After years of watching so-called "bridezillas" on television, and having personally experienced a few "groomzillas" as clients myself here on Vieques Island, I was still taken by surprise by the appearance of my first true "Momzilla" at a wedding a few weeks ago. Don't get me wrong -- I have dealt with whackadoodle MoBs over the past few years. There was one mama who showed up two hours late for everything and jabbed me on the head with her fingernail to get my attention. And then there was the drunk one who tried to make up with her estranged husband during the reception, much to her daughter AND her ex-husband's horror. But this most recent Mother of the Bride really took the cake (pun intended... sorry!).
Let me start by saying that the bride (who shall remain nameless to protect her guilty mother) was a total doll. Through the planning process and the actual wedding weekend, she was a dream client. And the groom was great too. They're the kind of clients that we invite back to the island -- and actually mean it! Her parents, not so much.
Full disclosure: I was warned ahead of time about this one. I knew that her parents were going to be a handful before they even arrived. But when you combined their natural propensity towards drama with a bunch of missed flights to Puerto Rico and delays that caused them all to arrive en masse in Vieques at 9:30 at night, it was truly a recipe for disaster. I could go into the nitty gritty details, but really, suffice to say that when I made a run for it after checking them into their villa, the groom's future Monster-in-Law was shrieking at him because she and the FoB felt they should have been given the master bedroom in their daughter's wedding villa. Nope, not kidding. And he didn't even make a run for it. Must be true love.
The bride let it go like water off a duck's back, and I was truly impressed. In fact, she even treated her parents to massages on her wedding day in a futile attempt to mellow them out a bit. It may have worked some because I never actually heard her mother raise her voice during the wedding events. However, Momzilla did appropriate the wedding photographers in the middle of the bride and groom's wedding portraits so that they could take a whole portfolio of pictures of the bride's parents. And then, during the reception, she snuck in a god-awful CD of music she felt was more appropriate for dinner. Totally without the bride's knowledge or consent.
The MoB didn't ruin the wedding, but not for lack of trying. The bride's serene attitude regarding all the insanity is what saved her wedding weekend. That, and the fact that she was marrying a total saint. But the entire experience made me think it would be a good idea to offer up some tips for dealing a Momzilla at your wedding:
1) Warn your wedding planner. If you let her know what to expect, she can be prepared to help run interference.
2) Make all the important and not-so-important decisions in advance so that nothing can be changed by the time Momzilla gets involved.
3) Warn your vendors that Momzilla may try to meddle. Tell the DJ not to take music requests (or CDs) from her, tell the photographer that you don't want him to the take pictures that your mother requests unless it's something you've already requested.
4) Find something that isn't as important to you -- the bridesmaids' luncheon, a farewell brunch, the contents of the welcome bags -- and assign it to your mother to give her something to do to keep her busy and out of your hair.
5) Assign a good friend (preferably one of hers who "gets" the situation) to babysit your mother all weekend. Momzillas crave attention, and making sure she has a captive audience most of the time, even if it's just one of her best friends, will help to take a lot of the pressure off of you.
With all due respect to the MoB -- after all, she put the bride on this earth -- your wedding day is not her day. It is YOUR day and it is about you and your future spouse, and nobody else. If your mother is semi-reasonable, talk to her in advance about toning down her dramatic qualities. And if you know the scenes are unavoidable, just be prepared and take your Xanax early in the day. I'm a fighter when somebody steps on my toes, and if I had been the client a couple of weeks ago, the wedding weekend would not have gone as smoothly because I would have tossed my mother over a balcony long before we made it to the ceremony. But this bride took to heart the concept that the vibe you put out to your guests is the vibe they're going to feel and follow. So rather than ruining everybody's weekend and letting her mom win, she simply let it all go. Kudos!
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!