8 Wedding Planning Tasks the Moms REALLY Want to Work on Now

A kiss for the moms out there!

A kiss for the moms out there!

Wedding planning just got fabulous again for the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom (and step-mothers of the bride & groom!) After going through a few years of the wedding couple hip-checking the moms out of the way, so that they could plan everything and pay for everything, wise wedding couples are inviting the moms to join in the fun of planning the wedding (as well as bunches of events around the actual wedding day!)

Why is mom back in the picture? Here’s why:

* Wedding couples don’t want to miss out on the experience, and the memories, and the photos. Brides and grooms who planned without their moms, and are now among those whose moms are no longer around, or who don’t live nearby, have lots and lots of regrets on missing out on that wonderful mom-adult child bonding time.

* Moms are awesome at event planning, and are really well-connected. They may have a friend who works at Bergdorf’s and can snag you a friends and family discount, or they might work with someone whose caterer or floral designer is amazing. Or, they might rock at negotiating contracts.

* Honestly, it’s an extra wallet or two. Moms have money to spend, which adds to the budget.

* Enough time has gone by, and we now know that couples who left the moms out of the planning have often experienced long-lasting resentments, and perhaps some drama. You know, the old sigh at the holiday dinner table in which Mom talks about her friends who were ‘lucky to be invited to plan’ their daughter’s wedding. Add in another sigh. Some moms can be that way. If yours isn’t, be happy every day.

Now, here are the top wedding planning tasks that moms REALLY want to work on:

1. Picking their own designer dresses, and shoes, and accessories. Duh.

2. Planning parties. The mother of the bride wants that engagement party (which is SO back in style, by the way!) and the mother of the groom wants the morning-after breakfast…but they’re also planning welcome cocktail parties for guest arrival day on the wedding weekend, after-parties for their own friends, and — this is the big one — moms are now 100% etiquette-okay to join the bridesmaids and maid of honor in planning the bridal shower. Everyone’s so busy and cash-strapped, and many of your friends love hanging out with your mom, and the shower might turn out so much more elegantly if mom’s connections, ideas, style, and money are in it. So party-planning it is!

3. Going to tastings. If they can’t score a place at the caterer’s tasting event (as some venues limit it to just the two of you,) they want in on the cake tastings. And dessert tastings if you’re doing pies, dessert bars and other trendy things.

4. Site touring. Moms love joining in on the walk-throughs at potential reception halls, pointing out what’s excellent and what might be a challenge for guests. It always helps to have an extra set of eyes.

5. Attending your gown shopping trips. They want to be there for That Moment when you find The One. Which is why warring or icy moms and step-moms really should try to peacefully co-exist during this time, so that both can be there if you so choose, and you all avoid the taking turns plan that slows down your progress or creates a situation in which your mom wasn’t there when you found The Dress; ‘she’ was there. Drama!

6. Styling the room. They’re all over Pinterest, too, and the moms want to participate in choosing lighting effects, rentals and other things to make the place amazing. They’re not choosing your vintage marquee lights and floral halo over the dance floor. They’re just getting links sent to them from you, as you share the looks you’re finding. So this one might not be planning as much as it is getting a look!

7. Guest list etiquette. Everyone likes to be known as the one who’s ‘in the know,’ so Moms are set up as the guest list etiquette gurus: answering questions about how many kids cousin Clair has now, how to spell the kids’ names, if cousin Kate is remarried to that guy she met at speed dating, if great-uncle Ed is still alive. That kind of stuff. Oh, and titles! Like the current rank your military aunt is, and how to write it on an invitation envelope.

8. The fun stuff. Like sending an invitation to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and baby Prince George, and checking out celebrity wedding dresses and their aisle runners. Watching reality show weddings with you, and more.

For help with wedding tasks, get my books The Mother of the Bride Book and Mother of the Groom.

motherofthebridelargest

 

Top Tips For the Mother of the Bride

Photo courtesy of Caneel Bay Resort

Photo courtesy of Caneel Bay Resort

Congratulations, mother of the bride! You have such an exciting time ahead of you, as you help the bride and groom create the day of their dreams.

You’ve probably noticed that things are not quite the same for the mother of the bride as they were when you got married. Today’s planning team isn’t automatically the bride and her mom. You may be part of a larger team that includes the groom’s parents, or the bride and groom will be doing the majority of the planning on their own. So don’t go into this with huge expectations, or have your feelings hurt that you won’t be in charge of the cake, the flowers, the menu, the locations. Just look forward to meeting with the bride and groom to discuss how THEY’D like their team to work together. Here are some top tips to help you enjoy the wedding preparations, and make everything more special for your daughter.

* Make a promise to yourself, as a parent, that you’ll keep the wishes of the bride and groom paramount, no matter what. Since the wedding is such an important and emotional event, it’s easy to get revved up and want more of your ideas included, to ‘make things nice.’ You have no bad intentions, but you’d be surprised at how the bride may interpret your suggestions as bossing her around. So make it clear from the beginning: you want what they want for the wedding, and you’re there to help create it.

* Respond quickly and deliver completely when you’re asked to help with finding family addresses or other tasks. When you set a foundation at the start of being easy to work with, interested in their wishes, and responsible, you’ll likely be asked to do more.

Momental Designs

Momental Designs

* Let them know what you’d like to be involved with. They’re not mind-readers, so they may not know that it’s a dream of yours to go to cake tastings with them. A simple “I’d love to join you” is far better than insisting, or pouting when you hear they went last weekend.

* Let them know what your talents are. Since weddings are so expensive, couples are looking for ways to save money. If you have a talent for art or a flair for calligraphy, Web design or favor-making, they need to know about that. Again, let them make the decision.

mastrad macaron baking set 1

* Find ways to welcome the groom into the family. Get to know him better, if you haven’t already, and show your approval by including him in family dinners where it’s all about social time, not just wedding planning time.

* Be a stress-relief for the bride. Take her out for coffee or lunch, or to a day spa for manicures, and make it no-wedding-talk time to allow her to step away from wedding stress and nurture your relationship.

* Get your look together. A personal shopper at a department store can help you find a terrific gown for the wedding, as well as dresses for the rehearsal dinner and other events, and you get the same royal treatment as the bride. Personal shopper services are free at Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor, among others…they’ll interview you for your style wishes and colors and sizes, and when you go in for your session, they have all of the outfits and accessories lined up for you.

njb kerry washington oscars dress

* Give meaningful gifts as well as practical ones from the registry. A framed photo of the bride as a little girl, together with a wonderful handwritten letter from you, is a fabulous gift on the morning of the wedding.

* Write a toast. Whether it’s for the rehearsal dinner or the morning-after breakfast, your words make a lasting memory. Or have the bride’s favorite song played for her.

* Keep your fears in line. Don’t be afraid of the change that’s coming to your family, particularly if the bride plans to move after she’s married. Have a plan to stay in touch via e-mail, Skype and visits, and welcome the good things these changes bring. I know, it’s tough to face the huge emotional changes that happen with a wedding, and this is the #1 thing that makes mothers act badly and hurts their relationships with their daughters (which causes the distancing they fear!). Just be honest with the bride and come up with a plan for the future.

* Embrace the in-laws. Find ways to include them in family holidays and dinners — the bride and groom will be sooo relieved if you make that a smooth transition and welcome their loved ones into your circle. You don’t have to be best friends. Just let the bride and groom know they’re welcome as family.

Li-Lac Chocolates

Li-Lac Chocolates

* Never inject your guest list wishes, song wishes, menu wishes, etc. with force. This is not the time for that, even if you’re sure the etiquette rules are on your side. “You have to invite them, since you were a flowergirl at their wedding 20 years ago!” doesn’t fly in today’s wedding rules of the bride and groom choosing their guest list. They know the new etiquette rules, and unless it’s a glaring omission, a must, be gentle with your guidance.

*Don’t forget that you’ll likely get to plan the morning-after breakfast, or perhaps an engagement party of after-party just for your friends, so all of your fantastic ideas can be used for the party you host!

Check out Robert's gorgeous photos!

* Think about renewing your wedding vows months after their wedding if you feel you want to plan a big party of your own. All of your great ideas the bride and groom aren’t open to…they might be better at YOUR party!

motherofthebridelargeimage

Welcome, newly-engaged brides and grooms!

Sharon Naylor is the author of The Mother of the Bride Book and Mother of the Groom, plus 30 additional wedding books, www.sharonnaylor.net .

The Top NEW Wedding Tips for the Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom

motherofthebridelargestMother_of_the_Groom

 

Moms, you have it good these days when it comes to the wedding! So much has changed in the past few years, giving you more opportunities to join in the fun of planning the big day…and lots of other fabulously fun events surrounding it.

Today’s magnificent mom isn’t being left out in the cold while the bride and groom plan and pay for their wedding (as we saw for a few years there.) She’s a welcome member of the bridesmaid circle, helping to plan and co-hosting the bridal shower, attending dress shopping trips with the bride, going to cake tastings and site tours. And she gets to dazzle in her wedding day dress, not to mention hosting a number of great parties.

So here are some top tips for you, moms of the wedding:

  1. Engagement parties are back! Parents are once again throwing parties to celebrate the big news, and these at-home or restaurant parties are impressive even on a budget. They can be casual backyard cookouts, or champagne cocktail parties, even family-style dinners with just the family present. You get to plan a chic or simple party of your own styling, using your choice of colors and themes, picking the menu and even designing the cake!
  2. You get to wear an amazing dress. The bride isn’t telling the moms what color to wear. She does get to say whether she wants you in a long or short dress to coordinate with the bridal party and match the formality, but your dress trying-on excursion with the bride has you making all the calls about the color you’d love to wear, the amount of sparkle you want on your dress, and the style that you feel best in. Gown designers offer the most stylish dresses for moms that we’ve ever seen, so you’re ultra-lucky to be the mom of the wedding now with so many fashionable choices open to you.
  3. You may get to co-host the shower. With bridesmaids spending over $1,000 for each wedding they’re in, they need an extra planner to share the work and the cost, so moms are often welcomed into the circle to make that great bridal shower possible for the bride. You’re not the lead planner – that’s the Maid of Honor – but you are a part of the circle, with your ideas likely included in the celebration.
  4. Connect with the other mom, or moms. It’s old-world etiquette for the parents of the bride to invite the parents of the groom for a meeting. You might already know each other, but if you don’t, and even if a get-together isn’t possible due to your locations, it’s now a Must for the mother of the bride to reach out to the mother of the groom to share her excitement and say she’s looking forward to working with her on the big day for the bride and groom, and to being an extended family after the big day.
  5. You’ll work with the other mom, and step-mom. You might think that certain tasks are yours, according to etiquette – like the rehearsal dinner being the mother of the groom’s to plan, and the morning-after breakfast being for the mother of the bride. But now, the wedding couple might ask you both to pair up to work on one of these parties, or on other elements of the wedding preparations.
  6. Your skills come into play. You may have a talent or a craft that can save the bride and groom a ton of money, so you might be asked to graphic design their save the dates, or make a cake for the bridal shower, sew the table runners, or make any DIY favors or décor items.
  7. Your contacts come into play. If you know someone who owns a floral shop, your contact can get the couple a great Friends and Family discount. So look through your contacts list and check with friends to see who they might be able to connect you with. Your network can get a fabulous wedding location, flowers, food, décor, a classic car…you never know.
  8. They get to create the guest list. You may want all of your best friends and colleagues at the wedding, but the bride and groom get to decide how big a wedding they want, and that they want to personally know everyone there. So expect that you might only be ‘given’ a few extra invites, and skip the big drama that so many other moms experience when they forget whose day it is and want more of their own friends there than the couple has of their own.
  9. Be there for the bride. Planning a wedding is stressful, so make sure you take the bride out of wedding world every now and then for a girls’ day out or for coffee, with no wedding talk allowed. Just let her have time with her mom.
  10. If your ideas aren’t accepted for the wedding, save them for your own parties! You can also plan your own after-party with your close friends and relatives, or a welcome soiree for your circle at the start of the wedding weekend, or you might even save your brilliant plans for your wedding vow renewal, or some other party you’ll plan in the future.
  11. Here’s the big one, the best for last: don’t offer to pay for everything, or for anything big, at the start of the engagement. The bride and groom will count on that when they start booking their sites and pros, and if something happens along the way that takes a chunk out of your funds, you don’t want to crush them and feel horrible if you have to cancel your offer. Just hang tight, and wait a little bit before you make any huge financial promises, and it’s a smart idea to stash the money needed for your promise into an untouchable savings account so that you can deliver on that promised element.

I have tons more tips for you in my books, so get them here:

The Mother of the Bride Book

http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Of-The-Bride-Book-Daughter-Wonderful-Wedding/dp/0806527188/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360688069&sr=8-2&keywords=mother+of+the+bride+book

Mother of the Groom

http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Groom-Everything-Enjoy-Wedding/dp/0806526459/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360688100&sr=1-1&keywords=mother+of+the+groom

 

Fab Find! Le Palais Des Thes Tea Sets, Canisters and Candles

palais des thescandle

When I received this Palais Des Thes candle as part of my Bridal Guide 50 best bridal party gifts, it was love. Such a sweet and wonderful scent even without unwrapping the package, yet not overpowering. I consider it an upscale candle, perfect for giving to your mom, mom-in-law, your wedding coordinator, floral designer, as well as your bridesmaids and maid of honor for their thank-you gifts. And they’ll thank you. Here’s a little bit about my new favorite candle of all time:

The fragrance of the Fleur de Geisha tea-scented candle evokes the fragility of the first flowers of the season and the pearlescent sweetness of rice powder. As the candle burns, its perfume rises – airy, celestial and virginal. A veritable celebration of purity.

Made to the highest standards, this candle will delicately scent your home for about fifty hours.

$49

http://us.palaisdesthes.com/en_us/the-fleur-de-geisha-scented-candle.html

palais des thesteaboxHere’s another fab find for the Moms: I always love to have a great tea caddy or box on hand for when guests are over, and since moms might host an engagement party or the rehearsal dinner, or just have relatives over to the house after the wedding, this gift gives them a fantastic way to offer their guests a wonderful cup of tea. Here’s a little about this gift:

Le Palais des Thés has hand-picked nine green teas from its selection of grands crus and perfumed creations for this beautiful box-set of fifty-four muslin tea bags.

Each tea bag comes in an individual stay-fresh sachet, ensuring optimal conservation and preserving the freshness of the tea once opened. The aromatic richness of whole tea leaves thus remains intact. When infused in 150ml of simmering water, the tea bags recreate the unique taste of each fine and flavoured tea.
Our muslin tea bags are manufactured with meticulous care: whole tea leaves are enclosed in large cotton muslin squares, giving them room to unfurl and release their full flavour.

The box-set contains 54 muslin tea bags, i.e. 6 of each of the following 9 varieties: Thé du Hammam, Thé des Moines, Fleur de Geisha, Sencha Ariake, Tamaryokucha Impérial, Long Jing, Grand Jasmin Chun Feng, Thé des Sources and Thé des Alizés.
Each tea bag contains approximately 2g of tea.

$49

http://us.palaisdesthes.com/en_us/green-teas-selection-box-tea-bags.html#

palais des thescanister1palais des thescanister2If you’re on a budget, check out the lovely tea canisters — there are lots of them on the site, in pretty colors and designs. This description is for the green bambo0 one shown above:

TAKEKURABE WASHI BOX “COMPETITION OF GROWING BAMBOO”
Washi tea caddy decorated with dancing bamboo shoots symbolizing fertility.

Washi paper, made from the fibres of the paper mulberry plant, is traditionally used in Japan to cover tea canisters. With their gold and pearly details, the papers are decorated with patterns often found on kimonos and Japanese textiles. Le Palais des Thés has discovered a series of wonderfully fresh prints for its new collection: dragonfly in the afterglow, white plum flower, competition of growing bamboo… a range of patterns that pay tribute to nature.

Each box has a double lid for perfect storage.

$16

http://us.palaisdesthes.com/en_us/tea-gifts/tea-tins-canisters.html

So, Le Palais Des Thes becomes my very first triple-pick of Fab Finds! Check them out if you’re a tea person, and you can’t go wrong giving these tea-themed gifts out to the moms, your bridesmaids and your favorite wedding vendors.

WeddingMapper.com Question of the Day: Rehearsal Dinner Guest List Solution

brides guide to freebies
This great wedding planning question came in to my column at www.weddingmapper.com, and it’s a dilemma for a lot of parents. So I thought I’d share it here, in case you’re facing the same rehearsal dinner guest list questions:

Question:
Hi Sharon,
I am the Mother of the Groom planning a rehearsal dinner in July. My husband and I have our own idea of who is invited to this affair, based on 30 years ago, but today’s generation of 20 somethings have a different idea! My problem is considering what the Bride and Groom want-inviting all guests to the rehearsal dinner who will be coming in to town for the wedding, “after all they have to have someplace to eat dinner”, will turn the Rehearsal Dinner into another, although slightly smaller,’reception’. Most of my family will be the out of towners, all of whom my future daughter in law has met and knows very well. The only guests she doesn’t know are some close friends of ours from high school and college, who wouldn’t expect to be invited to the rehearsal dinner. Where do we draw the line in inviting guests to the Rehearsal Dinner? I thought it was supposed to be a time for the B & G to say thanks to their wedding party, and anyone else involved in the ceremony, and give gifts to them. That would be very awkward with alot of other guests around who they will be seeing the next day.
Thank you for your thoughts.

Answer:

Hi Terry!

The trend of inviting all out of towners to the rehearsal dinner has actually faded out a bit now, given the economy and the expense of the wedding. While it’s completely understandable that the bride and groom want to have their out of town guests’ dinner provided, what’s being done now, more often, is just the immediate family and bridal party invited to the rehearsal dinner — for the reasons you mentioned — and out of town guests provided with a list of nearby eateries, or a cocktail party planned for LATER the night before….after the rehearsal dinner. The out of town guests get the picture that they’re not invited to the rehearsal dinner (which may be early at 6pm) when they’re invited to a Welcome Cocktail Party at the hotel, where drinks and light hors d’oeuvres are served. They can take their time arriving, unpacking and mingling, perhaps going to the hotel lounge on their own to eat, and then they know they’ll see you all at the cocktail party later. It keeps costs down, creates a festive atmosphere for that night, gives the bride and groom quality time with their guests, and keeps the toats and gift-giving at the rehearsal dinner to the smaller group.

It’s always the host’s choice of which plan to do…if the bride and groom really want all of the guests at the rehearsal dinner, then think about doing a heavier-appetizers cocktail party for all to keep expenses lower, limit the bar list, and have the bride and groom give their bridal party members their gifts at an earlier arrival time set for them. Toasts can still be made, so this might be a good compromise plan.

Talk to the bride and groom to see what you can arrange…they might be looking for more relaxed time to spend with a greater circle of incoming guests.
Sharon Naylor

Wedding Books for the Moms!

Moms are asking me a lot of questions these days — does the mother of the groom have to wear taupe? (No!) Can they help plan the bridal shower? (Yes!) Which kinds of parties can they plan? (How about an After-Party just for your friends? Or a wedding weekend event?)

Check out my bestselling books for the Moms — you’ll find all of your etiquette questions answered, style tips, party ideas, budget smarts, and how to work with the bride and groom, setting yourself up for a happier future with them!

 

 

 

 

Get them here: www.sharonnaylor.net, on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble or anywhere books are sold!

Moms, send your questions to me here, and I can give you tips!

Wedding Toasts Mistakes to Avoid

Wedding season brings about lots of opportunities for wedding toasts and other speeches, so if you’re a bride or groom, Best Man, Maid of Honor, parents of the bride or groom or other honored guest, check out my Top Wedding Toasts Mistakes to Avoid post on Wedding Scoops!