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Planning the Honeymoon and 9 More Things the Mother of the Bride Should Never Do

posted: 05/08/15
by: Blythe Copeland
mother of the bride
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Mother-of-the-brides can be your best friend or worst enemy.
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Helping your daughter plan her wedding can bring the two of you together for one of life's most exciting, memorable milestones. But you want the wedding to memorable for all the right reasons--and not because you committed one of these cardinal mother of the bride (or groom!) faux pas. From dressing to drinking, find out how you can avoid going from your daughter's biggest supporter to her biggest nightmare.

1. Don't make the honeymoon plans

It may have always been up to you to plan the family vacations--book the mountain house, reserve the cruise, set up the tee times--but your daughter is officially an adult now. It's important for the newly married couple to make decisions (and compromises) together, and the honeymoon is the first major event of their married life. Feel free to suggest your favorite Caribbean island or slip them some spending money, but it's no longer up to you to remind them to get to the airport on time, tell them what to pack, or insist they make copies of their passport. Channel all that spare planning energy into coordinating your own romantic getaway, where you can toast to the successful job you've done raising such a well-organized daughter.

2. Don't match the bride

We don't really need to tell you this, do we? The bride will most likely have a few ideas (or more than a few) about what you should wear, but even if she gives you free rein, you should stay away from anything in the white or ivory family--especially if the dress is long, beaded, strapless, or has any other attributes in common with a wedding gown. You may look gorgeous, but you'll have all the guests talking about your fashion choice instead of the bride's.

3. Don't get wasted

Trust us: You do not want to end up as one of those urban legend moms (or mothers-in-law) who had one too many apple martinis and ended up flirting with the bartender/jumping into the hotel pool fully clothed/flashing the groom's father (or worse). We're not suggesting you ban yourself from all cocktails (you've earned more than a fe), but pay attention to how many champagne refills hit your glass and alternate your drinks with water--which will also keep you energized for a late night on the dance floor.

4. Don't commandeer the guest list

When the bride and groom say they are hoping for 150 people at the wedding and reception, they don't mean 150 of your closest friends. While family members and close friends of the parents almost always get an invite, you should graciously step back from inviting all of your coworkers, neighbors, and childhood acquaintances--at least until the bride and groom have set their list. They want to spend their happy day with the people who mean the most to them; your hairdresser probably doesn't fall into that category.

5. Don't share family secrets

Whether you're giving a toast at the rehearsal dinner or wedding, or just chatting with the guests, refrain from sharing the bride's most awkward teenage moments, stories of the groom's wild bachelor party, or the details behind the falling out you had with your sister at the wedding shower. And if you're not sure whether a story you have in mind is sweet or embarrassing, run it by an impartial observer (try the maid of honor) before working it into the celebration. As a general rule, tales of ex-boyfriends, underage run-ins with the cops, or anything that belongs in the "It Happened to Me" section of a teen magazine should be off-limits.

6. Don't show up late

Not just for the wedding: Don't show up late for the sit-down with the florist, the cake tasting, the dress fitting, the rehearsal dinner, the day-of hair appointments, or any other wedding-related event. The bride already has bridesmaids, groomsmen, in-laws, and vendors to keep track of; she's counting on you to be one less person to worry about. Pro tip: Showing up early to most of these events with a extra coffee in hand for the bride will never go unappreciated.

7. Don't bad-mouth the new in-laws

Maybe you're not such a fan of your son-in-law's family: His dad's feeling that a t-shirt is fancy enough for any occasion, his mom's name-dropping, his brother's political views. These are thoughts that should be kept to yourself--not just when you're spending time with your daughter and her husband, but especially during the wedding when his family is nearby. If you have serious concerns about his family, you should bring them up to your daughter in advance, but if you're just getting accustomed to their annoying habits, keep quiet (and remember that they're getting accustomed to yours, too.)

8. Don't expect money to buy you control

Giving the bride and groom money toward the wedding is generous of you, whether you are footing the bill entirely or just paying for a small portion of the wedding, but assuming that contributing means you are in control of the wedding details is a guaranteed way to cause problems. Suggesting colors, family or cultural traditions to include, and other ceremony or reception ideas is fine, but leave the final decisions to the bride and groom. If you feel strongly about a specific vendor, you can always offer to pay for a certain service or person--but be prepared for the couple to say no if it doesn't fit in with their plans.

9. Don't change her plans

Once the bride and groom have made their decisions, whether it's the flowers, the invitations, the bar menu, or the first dance song, consider it set in stone. You should never go behind the couple's back to alter a plan they've made, no matter how much you prefer lilies to roses or Chianti to Cabernet. The "mother of the bride" title confers a great amount of power on you, but with great power comes great responsibility. Use it for dressing down a rude waiter or making sure the limo shows up on time, not second-guessing your daughter.

10. Don't be afraid to call it off

Cold feet are one thing, but if your daughter is telling you--really, really telling you--that she doesn't want to go through with the wedding, let her call it off. Don't mention the money you've spent. Don't say a word about the gifts to return or the disappointed guests. Help her make the decision that's right for her and the groom, and give her your full support no matter what it is. Then call the venue and the vendors, inform the guests, and give your precious little girl a shoulder to cry on until she feels better.