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I am so excited to announce that today is the beginning of a new Friday adventure. Each week I will ask some amazing women to write to you, giving unique perspective on their individual stages of life. This week my sweet mom agreed to write. My last post advised future brides, so she wants to love on their mothers. I was effectively brought to tears. Don’t forget to click the follow button and keep up with words of wisdom from these different women each week.
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It has been two months since the wedding of my firstborn. Surely just yesterday my little one was in a makeshift dress-up wedding gown with a blanket over her head serving as a veil. Eventually her grandma made her a “real” wedding dress costume, complete with gloves and veil. She would say, “Look momma. I’m a married girl!”
From the moment the child began to toddle around, she dreamed and delighted at the day that she would become a wife. It is so surreal that she is old enough to be a real life “married girl”, no longer in dress-ups, but a “Mrs”. And I could not be happier for her….
There has been so much to process – it seems that I am just now able to articulate what has filled my heart over the past eleven months.
We have found much joy in experiencing the different seasons of parenting. Just as we sadly say good-bye to one, God, in His grace, ushers us into the next. And it seems to be even sweeter. Each has been different. Each has been challenging. Each has been beautiful. Right now, for Lauren and many of her friends, it is wedding season. We joyfully anticipate the arrival of each one, knowing that just as surely as they have danced through the seasons of childhood together, so will they move into adulthood together.
As parents, we also witness it together.
So, for my fellow sojourners who find themselves affectionately being referred to as the “mother of the bride-to-be”, here are a few things that I learned along the way. Every journey is so different, so take my advice for what it is worth, and make it your own beautiful story.
Prepare her to be a wife, not just a bride.
Don’t get so caught up in wedding planning that you fail to continue to train your child up in the way she should go. (Prov. 22:6) A wedding will last but one day. Spend some time talking to your daughter. Teach her basic life skills and Biblical concepts on how to be a godly wife. For me, it was easier to journal to her, so I wrote down the things that I felt were most important for her to know. Then I gave it to her in the written form of a book as a special gift from me to her. This process kept me in the Word and focused on my priorities as the wedding day drew near. How you prepare her is up to you, but do it intentionally.
Treasure the moments.
This time will FLY by. Enjoy it. Enjoy her. Have coffee or pool dates. This is your opportunity to finish this season well. Spend time doing other things besides just wedding planning. Do not neglect the rest of your family. Intentionally create opportunities to make fun memories. These times will carry you through the more stressful moments.
Communicate early and often.
Determine the non-negotiables and write them down. Listen carefully to her. They know exactly what they have in mind for their day. My goal was to help her create the day that she envisioned (within reason). This is their wedding, not yours. If you are assisting financially, set a realistic budget and stick with it. However, for us, that did not include dictating how each dollar was spent, as long as the budget was maintained. My goal was to be her assistant, not her boss. Thankfully, she was flexible and only had a few non-negotiables.
Keep the main thing the main thing.
My favorite two non-negotiables that Lauren requested were as follows:
“I want our wedding to be Christ centered with the Gospel shared.” & “I want our day to be about people and not creating the perfect day.”
Wow. From the mouths of babes…. This was so liberating to hear. While my head knew these things were most important long before my child verbalized her requests, my momma heart longed to create the perfect day for my “little married girl”. Fight this desire. There is no such thing. Things WILL go wrong. Accept it now and prepare your daughter to do the same. At the end of the day, a lot of money will be spent. But they will be married. I am so thankful that God was glorified, the Gospel was shared, and the day was filled with the love of family and friends.
This is going to vary in every situation and sometimes even from week to week. Determine what she wants to take on and how you can manage the things that are less important to her. Dividing the list is critical. If possible, handle the details that she least enjoys. For us, that included contractual logistics, replying to emails, and just generally managing day to day details that came up when she was neck deep in school, forensics, and work. Since they knew exactly what they wanted in the ceremony, she handled those logistics, while I focused more on the reception. Because we were both new at this, being flexible and extending lots of grace was critical.
Allow others to help you.
As Lauren said in a previous post, this was a game changer for us. We were so blessed by so many. Some had the gift of decorating; some had hospitality/cooking; some were administrators. Countless had the gift of helping—overjoyed to do whatever needed. Not only did this allow me to be more present and less stressed during the festivities, it also allowed me to experience this milestone with my “people”, those women who love me and lift me up and challenge me to be more. This would not have been nearly as much fun to do alone. My memories made with them along the way are special and my gratitude immeasurable.
Let her go.
The big day is here. Enjoy it. Celebrate it. Though it may be tempting to feel melancholy or
sad and the end of a season, do not allow your sadness to dampen her day. Be thankful for what has been, and do your best to joyfully anticipate the next season. Entrust her to God and to her groom. Give them the chance to become one, as our Creator intended. They will need room to grow. Adulting is not easy. Allow them to work through their challenges, reminding them that you are always in their corner. You are no longer her authority, but you will always be her mother. Always her biggest cheerleader.
God is good and He is faithful – all the time. Blessings to you, mom. She will be fine, and you will too.