Q: I love my mom, but she can be… intense. She is so excited about the wedding, in a totally exhausting way that has sucked the joy out of planning for me. I have tried to be very kind to her—I know it’s just because she loves us—but I am thinking about doing something hurtful.
I am dreading dress shopping because I know it will be difficult. My mom has a lot of feelings invested in The Dress and nothing less than an outrageously expensive gigantic gown will do. It’s her dream to see me as (her version of) a Real Bride, you know? But I just want a simple knee-length dress that fits well and is comfortable, and I don’t want to spend more than $300. Also, shopping for hours (days???) and being the center of attention is my nightmare. I’ve done it as a bridesmaid before, and I know it’s not for me. My preference would be to order a few suitable options online, so I can try them on in the comfort and privacy of my own home, make a decision by myself, and return whatever doesn’t work.
I fantasize about ONE part of this whole planning being simple and easy, and I’m scared of being pressured into a dress I hate. I know if she sees a dress she likes, she’ll buy it on the spot. I’ve tried to talk to her about my ideas for the dress but she’s not hearing me at all. I want to secretly do the online dress-buying plan, and then only show her the dress I choose, and bypassing the whole “finding The Dress” experience entirely. I know my mom will be really, really hurt if I do this.
What should I do? Is there another option I’m not seeing? Thanks for any advice or perspective on this.
I know, it seems like it would be easiest to just skip addressing the whole thing with your mom and secretly do what you want. But with so, so many of these wedding decisions, you’re talking about personal decisions that other folks are really emotionally invested in. And sometimes, what seems “easiest” just signs you up for a bunch of emotional fallout that isn’t so easy after all.
Instead, what’s probably simplest (while not being altogether painless) is to lay some really, really clear expectations at the outset.
This sounds like, “Mom, we can go window shopping, but we are absolutely not purchasing anything today.” Or maybe, “You can be there when I try on the dresses I order online, but they’re probably not anything like what you’d hoped I’d wear.” But definitely, “If you’re not down for these plans, I’ll just be choosing, trying on, and buying the dress by myself.” Let your mom know up front what you’re doing, and allow her to decide if she’s willing to comply and be involved, or not comply and be excluded.
More than anything, your mom just wants the whole dress experience. And I’m guessing you want to feel great in your dress. Figure out boundaries like the ones I just mentioned to compromise a bit, while you both still manage to get what you really want. It probably won’t be easy for either of you, but yeesh, is mom stuff ever easy?
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