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Mother of the Bride

My ever lovin’ mama Laura Baria wrote this beautiful love letter to all the other MOB’s out there! (*MOB serves as both Mother of the Bride or, on my darker days, Mother of the Bridezilla and, on my darkest days, Mother of the Bitch.) We didn’t always see eye to eye on certain major wedding details – I thought a large portion of the budget should go toward making it look like Martha Stewart and Pinterest made 10 million flower babies just to decorate my wedding, and she thought a large portion of the budget should go toward inviting everyone she’s ever met, and every celebrity she hasn’t. But (thanks in large part to the men who love us), we made it to the wedding without killing each other. We both compromised. And it was the happiest day of my life and, I think, one of the happiest of hers (next to the day I was born of course. And the day my brother was born. And, probably the day I moved out of the house and out of her hair.) She writes below about her favorite moment of the wedding, which was one of my favorite moments not only of the wedding, but of my life, too. Mom, thank you for making my wedding dreams come true. I love you and I will always “be your girl forever.

Where I Pass the Baton Off to the Next MOB

You will survive this emotional and physical marathon.

When your daughter wails, “I wish I had a mother who could be happy for her daughter!” or your future son-in-law texts the warning, “Storm clouds on the horizon,” (hypothetically speaking, of course) don’t take it personally.  She loves you.  You love her.  As the saying goes, “It’s as simple and as difficult as that.”  (In dire circumstances, you can always prove your love in sheer quantitative terms: You still have those 1,500 saved wedding e-mail exchanges between the two of you!)

Mother of the Bride

{Mom + me, super backlit at my bridesmaids’ luncheon}

You already had your wedding.  This is hers—of course, within reason (yours), reasonability (yours), and budget (yours).  Practice saying in your calmest voice, “Maybe there are pretty flowers in season closer than Tierra del Fuego.”

Take your B vitamins before going wedding gown shopping (trip 1, trip 2, trip 3…trip 10…and when you revisit trips 1 through 10…..).

Mother of the Bride

{Mom + one of her many besties who helped so much, Joyce}

Recruit an army of supporters for the big day (and the days leading up to the big one…..).  When friends ask, “How can I help?” most of them actually mean it, so be ready with your dream honey-do list:  zucchini bread (check), loan their car (check), loan their golf cart (check), loan their house (check and check and check), loan their boat (check), pick up your mom (check), sing at the wedding (check), bring their drone (check), cut the cake (check), help build furniture (check), transport you-name-it (check), help with kid activities (check), take pictures and videos (double check), string lights (check), bring food/booze/music (check), help with clean-up (check), be volunteer medics (check), pick up sandwiches (check), DJ (check), give speeches (check), give toasts (check), give speeches (check), host brunch (check), haul sound equipment hundreds of miles (check), build centerpieces (check), find the groom (check… oops, lost him again…)—well, the list is pretty long, and it goes on from there.  We are eternally grateful to all the dear friends and relatives who actually did all of the above without thinking twice, and did so amazingly, generously, smilingly, and graciously!!!

Mother of the Bride

{My brother walking my grandma + my mom down the aisle}

Mother of the Bride

{My mom, looking as beautiful and as happy as I have ever seen her, with my dad post-ceremony}

A few days before the wedding, when you still have a potentially clear head and a second to yourself, steam your wedding gown, ready your best confidence-building undergarments, and polish your jewelry.  Otherwise you will look as I did (besides tearfully beaming)—boobs askew and indistinguishable from my love handles, and rumpled as if I arrived by subway, in your forever wedding photos (and in as many cell phone commemoratives as there are guests). Forget about the foundation to a great marriage – make it about your personal foundation – pronto!

Mother of the Bride

{Baby Mom + baby me}

It all goes by so quickly.  I might never even have had a moment alone with my daughter had we not literally run into each other in a darkened hallway ¾’s of the way through the evening (I had lost her auntie, she needed a hair refurb).  As I held her locks and pricey extensions, trying to create a photo-op updo, it was as if she were a little girl again.  I was performing a simple action I had repeated hundreds of times—brushing her hair.  For two or so minutes, she was not only the all-grown-up-blissfully-happy-new-Mrs., she was my baby girl.  It was my favorite moment of the wedding and one of the highlights of my life.

Mother of the Bride

{Mom with 2 out of her 3 granddogs}

Get a good night’s rest.  It’s probably ill-advised to have your daughter’s three dogs share your bed in the nights leading up to the wedding.

Mother of the Bride

{Mom in Tahoe with her 3 granddogs + 2 dog-children}

Comfy shoes.  No one will be looking at your shoes.  You will be on your feet throughout the event, on the dance floor, and you will be the last one standing.

Mother of the Bride

{Mom + Dad at the rehearsal}

Assign your significant other to serve as mediator with the bride when dealing with all hot-button items.  What you may see as extravagant might be a treasured detail to the bride or later to a guest.

Hire the most skillful wedding/event planner you possibly can. He/she will be both bad cop and good cop, the voice of sanity, and the angel of mercy when needed most. He/she will save your marriage and your maternal bond. Worth it? You bet!

Mother of the Bride

Regarding alcohol: People will be capturing moments for posterity with their ever-present cameras.  Do you want to be on your posteriority?  Wit and wits tend to be more socially acceptable than blotto.

Be prepared when the curious ask, “How much did this thing cost?” Our go-to was, “Thank God, we haven’t gotten the bill yet!!!”  (Sadly, that tag line is no longer as true or funny.)

Mother of the Bride

{Mom + me at my bridal shower}

Encourage your significant other to practice his speech.  Like the Oscars, it’s an occasion where you really want to nail, not wing, it.

Let the advice you would give your daughter be your wedding (if not life) mantra.  I love Coach John Wooden’s: “Be true to yourself.
 Make each day your masterpiece.
 Help others.
 Drink deeply from good books.
 Make friendship a fine art.
 Build a shelter against a rainy day.
 Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.”

Mother of the Bride

{Mom + my bridesmaids at the rehearsal}

Please remember to thank your daughter’s helpmates.  The second you have all the bridesmaids together in one room (which isn’t as easy as it sounds), let them know how much their love and support and extraordinariness mean to you.  I was about to, but then we had to go, go, go.  It’s my one “day of” regret.  So better late than never:  Katierose, Jacquelyn, Barbara, Julia, Alison, and Michelle—I truly adore you all, you are my honorary daughters, and Annie is so deeply lucky to have you in her life!  You are beautiful (inside and out), brilliant, funny, positive, creative, strong wonders of women!  Thank you for everything you did and do!  May you all be there for each other forever!

Mother of the Bride

{Pampering with the bridesmaids}

Tell your new son-in-law you love him.  Often.  Guess what?!  He’s your son now!

Find allies in your in-laws.  You are united in your love and good wishes for the kids.

Something will go terribly wrong.  What’s a wedding without a little panic???  However, when you look back, I promise you, it won’t seem all doom-and-gloomy, and will probably even be a little/a lot laughable.

Mother of the Bride


Embrace the fun quirks.  Many quirks add up to a blast.  Did you happen to see: My sister’s pet tortoise she brought to the farewell brunch, or, the skinny-dipping at the welcome party, or, one of the revelers falling asleep on the beach only to awaken (and make up for lost time) on the dance floor, etc., etc.?

Don’t get hung up on details. At a certain point, you will need to embrace your inner lemming and just head for that cliff.

I read this in some waiting room magazine: “When a child finds true love, a parent finds true joy,” and it became my mantra for the last year-and-a-half (and while I think of it, my other advice would be to heartily encourage a shorter engagement. Or, better yet, an elopement.)

Mother of the Bride

{Mom + me at the rehearsal}

Overall, let happiness reign.  Let it rain happiness and sweet, sweet love, today, that very special day, and ever after.

Mother of the Bride