It’s no wonder mothers have a tendency to go a little crazy during wedding planning. I mean, really. After a all those years of raising your kid and loving the shit out of them, you’re getting ready let go and celebrate their new family, and you get… nothing. Traditional weddings are packed with celebrations of fathers: dads walking daughters down the aisle, father-daughter dance songs, heartfelt father to son toasts. But the moms? They get a corsage and a front row seat, if they’re lucky. We live in a culture that celebrates women in theory, and often doesn’t treat them very well in practice—but we save a special kind of double speak for moms. (“Motherhood is the hardest job in the world, but please don’t nurse in here.) We spend a lot of time thinking about ways to make the role of bride more feminist, but it’s easy to let other traditions slide by, unchecked. In so doing, it’s easy to forget to properly honor the women in our lives.
When a mother wrote in to APW recently, saying that after raising her daughter almost entirely on her own, she was left with no special moment with her daughter at the wedding, my heart broke. So we decided to put some leg-work into creating ways to honor the women in your life, during your wedding. Maybe for you it’s your mama, or maybe it’s your grandmother, or your aunt, or your godmother. No matter what women had a hand in raising you and loving you, today is about giving them a moment of celebration. Today’s playlist works to reflect the complexity and diversity of mother child relationship. We have the folk tributes and the cheesy ballads, but we also have songs for single mothers, and songs for families who survived abuse. This list aims to celebrate the women who helped raise you up, no matter what that relationship looked like.
And as usual, give us your best stuff in the comments. You guys always have the very best suggestions.
1. “Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant
2. “Love Me Like A Rock” by Paul Simon
3. “In My Life” by The Beatles
4. “Hey Mama” by Kanye
5. “Unwed Fathers” by John Prine
6. “Oh Mother” by Christina Aguilera
7. “Upward Over The Mountain” by Iron & Wine
8. “Dear Mama” 2Pac
9. “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion
10. “Like My Mother Does” by Lauren Alaina
11. “Nothing’s Gonna Harm You” by Barbara Streisand
12. “Take Your Mama” by Scissor Sisters