09/10/2013 05:37 pm ET Updated Nov 10, 2013

Surviving the Dreaded Momzilla

Getting married is a special time and rite of passage for a woman and there's no one is more excited for her than her mother. While wedding planning can be a great bonding experience for a mother and daughter, it can also be huge stressor and point of contention. Brides tend to forget how emotionally invested mothers can be as her little princess gets married. Everyone expects a bride to have a moment or two where she's overwhelmed, but adding a momzilla to the situation takes it another level. Momzillas come in different shapes and forms, but all need to be regarded carefully as to not risk the relationship between mother and daughter.

The Vicarious Momzilla

A vicarious momzilla is the one who's living out her wedding fantasies through her daughter. In most cases the mother didn't have her dream wedding or even have a wedding at all. Now that her daughter is getting married she is determined to makes sure she has the wedding of a lifetime, the mother's lifetime that is. These moms really mean no harm, however they will have a tremendous amount of opinions about everything from the venue to the flowers and sometimes even down to the bride's shoes! She may feel that her daughter should be in the purest white from head to toe and wear a princess ball gown, however her daughter may want something more low key with lace and less poof. While mother's opinions are important, brides should keep in mind that it's their day and not their mother's. Listen to the mother's opinions, but be sure that the bride's vision isn't compromised to please her mother. Brides can make the biggest momzilla feel special by incorporating some of her ideas into the wedding or giving her a special role in the planning process. For example, if there's a family tradition or religious reading that's special to the mother, add it to the ceremony. It only takes a few seconds to incorporate and it will spare the bride years of hearing her mother complain about it not being done.

The Critical Momzilla

Some moms, my own included, are extremely critical. They only want the best for their daughter, but sometimes their delivery can be a bit harsh. When my mother and I went wedding dress shopping, she criticized every dress I loved, told me I looked fat a few times, somehow made the appointment about her and rushed me out of salons. In all fairness, my mom was a pageant mom who made a lot of my dresses, did the prep work and judged competitions. While she was just trying to help and some of her critiques were accurate, a bride to be, I was emotional and just wanted my mom to support me and not be my pageant judge. In these situations, the bride must keep her composure and gently tell her mother her comments are hurting her feelings. Explain that it's understood that she means well, but the bride just needs her to soften her approach. If all else fails, there's no rule that says brides have to go dress shopping or to any other wedding appointment with their mother. It's perfectly okay for brides to take their bridesmaids or other friends and family instead. As long as the bride has a good experience, and is happy that's all that's important.

The Controlling Momzilla

If a momzilla is paying for the wedding, watch out! Sometimes, when a mother is financially supporting her daughter's wedding, she feels that it gives her more authority in the decision-making process and if she does not approve she won't pay! In these situations, it's best to set the ground rules up front. Brides should have a conversation with her mother prior to beginning to plan the wedding to determine how much influence mom will have on actually decisions. This way when disagreements arise, the bride can respectfully remind her mother that she agreed not to take over the wedding. However, if the bride does not allow the mother to have influence, she may need to be prepared to cover the cost of certain aspects of the wedding or the wedding in its entity herself.

Whether a mother turns into a momzilla or not, all moms want their daughters to be happy on their wedding day. Through open and honest communication, a bride can survive even the most ferocious momzilla while still keeping their relationship intact.

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