At any given time we can each describe ourselves with a number of different labels. In my life I was first called daughter, sister and niece. Then I became friend, student, girlfriend, fiancé, teacher, wife, aunt, mother, author. Now I can add one more, at least for a short time: mother-of-the-bride.
Mother-of-the-bride. What is my role in my daughter’s wedding preparations? At one time a wedding was an event where the parents of the bride (and lesser so the groom) threw a party to invite their friends to celebrate in the marriage of their daughter. Now brides and grooms have taken over the planning and the tendency is to throw themselves a celebration, possibly with some help from the parents. This change probably came about when couples began choosing to live together before marrying – often for years – so the wedding is more of a formality, a chance for the couple to declare their love and intention to remain together, always. They’ve already created a home and life together which is different than it once was. As the mother-of-the-bride I look forward to the parties, the planning, the preparation (I surprised myself by embracing the wedding dress shopping!) but my role has certainly become more of a background player than it would have been in years gone by.
Although I love celebrating birthdays and book launches for my friends I have never been one to enjoy them for myself. I feel uncomfortable when the focus is all on me. However, a Unitarian minister I respect once explained why he always celebrated his birthday – and all other occasions – in a big way. As he said, there is so much tragedy and sadness in the world that when there’s an occasion to celebrate, he likes to do so with a splash. It makes good sense.
So I’m looking forward to celebrating Dani and Danny as they make this important commitment to each other and become a new family. It’s a wonderful reason to dress up, celebrate and dance the night away.
And then, in the morning, I’ll exchange the label mother-of-the-bride to mother-in-law and I’ll wear the label proudly.
Photo credits: Cara Lee Hrdlitschka