big day. Lace or taffeta? Strapless or sleeves? You know what looks beautiful on her, but she does too. Beaming should be your default setting here. This is a day when emotions run high, so take your cues from her (but don’t let her talk herself into a dress she’ll hate later—Mama has to keep a cool head when everyone else is overwhelmed.) Also, don’t be afraid to try to talk down that dress price. No one wants to spend $15,000 on a frock, and if anyone can make it happen, it’s you, MOB.
5: Bridal Registry (aka: Thwarting Meltdowns and Taking Names)
Remember when the bride and groom-to-be told you they were going to register for bridal gifts? Mark that day on your calendar, and keep your phone handy. You are going to receive an emotional call from the Target appliances aisle, so be prepared. It might be a call about what mixer is best, but it could also be a meltdown. Your best bet will be soothing tones and your best appliance recommendations.
4: Wedding Showers (aka: Mama Saves the Day)
No one knows how many of these you will attend (Five? Forty? It feels like forty). From the first to the last, just remember: You are the glue. The bride and groom will be pulled in a hundred different directions, and someone will forget the ice. But you can be proactive when you see a problem: Mama keeps it all together because she’s been through it before. Send cousin Tim for the ice, and bring your most gracious hostess vibes to every party—it will work wonders for the bride’s peace of mind.
3: Rehearsal Dinner (aka: Smooth Sailing)
Mama might be tempted to let down her guard a little at the rehearsal dinner—it’s almost the big day! It’s time to party!—but Mama also needs to be ready to deal with unruly family members and tipsy toasters. It’s almost the big day, and no one—not even Uncle George, with his loquacious, microphone-hogging tendencies—is going to derail this train.
2: Wedding Day (aka: Grab the Kleenex)
Breathe, Mama. The day is here, and the time has come. The dresses are in hand and the photographer is snapping away. Apply your waterproof mascara, and keep a Kleenex in your pocketbook—you are bound to need it. The bride is ready to walk down the aisle thanks to you.
1: Recovery (aka: Treat Yourself)
It’s over. You did it, Mama! You have reception leftovers in the fridge and an ice pack on your feet—dancing all night in heels is no joke. Your sweet daughter and your brand-new son-in-law are on a flight to the Caribbean, so now it’s time to take yourself to the spa. You deserve it.
For more Southern Living wedding ideas, check out our planning tips for cakes, flowers, and showers.