Tag Archive | wedding

The Wedding Gift

Tonight I’m visiting one of my favorite cities in America – Chicago. As I enjoy watching the Friday night activity on Milwaukee Avenue, I’m thinking back to a conversation with Fran at an Olive Garden restaurant last year. We were enjoying a bowl of soup and a salad while talking about how MILs start off in their role with an immediate handicap. The stereotypical MIL is an object of scorn and ridicule in modern-day America and it’s a challenge to avoid being labeled as one from the start.

Fran has two sons.  And she will tell you that they were both answers to much prayer. When the younger one became engaged to a lovely young woman, Fran decided on a wedding gift. She told her son that she was going to pay for their honeymoon … with one stipulation: that she go with them!

Now, Fran is a joker, a teaser. Her Christmas letters are not “brag rags” like many of the ones you might receive during the holiday season. They are hilarious! They ought to be published in the “True Life” columns of The New York Times. They are that good. So, even though her son knows this very well, his response to this offer was an unequivocal “No, you’re not”. Not surprising.

Fran approached her soon-to-be DIL separately with the same offer. Clarisse laughed nervously.

“She thought I was joking, but she wasn’t quite sure.”

“Because she didn’t yet know you well enough” I offered.

Fran nodded in agreement. “She didn’t yet know me well enough. But, she played along.”

Eventually, so did her son who occasionally would quip things like “I hope your bags are packed. We’re going to Costa Rica!”

Just before the wedding, Fran sent them both an email saying was sorry, but that she couldn’t go on the honeymoon with them after all. As it turned out, the finale of that season’s “Dancing with the Stars” was scheduled for that week and she just couldn’t bring herself to miss it!

Sounds like a good sense of humor plays a role in this mother and son as well as MIL/DIL relationship!

More of Fran’s fun approach to MILhood next week! Stay tuned.

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The Wedding

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.