An Open Letter to Parents of Engaged Couples
Dear Parents of Engaged Couples,
The past couple of weeks I've been addressing some issues I have with the wedding industry. I started with looking in the mirror and at my peers and then had a loving chat with your children. Today, I'm looking at you.
I'm a mom of 2 preschool aged girls, so I want to start by saying that I understand what an emotional experience this is for you. Every wedding I work, I find myself crying in the corner every time there is a sweet parent moment. I can see it so clearly the day that I become you and my 2 and 3 year old little girls are suddenly beautiful women, walking down the aisle. I can see their dance with their dad. I can see me putting on their veils. I see you.
However, we need to have a chat about what you don't see. You don't see the heavy burden you have placed on your children with your opinions, expectations and sometimes down right drama. Most of the stress my couples feel is directly (though not always obviously) connected to you. So let's talk about what this is not the time for:
This is not the time for you to show off. It's a big day, I know, but it's not the time for you to want to show off your family, your money, your style or anything else to your friends, colleagues, extended family, or frenemies. I have too many couples who talk about how their parent's can't wait to show so-and-so how such-and-such they/it is/are.
This is not the time for you to relive your wedding day or make up for whatever you feel like you may have missed. Now, I've already told your child that it is not just their day, but it is still their wedding. We've had (mostly) moms want so badly to recreate their wedding day that they push their daughters/daughters-in-law into things they just didn't want.
This is not the time for your drama. You and your brother have unresolved issues from decades past? Fine, but now is not the time for the fighting, arguing, passive aggressiveness. If you cannot get along, do not invite them. If your son/daughter wants to invite them, be an adult and keep your mouth shut.
This is not the time for your manipulation. Oh boy. This is the big one. Subtle manipulation, usually in the form of checks, to get what you want. If you're offering to contribute financially to the wedding, it should be without strings. Now, I'll tell your son/daughter that if you've dropped $30K on their wedding day and want to invite a couple of friends from work they need to be reasonable and invite your friends (within reason), but controlling their decisions about the food, their dress, flowers, venues, whatever, because you're paying is not acceptable. Then just don't contribute.
This is not the time for your empty promises. This one gets me the most upset. If you cannot show up in whatever way you're wanting to promise, then don't promise. It shouldn't be that hard, but the amount of broken & empty promises I see from parents is sick. PS. Break my couple's heart by not showing up for an important moment when you said you'd be there, we will no longer be friends.
Parents, we love you! Honestly, I do. I love my couples parents. I hold moms' hands & give dads' a supportive hand on the shoulder when he looks like he needs it, and I promise to always tell your child when they're being unreasonable, but you have to promise me to stop making this experience all about you.