At midnight one night we received a call from Paris from our eldest daughter and her fiancé, telling us they had got engaged. The excitement began. We welcomed them home, saw the ring and met his parents. We had a meal together, talking excitedly about the wedding and not quite believing that this was actually happening.
Since then, my conversation has included fairy lights and fascinators, swatches and sketches. I have begun to realise that, if my daughter is the bride-to-be, I am to be the mother-of-the-bride (MOB). Since this is the first time for me, I am not at all sure what that means. What I do realise is that it means something very different today from what it meant when my own mother was MOB for me.
One of the first things I did was to organise an engagement party for the bridesmaids and some of my daughter’s female relatives. I was in my element, planning a menu around different themes of marriage, displaying pictures of my daughter and her fiancé and drawing up fun quizzes with the help of the MOH (maid of honour).
Then we went wedding-dress shopping. I felt curiously offended when the shop assistant in the first shop asked the bride-to-be what kind of a mother I was. When she proceeded to tell me that her biggest problem was not with Bridezillas but with MOBzillas, I felt sure I was receiving the message loud and clear. As she shooed me and my younger daughter (the MOH) out of the changing room, I wondered what exactly this new role of MOB would entail – or what kind of a MOB I would turn out to be.
Fortunately our wedding-dress shopping got better as the day went on and I discovered that one of the best parts of the job of MOB is to help the bride-to-be to choose her dress. I think I actually enjoyed that day better than the bride-to-be! I also got to help the MOH to choose her dress – and of course I have had lots of fun choosing my own outfit.
But what else is the job of the MOB, apart from learning what all these strange initials stand for and choosing outfits? And how does she make sure she is not a MOBzilla?
Here are some things I have learned in these early stages – some I have read and some I have been told my friends:
- First and foremost, be a warm listener, chief cheerleader, constant complimenter, and otherwise a source of support for your daughter.
- Help the bride find her wedding dress (and help her to enjoy it if you can).
- Help look for wedding and reception locations (this was easy for us).
- If you haven’t already met, contact the groom’s parents and arrange to meet (we have made two lovely new friends).
- Choose your mother-of-the-bride dress as soon as possible, then let the groom’s mother know. (Don’t listen to the nonsense that you need to keep it a secret from everyone – surely you can trust the groom’s mother! And don’t stress over this. I read somewhere that this is the most important outfit you will buy, after your own wedding dress. No pressure then! Forget it – buy something you will look good in and feel comfortable in. And if your daughter likes it – and your husband does as well – you have a winner!)
- Discuss the wedding budget with your daughter and her fiancé (don’t stress over it – take it slowly and gently).
- Discuss and confirm the guest list (ditto).
- Reserve blocks of hotel rooms for your out-of-town guests (and send flight advice if needed).
- Help spread the word about where the couple are registered. (I presume this means where they have registered a gift list!)
- Act as hostess at the wedding and reception, making sure guests are comfortable. (If not, I’m not sure what I can do!)
- Help your daughter with any other details she asks you to! (With pleasure!)
- Whatever you think of wedding plans, remember that this is their day – not yours. (Good advice!)
- Let the bride cry on your shoulder anytime, day or night (you know, be a mum).
So….what do you think? Any other jobs for the MOB?