Dear Wedding Maven,
I’m a newly engaged woman. My fiancé and I have not decided on our bridesmaids, maid of honor, groomsmen and best man. My mother is very demanding and controlling. She wants to be the mother of the bride as well as the maid of honor. I have told her that I don’t think its a good idea, but every time we talk she brings it up. I love my mother but I don’t want her to take over MY wedding as I know she will try to do if I make her my maid of honor. What would you suggest for handling her once I tell her that I’m not picking her as my maid of honor?
I’m also dealing with my sister wanting to be the maid of honor. We don’t get along and when I told her that I didn’t think she would be in the wedding party at all just as a guest she said, “Well I’m your only sister and I should be involved.” She really is not very trustworthy when it comes to money or anything valuable, so I don’t think I can trust her enough to give her any responsibilities. How do I handle her?
My future husband is talking bout having his two best friends as the groomsmen/best men, which is fine with me but one of them has very insecure wife and will not have him walking another woman down the aisle. So if my fiancé does pick him I will have to pick her as a bridesmaid, which knocks out someone who I really want in it. What should I do?
My fiancé is already tired of all the disagreements about OUR day. He says that he is thinking about running away and eloping in Vegas, I don’t want this to happen do you have any suggestions? Sorry for all the questions all at once....
Newly engaged stressed bride to be in Louisville, Kentucky
Dear Newly Engaged,
I am also from Louisville, so I feel like I have a little special insight into your letter. My guess is that you are a very nice girl who has been taught that nice girls do not make other people unhappy, and do not say “no.” You are surrounded by very strong willed people who push your “nice southern girl” buttons to get you to do what they want.
Let’s start with the easiest question first, your fiancé’s best man. Your fiancé should ask who he wants to be in his wedding party. It is up to his friend to deal with his own crazy wife and tell her that walking down the aisle with someone is not cheating on her. He’ll have to make his own decision about whether or not to be in the wedding party. If you really want to accommodate the crazy wife, then the groomsmen could start the wedding off at the front of the church next to the groom, so that he isn’t walking anyone down the aisle. At the end of the wedding you and your husband leave, followed by your bridesmaids walking together in pairs, then the groomsmen walking together in pairs. Problem solved!
Your other problems will be much easier to solve if you go ahead and pick your bridal party. Figure out whom YOU want as your maid of honor and bridesmaids, and ask them. Then, you can say to your mother “Mom, I love you very much but you are not my maid of honor, Belle is my maid of honor.”
This is not going to be the end of your problems with your mother trying to take over your wedding. You’ve had a lifetime of trying to make her happy, and her being controlling and demanding. You are now trying to establish a new way of dealing with her, and she’s not going to like it. But, you’re an adult now and unless you want to spend the rest of your life giving into her, it’s important that you set up boundaries. Be polite, but be firm and consistent. If possible, give her a task or an area of the wedding that she CAN control. Perhaps she could be in charge of the flower arrangements? Maybe she could throw an engagement party?
You can deal with your sister in a very similar manner. Let her know that she is not one of your bridesmaids, but you’d love her help with something. Assign your sister some tasks such as researching bands or caterers that you will actually be doing yourself. That way, if your sister falls down on her responsibilities, it won’t actually cost you any time.
If being around your sister is stressful for you, then she should not be included in activities that you and your bridesmaids will be doing. However, if you can manage to include her in things like trips to get your hair done, or working on the programs, then try and do so. That way, she’ll feel involved and will hopefully reduce her pouting. Issue the invitations one at a time though, to make sure that she won’t stress you out.
Now, you didn’t ask me about this, but I am a little concerned about your comments about your fiancé. You’ve spent your life surrounded by strong-willed people who try and control you. It’s important that your fiancé be a source of support and strength FOR you, not another person who issues demands. Remember, your fiancé can’t run away and elope to Vegas without you! So, the only thing you need to do to prevent that is don’t get on the plane!
Do you need wedding advice? Do you have a question about wedding etiquette, traditions, or relationships? Write The Wedding Maven at firstname.lastname@example.org.