Mothers, daughters, and weddings—three things that go together, right? Whether it’s picking your wedding flowers, helping you find “the dress,” or simply being a shoulder to cry on, mothers, step-mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers, and all the other “moms” in our lives are there for us every step of the way. They are among the first ones we call when we say “yes, I’ll marry you,” and oftentimes, the last ones on the dance floor to send us off as a newlywed.
“The wedding planning process combines your excitement about this new phase in your life while honoring the past,” Barbi Walters of The Lynden Lane Co. says of collaboration between the bride and mother of the bride. “It is an emotional process, but just remind yourself of how special the process is and how lucky you both are to have each other.”
Walters is the matriarch of her event planning company, The Lynden Lane Co., which she started with her two daughters, Layne Povey and Lyndsey Moore. Not surprisingly, plenty of wedding vendors are mother-daughter teams just like them. From designing lace gowns to running the whole show, these five female duos prove that working with your mom is the best business partner there is.
Building a Family Legacy
Bridal gown designer Ines Di Santo and her daughter Veronica Di Santo jointly run Ines’ namesake company that Ines started as a young mother from Buenos Aires living in Toronto, Canada. Now, the brand is found in top bridal salons and department stores around the world and admired by women everywhere. It is one of the fastest-growing bridal brands in North America, thanks in large part to Veronica’s work as a managing partner.
“Now more than ever, human connections mean so much. When you look at successful design houses, you will often see a husband and wife or a parent and child working together. It is the inherent understanding that flows between these relationships that make them work so well. Trust is significant. Knowing that we understand each other’s goals and that we share many of them is everything. We are building something that hopefully will shine beyond our time.”
Two is Better Than One
Darci and Arden Greenwood run Greenwood Events, a wedding planning company focused on creating timeless, elevated celebrations from their home in Whitefish, Montana. During the pandemic, they even drove to a bride’s parents’ house in North Carolina to throw her family-only micro wedding in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“We read each other so well. Where one of us stops, the other starts. Two is better than one in this case for sure! Sometimes family can be the hardest on each other, but we’re always looking out for each other. We really work harder to lift each other up. After producing a spectacular event, we look at each other with grand smiles. I am sure we will remember so many of those moments forever.”
Pushing To Be the Best
Anna Totonchy moved to the U.S. in 1976 as a newlywed and Iraqi immigrant, hoping to create her own business. She founded Anna’s Bridal Boutique, a bridal gown salon, in her new hometown, Lake Oswego, Oregon, and later brought her daughter, Nora Sheils, into the business. In 2002, Anna supported Nora as she launched a sister brand, Bridal Bliss, a wedding planning company, and today, the pair continue to collaborate with brides, by finding them wedding day looks and décor.
“We have learned so much [from each other], much of which attributes to our success. The mother-daughter relationship is an interesting one, one for us that evolved over the years. We learned that micromanaging each other doesn’t work well but instead having our own separate jobs and coming together to review and brainstorm was a much better route for us. It’s so reassuring to have another business owner to bounce ideas off of, get feedback from, and collaborate with—someone who has our best intentions at heart.”
To which Nora adds: “Being a true Middle Eastern mom, she brings me fruit and snacks every day, which I think is really just an excuse to chat! But I love it.”
Vatana Watters, the owner of the beloved bridal gown company, Watters, brought her daughter, Sydney Watters Dunbar, into the Dallas-based business at the start in 1985, quite literally. Now, the pair lean on their generational differences to produce collections that fit all sorts of bridal styles across their four lines: Watters, Wtoo by Watters, Willowby by Watters, and By Watters.
“It’s like a constant in-house focus group for us. Together we make a perfect person, marrying her experience with my knowledge of more modern technologies, her classic taste with my favorite trends. She is able to guide members of the team from my generation through the land mines, as she says, but wants to see our youthful touch throughout everything in the company. Our similar minds with our generational differences really help us perfect what we are working on as a whole.”
Understanding Every Perspective
Barbi founded The Lynden Lane Co. with her two daughters, Layne and Lyndsey, in southern California with the idea that they could produce detailed, curated events together. They believe style and design are inherent in everything they do, not least of which is the wedding day. Additionally, they give a portion of their revenue to causes close to their heart; this Mother’s Day, they’re focused on Black maternal healthcare initiatives.
“We see things so similarly, but each of us provides a different angle to each event, which adds so much dimension to our design process—as former brides, mother of the bride, and sisters of the bride. There are so many opinions we can take to create a well-rounded, thoughtful event. We are equal partners and lead planners, and so very lucky to be able to share this experience. Always keep in mind that those who helped raise you are celebrating your entire life.”