The case of an overbearing mother-in-law

Wedding planner recalls one of the worst mothers of the bride she has ever encountered.

Wedding Tales

Once upon a time, when I was still a new wedding planner, a mother of the bride forced me to convince the bride to choose a different friend to be her maid of honor.

You might wonder how anyone could "force" me to do anything like that, since the bride is certainly entitled to choose her own wedding party and the wedding planner has nothing to do with that. But the bride's mother had hired me, signed my contract, paid me and was, therefore, my client. The bride wasn't my client, she was just "the bride." She was essentially one centerpiece of an elaborately orchestrated party planned by her mother and me.

The bride's best friend wasn't emotionally stable and the MOB felt that she was an inappropriate choice. Plus, she lived rather far away and wouldn't be in a position to plan pre-wedding events, something she also doubted that best friend had the capability to do. The other bridesmaid (there were only two) was actually a work-friend of the MOB with whom the bride was friendly. (And I'm pretty sure mom had something to do with this woman being selected for the wedding party in the first place.)

The bride didn't want to have a maid of honor because she didn't want to hurt her best friend. But her mother wanted her to ask somebody who would be responsible for handling all the pre-wedding events. It was a terribly awkward situation for me, but I did it. I suggested to the bride that she needed a designated MOH for all of the reasons her mother had given me. Not that I agreed.

The bride took my advice and asked the other friend to be MOH. Her bestie was terribly hurt by the slight, and already somewhat unstable, she behaved pretty emotionally at the reception. I could see why the MOB didn't want her to be MOH, but I don't think it was fair of the mother to insist the bride choose anyone at all. It's an honorary title given to a friend or family member who is the closest to you. If you don't want to label anybody, you shouldn't have to.

That was a learning experience for me. I strongly urge brides to sign their own contracts now, regardless of who is picking up the tab. And I do not get involved in the wedding party politics at all.

Moms and brides have to do all their conference calls together with me on the phone because I won't have side conversations with the mother and be pressured to do things that make me uncomfortable. I'm always happy to chat with the bride one-on-one, but the MOB has to have a chaperone.


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