Even mothers and daughters, who are the best of friends — under normal circumstances — may have trouble working together to plan a wedding. It's an emotionally charged experience. I can say with authority, looking back at my own wedding planning 12 years ago, even the most rational women start to sound completely insane when things get stressful.
Your mother has been imagining the excitement of your big day since you were an infant. My mother and I used to play "plan the wedding" on car trips when I was little— perhaps the origin of my own love for event planning— and she had a very specific vision of what my wedding day would look like. When the big day finally arrived, very little of what I actually chose resembled anything my mother and I had discussed in the car when I was five.
It's fine to change your mind about how you want to celebrate your wedding day. You might want to get married where you live, instead of where you grew up, for example. Maybe your mom imagined a formal luncheon, and you want your reception to go all night long. Whatever the difference, you will probably get most of what you wanted in the end, but you have to watch your temper along the way.
It can be hard to keep yourself from saying stupid things when you're frustrated or upset, but some things can't be taken back once they're said. Try to avoid the following three phrases specifically— they're guaranteed to get you in more trouble:
1. "This is my wedding, you had yours."
Your mother is well aware it's your wedding. You have to keep in mind that when your mom got married, she probably did not get to plan it herself. She likely didn't have a whole lot of say because traditionally, parents planned their daughters' weddings. She was the guest of honor, not the hostess. Times have changed and brides do make 99 percent of their own decisions, now. Keep in mind that your mother may have gotten the short end of the stick and never been given the opportunity to be the primary decision-maker when planning a wedding.
2. "Fine. I'll pay for it myself then!"
Wow, that's a stupid thing to say in the heat of the moment if your parents were willing to share wedding costs. Sometimes, it takes some compromise to choose something that both you and your mom can live with, but it's worth the effort. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face by disrespecting her generosity.
3. "If you don't like it, you don't have to come."
Now that's just mean. Your mother wants to be there and wouldn't consider missing your wedding, even if you choose a wedding gown she hates. When you say something so dismissive, your mother hears you saying that you don't care if she's at your wedding. And you don't mean that.
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.