Photo: New Line/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
As wedding planning kicks into high gear, you may find yourself fretting over one thing you never anticipated: Your loving mother or future mother-in-law has turned into a Momzilla. What began with suggestions on color palette has snowballed into demands such as she gets final approval on the dress. Before you scrap the wedding of your dreams and elope for the sake of simplicity — and your sanity — take a deep breath and keep the following advice in mind.
Understand that emotions create Momzillas
There's a chance mom has been dreaming about the milestones in your life — including your wedding — since the day she first held you. That can lead to feelings of anxiety and abandonment as the big day draws near. "That's why they're texting you all the time, losing their cool when a plan changes, coming up with a million ideas, pushing for what they think is best," says Sharon Naylor, author of The Mother of the Bride Book and Mother of the Groom. "They want you to have the perfect day."
See More: 30 Emotional Mother-of-the-Bride Moments
Be firm in your vision, but make moms feel included
Make a list of the no-compromise details you and your fiancé are unwilling to forgo on your wedding day. If parents are paying, that doesn't give them the right to veto these decisions, says New York City-based Marilynn Nereo, PhD in clinical psychology, LMFT, and LPC. But if money comes with the condition that mom and dad have final say, be prepared to lose those funds if your vision doesn't fit theirs.
Prevent bruised egos by including moms in your planning from the get-go. Invite them to dress fittings, ask for their opinions on cake design, and take advantage of their talents — have them design a monogram or advise on the menu.
Tell mom when she's overstepped her bounds
It's not an easy conversation to have, but Nereo says the earlier you discuss it — the better. Make time to talk to your mom or MIL in person, and open by thanking her for the nice things she has done for you. Follow with a frank explanation why her decisions or actions are causing problems. Take a firm tone — not an angry one. (Vent to a friend before hand to let it out.)
"It's your turn to decide the direction you want your life to go, and your wedding day is the first formal day of that commitment," Nereo says. "Think: 'We will do the best we can in letting our parents know what that direction will be, knowing that we have time in our future to perfect their understanding of us. This is a new beginning and the focus on this day is on us.'"