When our son asked Juliana for her hand in marriage, we were delighted! We had long thought that they seemed so right together and after three years, they were still so enamored with one another. Especially since we had seen him with no other girlfriends along the way, we thought “This is the one!”
What we weren’t prepared for was the social minefield into which we were so cavalierly stepping . My older sister whose son had married a couple of years before shared with me the traditional advice given to mothers-of-the-groom: “Shut up and wear beige!”
Ouch! Are you offended by that? I was. I look terrible in beige. 😉
Obviously, the advice was intended to counteract what often happens between young ladies – who’ve been dreaming of this day since they were young children (think Cinderella and Prince Charming) – and mothers who’ve been waiting – and perhaps praying – for decades for their sons to “tie the knot”. Rarely are these two groups of people playing the same movie in their heads.
Ta da! Conflict!
“Wait a minute!” the soon-to-be MIL thinks. “That’s not how this scene looks in my version of the story.”
“Of course” muses the soon-to-be DIL. I’ve always known that I would get married in jeans on the beach.”
So, let’s take a look at the traditional advice a bit more closely.
1. “Shut up!” Realize whose day it is and whose “once-in-a-lifetime” event it is. Yes, there might be cultural differences involved. Respect them. Yes, there will be differing expectations here. Respect them. This goes both ways. At the same time when a man and a woman decide to commit to one another for life in a sacred ceremony, they should be the ones to have the final say on how they do it, don’t you think? For others – even family – to force their wishes on an engaged couple is to plant the seed of resentment right in the middle of that relationship.
2. Wear beige. This day is about the bride and groom. It’s their party. Have you seen the movie “Monster-In-Law”? The mother of the groom was afraid of her very significant role becoming – all at once – so very insignificant. She feared “disappearing” in the estimation of others. She desperately wanted – even needed – affirmations to shore up her self-esteem. So, she dressed like a peacock and was ready to strut around, enjoying the admiring stares of all.
This is not the time nor the place to act like a supermodel. Realize that “It’s not about you!” Ask your STBDIL what she’s thinking about for colors and styles and then find something simple, yet flattering that would fit the category described. Be comfortable in it, but don’t plan on being the center of attention. The Mother-of-the-Groom is not the star of this show. She is merely a supporting actress.
Ah, the wedding. Mothers-of-the-Groom: Heed the spirit – but perhaps not the letter – of this advice – Shut up and wear beige.