Last year I got a call from a mother of the bride (MOB) who was very upset.
How did I know?
MOB-I AM VERY UPSET! My daughter wants to have this wedding where there are no assigned tables or seating, and food trucks where people just go get food whenever, and her friends will be camping there, and there will be fireworks, and who knows what time this is supposed to end-and I am paying for this! Don’t I have a say?
ME: Ok, I am going to go out on a limb and say you are upset-Can I get your name?
MOB-Laughing-Yes, my name is Chris.
After talking for a few minutes we scheduled a meeting with her daughter so I could hear both sides or be a referee. I was not sure what my role as a wedding planner would be.
The bride is an amazing and talented young woman, the groom plays in a band – talented and creative too. Mom and Dad of the bride are lawyers and senior partners in their firms.
The couple wanted a Maine wedding at a barn-simple, fun, low key. Many of their friends from college were coming from away. They planned to get married in the afternoon, then have their guests roll into games, music and food trucks. About 9ish, they were going to have fireworks, then a camp fire, and the couple, along with many of their friends, were all going to stay onsite and camp overnight.
Mom and Dad were inviting many of their colleagues from work, grandparents, Aunties and Uncles, and friends they had known for years. I started with Mom: “You raised an amazing, creative young woman-this is her day. This is her story to tell. Her wedding should be a reflection of who she is and what she and her fiancé are about. (Cue to smug look on daughter’s face.)
Then to Bride:
“Your parents and the guests they are inviting have traditions they were raised on when it comes to Wedding Etiquette. They have every right to ask for some compromise. They are not asking you to change every aspect of your day or the type of wedding you want. They are asking you to respect those traditions, and by doing so you will make their friends feel comfortable and welcome.
There is room at the table for both old traditions and the reflections of who you are and your day.
Here is what they decided: They would have 3 to 4 assigned tables for guests of the parents. Those tables would be invited up to the food trucks first so they could all eat dinner together. They would cut the cake and serve coffee at 7:30. This would signal an appropriate time to leave for those who wanted to. For anyone staying and camping – carry on. Fireworks – set ‘em off! Music around the campfire – you bet, pass the marshmallows.
Everyone feeling heard? CHECK.