How To Keep Mom Happy - Tips to Avoid a Momzilla

Photo by Barclay Horner Wedding Photography

A momzilla can be a terrible distraction for you and your partner in planning the day of your dreams. Since the moment she knew she was having a baby girl, your mom has been imagining your wedding day. Mom can be your greatest confidant and sometimes your worst enemy as emotions and anxiety runs high during wedding planning. We have outlined some of our expert tips on keeping mom happy. 

Photo by Daly Proof Photography

Start things on the right foot.

  • As soon as you break the big news of your engagement (and send a ring pic), you may be bombarded with questions like when? where? how many guests? Before you can answer any of these questions, a financial discussion needs to occur with all contributing parties. Just like in a marriage, a huge point of contention during wedding planning is finances. 
  • If one or more parties make the generous decision to contribute financially toward your big day, ALWAYS and REPEATEDLY say thank you. Nothing can put a bad taste in mom's mouth like a lack of appreciation. Send a thank you note right away, and continuously acknowledge her financial support throughout the process.
  • Before touring venues or signing contracts, sit down with mom and explain what you and your partner's vision of your wedding is. Thoughtfully ask for mom's top two or three really important requests, and find a way to integrate them. If her top items conflict with yours, address the clash quickly and honestly.
  • If mom is paying, try to incorporate as many of her ideas as possible, and be clear in your discussions that her vision cannot take over yours.  
  • When financial strings are attached, discuss openly what conditions come along with the cash. Be clear about your non-negotiable's, and be prepared to pitch in your own funds if your vision doesn't align with hers. 
  • If you and your partner are funding the wedding and one of mom's no-compromise items requires an additional line item in your budget (open bar, hotel shuttle), kindly ask her to pitch in. If she does not agree to pay for her request, explain how it is not a priority for you or your budget.

Photo by Barclay Horner Wedding Photography

Photo by Barclay Horner Wedding Photography

Plan with mom in mind.

  • Mom wants to be on this journey with you. Invite her to any appointments your partner may not be able to or care to attend (dress shopping, floral designer, rentals, etc.). 
  • Mom will probably have recommendations for every vendor that happens to be a friend of a friend of her cousin's neighbor's childhood friends. Before writing her connections off, set up a meeting with them to see if they would be a good fit for your wedding. You never know, she could have unlocked a really awesome up-and-coming band that would be a perfect choice! And if you feel like they may not be good to work with, you will have made an informed and objective decision. Most importantly, it will tell mom that her suggestions, ideas and concerns are being heard and taken seriously.
  • If you're afraid of losing control, set up pre-vetted decisions for mom to make. Choose three cake flavors that you already love, and ask mom to make the final call. She will appreciate your coming to her for her advice, and you'll be happy no matter what the final decision is.
  • Have mom help assembly your DIY projects, like invitations, welcome baskets, escort cards, etc. She will be bragging to your guests all night that SHE made those awesome photo booth props!
  • Keep mom focused on the responsibilities she is helping on, instead of letting her concentrate on those elements you and your partner are handling. Check in with her periodically to ask if she has made progress on her tasks and support her decisions. 
  • Frequent and positive communication is key!

Photo by Crystal Rose Photography

Photo by Maren Cotton Photography

If things have gotten bad...

  • A cold war is the last thing you need in preparing for your wedding. If you don't already have a wedding planner, now may be a good time to consider hiring one. Her professional attitude toward wedding planning will make decision-making easy and will strip away some of the emotional components. She has probably seen a lot of successful and unsuccessful family situations, and her experience will hep provide helpful and objective insight. No matter what part of the process you may be in (if you're two years or just a month before the big day), Simply Elegant has several packages to offer the help you need.
  • Ask mom to sit down for a real heart-to-heart conversation to deliberately explain why her actions or decisions may be causing you undue anxiety. Don't just casually bring it up while shopping or over the phone; make plans to sit down over coffee or a glass of wine. Be clear and firm about your concerns, and do your best to talk with logic-based words instead of emotional-based words. End with an action plan to move forward together.
  • If you think things will get emotional, host her at your home - you'd hate to have an embarrassing mascara situation at the local wine bar.
  • Consider dry-running your discussion with a close friend or your wedding planner to get feedback before talking to mom. Now would be a good time to get all of your venting out, too.
  • Reaffirm that you don't want to argue and that you love her. Remind each other that you are both working toward a common goal of creating a beautiful wedding day together. 

Photo by Adrienne Page Photography

Other Advice

  • Ask your mom about her wedding planning experience. Our moms' weddings were often times planned by their mothers; it was seen as a "motherly duty," especially if their daughter was in her early 20's and still living at home. Somewhere between our moms and us, planning responsibility shifted to the bride. Today's moms find it difficult to know their place in the process. Especially if she didn't have control over her own wedding, try to be more empathetic with mom's requests, keeping in mind that she may not have been able to make these decisions for herself.
  • If you are having issues with your future mother-in-law, discuss them openly with your partner. You may not know your partner's mom quite like they do. If you need to sit down with your MIL, ask your fiance to be a part of the discussion to take the pressure off.

Photo by Lucas Botz Photography