Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Daughter is getting married next winter and our whole family is getting into the
fun of planning things. My husband keeps coming up with new ideas for food for
the reception. Youíll be surprised to know that not all of his ideas involve huge
slabs of meat. He also offers, each time he sees the happy couple, to give them
the price of the wedding in cash if they will elope. They always laugh. He is
serious. My youngest son is full of ideas about exactly what his job as usher
will entail. I think he is confusing "usher" with "bouncer" and no matter how
many times I tell him that it is very, very unlikely that any aunt or great-grandma
will have to be forcibly ejected from the ceremony he keeps coming up with new
ways to immobilize unruly wedding guests and unwanted zombie wedding crashers.
Youíve got to plan ahead, doncha know.
I learned very early on in the
planning process exactly what my role will be. It will be my job to keep my mouth
shut and my checkbook handy. When they first set the date I made the mistake of
asking Elder Daughter what her colors were going to be. "Black and white," I was
told. "Oh, beautiful," I enthused, trying to be supportive, "with just a little
splash of pink!" I donít know why I said it. I like pink. Pink is pretty with
black and white. I did not say, "You will have pink or there will be no wedding."
"There will be pink or I will make your life a living hell." I only said, "with
just a little splash of pink." Innocently. In the spirit of supporting her, being
an involved parent.
What I got was a diatribe on how I was a controlling
monster and how it was her wedding and she didnít want pink, in fact hated pink
more than she hated any other thing on the face of the earth. She had hated pink
at her first birthday party, she had hated pink at her Sweet Sixteen, she had
hated pink at her highschool graduation party, hated the pink ribbons on the used
but respectable Pontiac which had been her graduation gift, and would not even
discuss having pink at her wedding. This was followed by three days of pouting.
I am exaggerating a little, of course. It wasnít quite that bad. But the potential
So, I got the message early on and very clearly. The mother
of the bride is to have no opinions. The mother of the bride is to keep any stray
opinion she might harbor strictly to herself. She is to confine her conversation,
when it comes to wedding plans, to the following three phrases: "Oh, wonít that
be nice!" "Just beautiful, honey!" and "What a great idea!" If she feels she must
make a suggestion it should be something along the lines of, "I suggest we spend
much more money," or "isnít there something more expensive you would like to do
I told my husband that my main goal during the coming months
was to avoid having any arguments with the bride. He snorted. A big, wet snort
full of hidden meaning. Well, I plan to show him what he has to snort about! In
the hope of avoiding hidden pitfalls I talked to a girl at work who is a recent
bride. Did she, I asked, argue with her mother during the wedding planning? "Oh,
goodness yes!" I was told. She explained to me that her mother was bossy and controlling.
"She kept giving me suggestions." The former bride said the word
"suggestions" as though it was something you might be exposed to in a public restroom
at the bus station or something contracted by eating the raw flesh of spider monkeys.
Suggestions. Imagine the nerve of the woman.
Not me! Not
going to happen! We are going wedding gown shopping tomorrow. All the female members
of our immediate family and the groomís mother are coming. We are meeting at my
house for breakfast first (in our family you do not do anything on an empty stomach).
I will be cooking fancy things, pretty things, frosted things, things designed
to tempt the appetite of a princess or heiress or a bride. I am making a big tissue
paper wedding gown to decorate the front door. Grandma Beth and I are decorating
the dining room with crepe paper streamers and flowers and feathers and confetti.
We have napkins that say, "and they lived happily ever after." So cute. Bride
and I shopped for the decorations together. If you lean in close I will whisper
something to you. The decorations she chose, as I stood back and murmured supportively,
are spring green . . . and PINK! I have to admit that I smiled a little tiny smile,
a secret inward smile, as I wrote that particular check.
Girl Detective's Theory of Everything" March 27, 2009 Column
Topics: Marriage | Mothers
| Texas Escapes Online Magazine | Columns