It dawned on me that the mother of the groom has responsibilities tied to her son’s wedding. I’ve been dancing along the months of the happy couple’s engagement with not a worry.
Then, the music paused.
My son, his fiancé, her mother, and I attended a casual tasting for this teeny tiny thing called a rehearsal dinner. While listening to menu details, a ginormous lightbulb switched on in my head.
I said to myself, “Self, you are in charge of this thing called a rehearsal dinner. There are details to nail down: flowers, table décor, invitations, RSVPs….”
That illuminating moment was followed by others, each one trampling the other in the race to make my brain implode. The alarm in my head flashed these words: “Warning! Your calendar has crossed the threshold of March. The May wedding is now in full view.”
I had yet to find a dress, which proved difficult when one had not shopped for a dress. Oh, I peeked in store windows—for tennis skirts. Word is that it would be frowned upon if the mother of the groom showed up for the ceremony in a tennis skirt, no matter if it is one of the latest designs.
Maybe I’m late to the game because I’ve been crazy busy with work. Maybe I thought there was no rush because the wedding is a small, family affair. Or maybe, just maybe, I imagined everything was in the hands of the mother of the bride.
I am well-schooled in the art of mother of the bride. When the time came to find a venue for our daughter Kristen’s October wedding in 2016, I was on it. Scheduling tastings with caterers was not a problem. When the band canceled two weeks before, we found an even better one.
Being organized was not my biggest mother of the bride challenge. The biggest challenge was adhering to a specific number of guests.
“There will be no plus-ones,” I told my adult children.
Neither my eldest, Jordan or my youngest, Trey, were dating anyone at the time.
“There are so many people we love that we can’t invite,” I explained. “No way are we extending invitations to strangers.”
That mother of the bride decree was set in January. The first week in February, Trey called.
“Soooooo, no plus-ones for Kristen’s wedding?” he said.
“Son, I made that clear, and you know why,” I said.
“But…,” Trey started to object.
“I guess you are now dating someone?”
“I am, Mom. She’s not just anyone. She’s really special,” Trey said.
“All of your girlfriends are special. No plus-ones.” I stood firm.
March bloomed and brought another phone call.
“Mooooommmmm,” said Trey, “are you sure about the plus-ones? Can’t you make this one exception?”
I could not. Nor did I in April, May, and June.
Whenever Trey had invited a “girl-friend” to a family dinner, their relationship ended not long after. At one point I told my son, “The next girlfriend I meet will be at your wedding when you stand before God and vow that you love everything about her and can live with the things you don’t like. After that, I don’t feel sorry for you.”
In July, I received yet another phone call, not from Trey, but the bride, his sister Kristen.
“Mom, you have to let Trey have a plus-one. They’ve been dating for almost six months,” she said.
“OK, Kristen,” I said, “I’ll give him a plus-one, and mark my words, that relationship will be over within six weeks after the wedding.”
Come May, Trey is marrying his plus-one. Her name is Rebekah. As for me, the mother of the groom, I had better square myself around and show the love of my son’s life that I’m all in.
writer, blogger, columnist