Photo: Dani Leigh Photography
Nowadays, it's not uncommon for a bride and groom to plan their entire wedding with very little assistance or input from parents. I've had clients who planned destination weddings for the sole purpose of maintaining complete control of the planning. But, more often than not, there are some wedding planning tasks that would be easier if the bride would involve her mother.
If your wedding invitation is traditional and is actually from your parents to the guests, you should talk to your parents at the outset about the wording. Sometimes they have a preference — especially if they're divorced — and you should honor that request. Get your mother's opinion on the invitations you like best. She might have a better idea, or she might like what you've chosen. I thought I had my invitations nailed down, and my mom took the scallop shell theme I was using and found something much, much nicer. When I balked at the cost, she picked up the tab. It was important to her because the invitation was coming from her, and therefore, represented her taste and style as well as mine. Keep that in mind when you want to tell your mother that it's YOUR wedding!
Your mom may also have some excellent advice about your wedding registry — what you really need and what you really don't. Of course, what you actually register for and where you choose to register, is entirely up to you. But your mom has years of experience and can tell you honestly how much she's used certain things and what she believes is essential.
If you work out of the house in the daytime and having packages delivered to your home address is shady business, your mother might be the best person to receive all the wedding gifts from your registry. She's also a great person to have receive all the RSVPs (especially if the invite is from her) and catalog the responses for your spreadsheet.
Don't underestimate the value of your mother's opinion when choosing your wedding dress and dresses for your bridesmaids. If you don't care for a dress your girls have chosen, your mom will be the first one to back you up. And unless she's historically been hard on your self-esteem, she'll give you honest feedback on the dresses you're trying on. Your best friend might not want to tell you that a mermaid-style dress isn't very flattering to your backside, but your mother won't let you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on something that is truly unflattering, even if she has to hurt your feelings a little bit in the moment.
Depending on your age and experience level, you might choose to have your mother review contracts, and help with other "business" matters of the wedding. The key, at the end of the day, is to let your mother help you with things she knows more about. It will take a lot of pressure off you and your fiancé!
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional," will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.