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Ask Team Practical: Where’s Time for Mom?

How to honor the mother of the bride

I am the Mother of the Bride. My daughter is an incredible young woman who is passionate about life and has a positive attitude towards EVERYTHING. She amazes me and I am very proud of the woman she has become. She and her fiance have planned and coordinated their wedding including every little detail. From creating their own invitation/centerpieces and ceremony. Her father and I have been divorced for 18 years. During her younger years, her father although involved in their lives through me, was a non-participatory parent. I was the sole care giver and provider through the young adolescent and teen age years. We had some difficult times, but was her advocate every step of the way. We are extremely close and great friends. When she and her sister were older, their father was able to establish a better relationship with them and they have become friends. I am happy they have built a relationship with their father. Which brings me to the wedding. My daughter wants a somewhat traditional wedding with her father walking her down the aisle. Her father will be walking her down the aisle and… there will be a father daughter dance. I would like my “moment” with her as well. Is there some sort of “moment” you think would be appropriate? My daughter is so happy and so in love with her fiance, she is walking on air. I do not want her to know that I am hurt I was not considered to also walk her down the aisle. That is why I was thinking…. maybe… there would be something I can do to participate in her wedding day other than helping her to get ready for the big day. Any ideas, thoughts, direction? 

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

As much as it stings, I’m really guessing your daughter wasn’t trying to exclude you or intending to slight you. Often those traditional roles aren’t thoughtfully considered, and it’s easy to think, “Oh, dad goes into this spot, here’s my dad, let’s put him here.” It’s really easy to get caught up in how things are “supposed” to be done, rather than just ask, “Who do I want to honor?”

So, running with that assumption: ask her. It feels super rude to say, “Hey, how’re you going to honor me at this thing? (and it would be) But it’s not rude to ask her for a special moment in the day. There’s a back and forth, mutual honoring and loving component to weddings. Couples choose who they’d like to honor, yeah, but loved ones get to jump in and love on that couple (in couple-approved sorts of ways). Asking to have a place in the ceremony or reception doesn’t mean, “I want to be special too!” so much as, “I’m excited for you and I want to show everyone,” or, “I want to honor our relationship.” Both of which are a-okay requests.

I’d just flat out ask if she has any ideas first (she might once you get her thinking), but consider coming to the conversation equipped with ideas of your own, just in case. Is there a special reading from her childhood, a song you’d like to sing, a toast you’d like to propose? Maybe she would be comfortable with both of you walking her down the aisle (it might never have occurred to her!) or maybe she could add in a special dance with mom. It sounds like your daughter was stuck in the mire of traditionalism. Don’t you do the same! Instead of looking at the wedding, trying to find a little cut-out where you fit, think about how you’d like to honor your relationship with your daughter. Then, see how that figures in a wedding. What sorts of things do you two share? How can you share them through the wedding?

Meanwhile, let’s ask the smart, smart APW community for their ideas.

*****

You heard me, Team Practical, how do you honor your mom in your wedding? Have you ever asked to be involved in a ceremony that didn’t already have a special place for you?

Photo by APW sponsor Lisa Wiseman.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

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