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Great Expectations – Mother of the Boho Bride

I love my Mum and although we are very different people, we are very close – but planning our wedding has really put my relationship with Mum to the test! My Mum is a stoic traditionalist, loves to use the term ‘don’t teach your Grandmother to suck eggs!’, would prefer to think that no-one indulges in hanky-panky before marriage and is absolute in the opinion that a wedding should be conducted before God and in Church…

So when aged 19, I told her I was going out with a 23 year old she raised an eyebrow, when we moved in together seven years ago, she had a word…and when I informed her that we were finally getting married (she had been willing it for years) and were doing so in an outdoor civil ceremony, the s**t hit the fan!

The first 6 months of my engagement, Mum and I were at loggerheads. I’d say black, she’s say white. She kept using the term, ‘but that’s not how it’s done’, so I’d threaten to tear up her imaginary ‘rule book’. I’d cruelly point out that as we were paying for our wedding, her opinion didn’t matter and she’s cruelly point out that my shoulders were ‘too wide’ for a strapless gown…

It was exhausting and it finally came to a head when we were clearing my Great Aunts house and discovered a picture of my parents on their own wedding day. It was the first non-staged photo I’d seen and it took my breath away. My parents looked so young, so natural and so happy…and I said to my Mum that it captured the feeling I want for our day.

That’s all it took. A pivotal moment for my Mum to remember the feeling, not the formality of her own wedding. Suddenly she was telling me stories of how Dad’s flatmates – all Kiwi’s – couldn’t be understood by my Mum’s Devonshire relatives and how these young lads got so drunk, they stripped off naked and jumped in the hotel pool!

I started to see beyond Mum’s stiff-looking, conservative wedding gown and actually took sides with my Grandad as she told me he insisted on her wearing a veil…she looked so utterly beautiful in it, that I’m actually really glad that she caved in to his request!

And now, with our wedding 10 months away, I’m learning to listen, to take advice and to compromise when my Mum gently makes requests…and in turn, she has altered her expectations. They are just as high as they were before, but instead of berating me for my relaxed approach to the day, the miss-matched Bridesmaid dresses and my desire for cider instead of champagne, she is celebrating it. Laughing with me, poking fun at the fact that it might rain and proudly declaring to anyone that will listen, that her Daughter’s wedding is going to be ‘quite bohemian’…in fact, it was my dear Mum who first called me, ‘her boho Bride’.

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  • Ruth November 18, 2010, 12:18 pm

    Aww, that’s so lovely. I’m so glad you were able to work it out together 🙂

  • Sarah November 18, 2010, 1:32 pm

    She’s been fab…and is so excited to see ‘the dress’ soon! x

  • Katy November 21, 2010, 3:48 pm

    This is such a gorgeous story – almost brings a tear to your eye! I expect the same reactions when i start to plan my own wedding – probably from the groom though!
    xx

  • Sarah November 21, 2010, 7:17 pm

    Thanks Katy – don’t think anyone escapes the wedding drama…but once it’s ressolved…it’s so worth all the lovely planning! xx

  • Julia @ Brides Up No November 25, 2010, 1:37 pm

    Love this little account.

    And I love the boho wedding in Mama Mia – amazing – if you are basing your wedding on that it will be AWESOME!

    Julia xxx

  • Sarah November 25, 2010, 2:45 pm

    Thanks lovely! We’re going all out for a relaxed, bohemian wedding…so it might look a little similar! xxx

  • Stephanie January 7, 2011, 5:52 pm

    I was browsing old entries on your blog and this one totally struck a chord with me. My fiance and I got engaged in September, having been together for 6 and a half years. Like you, my mum didn’t approve when we decided to move in together, age 22, however, as soon as I turned 25 she flew headlong to the other end of the spectrum and began dropping not-so-subtle hints about marriage. So obviously she was thrilled when we got engaged!

    I have dual British/Swiss nationality, my fiance is English and we live in Scotland so choosing a country for our wedding has been the first challenge and we still haven’t decided. However, we have had a lot of conversations about religious and civil ceremonies and what we feel would be right for us. When we first got engaged, we both loved the idea of an outdoor wedding but having since done my research, I realize this isn’t always quite so simple due to the laws in England. The Swiss laws actually only recognise civil weddings and a religious ceremony is optional and has to take place after the civil wedding so this might suit all parties however, the venue we really like is in England!

    To cut a long story short, having broached the civil wedding idea to my mother, she unleashed a tirade of ‘what is right and traditional’ opinions. She doesn’t like the venue- she has a grand, stately home place in mind (think the royal wedding news has done me no favours in winning this battle!) whereas we are much more into a laidback, personal and fun wedding. We have now reached a stand off and sadly I was in tears yesterday thinking about the fact my mother already ‘doesn’t like our wedding’. My first bridezilla emotional meltdown, I’m sad to say! Anyway, I know that when it comes to the day, she will have a lovely time, as will everyone. But I am still struggling with explaining the fact that it is about my fiance and I and is a celebration of love more than a celebration of social etiquette. I’m sure a breakthrough will be reached, as you and your mum did, but for now I am focusing on remaining calm and collected, traits I might as well practice because we still have 18 months to go before the big day!

    It’s great to know I’m not the only one with mother-daughter tensions so thank you for this post!I love your blog, all the ideas, anecdotes and mood boards, great inspiration =)

  • Sarah January 7, 2011, 7:12 pm

    Hi Steph,

    Thanks so much for getting in touch – so sorry to hear of your wedding woes. The more I talk about it, the more I find other brides are dealing with similar situations…honesty has been the best thing for me and my Mum. As soon as she realised how upset she was making me, she backed off. Perhaps it’s worth sitting down with your Mum and having a conversation about how a compromise on her expectations will ensure that you both enjoy what could be the most memorable mother/daughter time! I still have moments with my Mum where she gives her ‘honest’ (harsh) opinion and I have to swallow the fact that she won’t like that element of the wedding…but it’s not her day. She’s had hers. I now bite my tongue in those situations knowing it will be a decision that best represents my fiance and I instead.

    With regards to ceremony – we have made a compromise. A relaxed civil ceremony outside – with a blessing by our parish Priest afterwards. It was the main thing upsetting both our Mums – so we decided to meet them half way. Now, whenever she moans about any other aspect of the wedding that she doesn’t ‘get’ I remind her of that compromise 🙂

    I hope some of this helps you. Please keep in touch with your progress and plans – as I’m sure you will have the day of your dreams, whatever it entails…and a wonderful marriage to follow.

    Thanks so much for your kind words about Boho Bride and your support – I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! Big love, Sarah xxx