By Rebecca Padgett
The special women in our lives mold us and make us who we are. It’s natural that we want them included in such a special and memorable moment of our lives. With a wedding being such a momentous day, it is important to balance the roles of your leading ladies.
The mother, stepmother and mother-in-law triangle can be a delicate shape to balance, and you want to ensure that all sides align and are equal. Each bond and relationship is unique. It is important for you to take into account how you interact with each of these women and how they interact with one another. Even the sturdiest of relationships can become rocky under the strain of wedding decisions.
Below are some ways to help each woman know they are special from the start.
Determine the Family Dynamic
It’s important to be open and honest with yourself about how everyone reacts to and relates to one another. Are they the three best friends that anyone could have? Are two of the three friends, the other being the outsider? Do none of them know each other very well? Determining these relationships is vital in order to proceed. During this time of reflection, it’s also important to determine if you want one woman to be more involved than the others — and have clear reasons as to why. As long as you’re up front and sincere, all should be understood.
Set Ground Rules
At the end of the day, it is your wedding, and you likely want it to be as happy and stress-free as possible. It’s best to set boundaries and expectations early. Express what you expect to experience from your wedding. Let these women help you achieve that.
Invite Them To Things
As a way to bond, invite them to venue tours, tastings, wedding dress shopping and any other appointment where you would like their presence. If having all of these voices in one place is overwhelming, invite each woman to events separately.
Give Them Tasks
Assign them tasks that they can do together. Think crafting, invitation addressing, planning meets; including wine and snacks is also a great idea. Or, assign each woman individual tasks. All the better, assign them tasks that relate to their strengths. Does Mom love flowers? Let her help you pick out the floral arrangements. Is your step-mom always on schedule? Have her help you with a timeline. Does your mother-in-law know how to put it down in the kitchen? Have her help you determine a menu.
A wonderful way to bond is to suggest going shopping for their wedding day outfits. It’s best to do this individually, allowing you time to bond with each woman. Make a day of it by going to lunch, then cheer them on as they try on outfits.
The rehearsal dinner typically is assigned to the groom’s family. As a way to embrace the relationship with your mother-in-law, plan a session where you discuss the details of the rehearsal dinner.
Get Ready Together
On the day of the wedding, invite all three ladies to come hang out and get ready with you and your girls. This is a great way to include them and get great photos. During this time, you can give each of them personalized corsages and pin them on.
Walk Down the Aisle
There are really no rules to this. Have who you want walk you down the aisle. It could be one of these women or all three.
This could include having each do a reading, sing a song or say a prayer.
Toasts and Speeches
Whether this is at the bridal shower, rehearsal dinner or reception, let them know that the floor is open if they would like to make a toast or speech.
Give Them Gifts
These could all be the same or individualized. Either way, a meaningful gift is something they will cherish long after the day ends. All the better, write each a personalized, heartfelt letter.