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’.