CupcakeKay's Blog

Why is this so hard?

Posted on: October 22, 2010

Last week on (one of my favorite wedding blogs, btw), Lauren wrote this:

“So far wedding planning is just not what the magazines make it out to be. Ok, that was an obvious statement, but here’s the thing, maybe weddings are kind of like giving birth. Everyone tells you it sucks and you chuckle with them as they retell their horror stories and you nod your head like “oh, yeah, for sure,” but you kind of have this hope on the inside that “but for me it will be different, I bet she was just a p*ssy (no vaginal birth pun intended), or didn’t do it right, or maybe she is just too uptight, has a low pain tolerance, whatever.” And YOU (of course) won’t be uptight, you’ll be able to grit your teeth and muscle through it, you’ll only care about the important things the whole time, duh, so you’re sure that, for you, it will be so way better.

“Except it’s really, really not.”

That really struck a chord with me. I guess since I’ve been mentally planning various imaginary weddings for years now, I just assumed that the transition from imagination to reality would be a relatively painless one. “I’ve totally got this,” I thought smugly. “I won’t be one of those women who allows her bride-self to be a tulle-wrapped, Jordon-almond-obsessed, seating-chart-making nutcase version of herself. I’ll make the choices I want to make. I’ll allow my fiance an equal say in the planning process, because it’s his day, too. I won’t allow anyone to talk me into anything I don’t want, but that won’t even be a big deal, because all my friends and relatives are totally cool and supportive.”

So far, it turns out that I’ve kind of got this. The first three and a half sentences of that bride-to-be manifesto are totally true, right up until the “that won’t even be a big deal, because all my friends and relatives are totally cool and supportive” part.

Which is not meant to slander my entire tribe, but just to say that we’ve hit a few more speed bumps than I imagined. The biggest one: My mother.

I had somehow forgotten the biggest issue between the two of us when I was a teenager, the source of every fight from age twelve to eighteen, my mother’s two most staunch beliefs: 1.) That she will be judged based on how I look or what I do, and 2.) that this somehow matters.


My mom hates my entire wedding. She hates that we’re not getting married in my childhood church (even though we’ve attended services there maaaaaaybe a dozen times in the last ten years) by a minister, that I want to incorporate color into my wedding dress and shoes, my colors in general, that my fiance and his groomsmen will be wearing kilts, that the family tartan of said kilts cannot be changed to color-coordinate with whatever venue we choose, that we’re writing our own vows, our centerpieces, and I’m sure any number of other elements that I haven’t told her about yet.

My mom wants me to have the cookie-cutter, Martha Stewart, “classy” wedding that she’s always dreamed of. Nevermind the fact that she’s never had a cookie-cutter daughter. And certainly nevermind the fact that it’s my wedding, not hers. When I bring up these points, she says that “it’s a family event,” and she wants to make sure that it’s an event she feels comfortable inviting our relatives to.

Basically, don’t embarrass me in front of the rest of the family.

I’ve pointed out to her that my fiance and I certainly aren’t planning to do anything offensive at the wedding, and she says she realizes this. So all of her objections are aesthetic. Does she really think that a color scheme of red and aqua will make our guests uncomfortable? That my sweet Great Aunt Madge will judge any of us, least of all her, harshly because my husband’s family tartan does not match some aspect of the venue over which I had no control?

In short, are these issues really worth fighting with your daughter over, making her wedding planning a miserable process, and possibly alienating her?

I just don’t understand her mentality. And I suppose, she doesn’t understand mine. But I want my wedding to be true to myself, my fiance, and our relationship. I don’t want to start our marriage together pretending to be something we are not. There are probably people in this world who would make judgments about us based on the fact that we are tattooed, pierced, music and food fanatics who aren’t particularly religious. But you know what? THOSE PEOPLE AREN’T INVITED TO MY WEDDING!

I am so frustrated, because I want my mom involved in my wedding planning, and I want it to be a joyful experience, and it just doesn’t seem that those two things are both possible.

So, back to what Lauren wrote on APW, weddings are very much like giving birth. You are giving birth to a new baby family. It’s hard because it’s important. I understand that. It’s an emotionally fraught process for everyone involved.

But I don’t understand why it has to be hard in this particular way, and I’m really frustrated that the person making it hard is one of the few people whom I can’t write off for being unsupportive. I’m stuck with my stubborn, conservative mom, and she’s stuck with her stubborn, non-conformist daughter, and we will probably continue to duke it out right up until the wedding day.

Prepare yourselves, dear (and probably imaginary) readers, for more angsty posts about this in future.

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