Some Wedding Wisdom from a seasoned Mother-of-the-Bride
As it's wedding season, we're saluting the main players of the wedding party over on our Facebook Page where we're also running weekly competitions. This week we shine a light on the Mother of the Bride - without whom, let's face it, there would be no bride.
My own mother is a scary, cuddly pussy cat. An ex-RAF Officer and amazing wife and mother of three, I owe her a lot and she was an incredible "MofB" for me.
Her favourite poem is 'Warning' by Jenny Jones - do you know it? It's the one that starts, "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple...". It's an impish, defiant poem about growing old disgracefully and it's scary how closely mum has taken it to heart over the years!
The lady in the poem goes on to threaten spending her pension money on brandy (it's sherry in mum's case) and "hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes" (replace the beermats with notebooks, knitting wool and buttons and you've got mum and her boxes) "And gobble up samples in the shops" (yep, mum again - also a dab hand at clearing hotel rooms of sachets and packets each night with the expectation of full replenishment each morning. She will have an eventual teabag and shower cap-stuffed handbag by the end of any holiday).
Oh and mum LOVES purple.
So it's no surprise that this is the notebook that sums her up the best. And it's the one we're giving away on Facebook for our Mother of the Bride Competition.
It's bold, dazzling, and unashamedly bright and well…
... Much like this lovely lady.
I asked her for some Mother-of-the-Bride advice and tips and it made me chuckle that the answers in her email were written in purple! Here's some of her wedding wisdom for this year's MofBs:
How many times have you been mother of the bride?
Of the Bride, twice and of the Groom once and all within the space of 20 months. Add to that the marriage of a niece and God-daughter in the same period and I was becoming an expert who just stopped short from scoring the various elements.
Which was your favourite wedding? You don't have to answer that one!
My own of course! All three of your kids had different styles of weddings but each was special and memorable in its own way.
What were your most memorable moments as Mother-of-the-Bride?
Has to be the chicken!*
To explain, we called mum's bluff on her insistence of a "pretty, fluffy-legged chicken" as a dowry. African grooms would usually be given a long list of dowry requests (money, clothes, alcohol, livestock!) from the bride's family. Instead, Consol went the more western route of ring and down-on-one-knee after asking dad for my hand in marriage. Dad said yes of course. Then mum heard about the dowry tradition and jokingly asked for at least one chicken for her daughter. (Nice to know my worth). Well. She got one. This is a picture of her trying to act very cool about just having been handed a chicken in the middle of the wedding reception.
How did you choose your outfit(s)?
With the father of the bride as my sartorial advisor. Yes, I know that is unusual but it works for us. One fashion related tip - each outfit held special memories which could never be replicated so I decided to freeze those memories by "releasing" the whole outfit the following week to the dress agency. By acting so quickly the outfit was still in season, some other "wedding lady" got a chance of a lovely bargain, I had lovely photos and money back in my purse.
What tips would you give to a mother of the bride-to-be?
Always remember MofB is NOT the star of the day. so never outshine the bride in dress, bling or behaviour. However, you are a very important part of the inner circle and should be dressed rather specially.
White wine is better for spills than red! Go very, very easy on the alcohol. Mother of the Bride enjoying herself helps everybody to relax. Mother of the Bride out of control and drunk not a pretty sight, can lead to all sorts of problems on the day and indeed in the ongoing extended family relationships.
Which one element of wedding etiquette do you like the best and why?
The formal greeting line does help to ensure that you have met everyone (just keep it light and quick). Dad and I worked together to craft the Father's speech and I loved finding the props to illustrate - in Kate's case a copy of her favourite childhood book the Rabbits’ Wedding and a doormat just to name a few.
*Edit: This is mum's version of the chicken experience...
Have you ever had that moment of perfection, fresh from the make-up chair, hair is stunning, your outfit is just wow (even if a tad pricey) and all eyes are on you? Now let’s just overlay that ridiculously smug feeling with a gradual realisation that this could all get rather messy in seconds.
But I get ahead of myself. Daughter No 1 (Mrs. Notebooklove) was about 100 minutes into her marriage to her Congolese husband - all the guys in kilts, speeches in French and English, 18 nationalities present and great cultural engagement all round…….. until the box appeared.
Cries of “foul” at a wedding can be alarming but as the box opened I realised the best man was bringing me an all-together more challenging fowl. Yes, the “notional” dowry payment for our daughter from the groom’s family was a gorgeous and very alive chicken! For just five seconds my face continued to radiantly smile as the brain speed processed: - live chicken; best dress; scratchy claws; sharp beak; the “other end”; must reject; insult the in-laws; international incident; must accept; grand-dad was a farmer; I can do it; clamp the wings; stroke gently, speak softly, smile for the camera; chicken asleep.
No chicken was harmed in the making of this wedding – she had a very happy, egg laying retirement, where she could sometimes be heard clucking of her 5 seconds of fame.