I have been a wedding coordinator for my church for six years now. The most common question I get asked when I tell people this fact is “have you had any bridezillas yet?” The simple answer is no. All of the brides and grooms I have worked with have been lovely. Really! I have had a few “diva” moments, but never a bride that treated everyone horribly. That being said I have had a few momzillas. This is my worst momzilla story.
Momzillas are the well-meaning mothers of the bride and/or groom that either try to control everything in order to live vicariously through their child’s wedding, OR they question everything the bride and/or groom does because it is not how they would do it. Most of the times I have learned to work WITH the overbearing mother so that she knows we are a team. We both want the absolute best for their child and if we work together that is what we will accomplish. Unfortunately, sometimes not even that is enough, and all my efforts are ignored. I only had this happen once to me so far. I had dueling mothers who both wanted their own ways.
It all started when I found out that MOTB (mother of the bride) had just been through a bitter divorce with FOTB (father of the bride), and she would not allow the bride to be walked down the aisle by FOTB, so Grandfather of the bride was going to do it instead. That was my first clue that we may be in for a wild ride.
First, most of the planning process went well but when I realized at the meetings that MOTB AND MOTG (mother of the groom) was both there, with their own opinions no less, I wondered if the bride was being forced into ideas she may not necessarily like herself.
Second, MOTB made a big deal out of the bride and her father taking pictures together. She made a big scene of it, but thankfully the bride stood up to her and she was permitted a few pictures with her father. I felt so bad for him. I didn’t know what all happened there, but he was the ONLY ONE in the family to thank me for helping his daughter get through her big day.
Third, the guest book was a photo frame that the guests were to sign. They had bought special permanent gold and silver pens for the guest to use. The pens exploded on the first two people who used them leaving them covered with gold and silver spots all over their shirt and dress. Also, it left permanent ink stains on the welcome center table with I cleaned out myself. I had to rush to find new pens around the church so more guests could sign the guest frame. I was later blamed for not enough guests signing it.
Fourth, the bride had told us to leave the instruments on the stage. Our sanctuary has a big stage and most the time the instruments are removed from the stage for weddings, so it can be decorated. Since the bride didn’t say to move them we moved them off to the side a little to make room for decorations. The sound guy and I came in the morning of the wedding to see everything unhooked and moved to the side…IN A PILE! Nothing handled kindly. It was a mess. We decided after this wedding just to move all the instruments anyway, so this could never happen again.
Lastly, the MOTG stopped the wedding before it could even start. Five minutes before a wedding is to start I give an announcement to the guests in the lobby that the guestbook will be closed now, and they may go find a seat. This gives the guest a few minutes to get seated while I gather the wedding party to line them up for their grand entrances. I had just come back down the stairs with the wedding party behind me and the MOTG says to me “We can’t start the wedding yet! There are still people in the parking lot!”
“They still have time to come in and grab a seat as we line up,” I tried to reassure her.
“Well, my family is not here yet! You see I have a very small family and it’s important to me that they are here for this” she continues as she steps in front of the sanctuary doors to stop the wedding from starting. (!!!)
I feel myself starting to get mad at her selfishness. All the other guests had gotten here on time, but she wants us to make everyone wait until her family arrived. So I calmly, but firmly asked her, “And when do you expect them to be here?”
“Well I don’t know!” she barked at me.
“Go call them to see when we can expect them and I will line everyone else up,” I told her in the kindest voice I could muster.
She got one sister on the phone to find out that she was not coming because her child was sick. As she’s ending that call the second sister walks in and MOTG announces “I held the wedding for you! (Her sister looked at her speechless and horrified, as she rushed into the sanctuary for a seat).
We finally were able to start the wedding ten minutes after it was to start. The bride, groom, and most everyone else that saw that all go down were upset with her selfishness, but she was too worried about herself to see that she had upset the bride and groom. Thankfully I've never had to see any of them again.
I left that wedding feeling like I had been run over all day. Everything I did to help was just questioned or ignored by the MOTB and MOTG. It was truly awful. I went home and cried. I may have used a few choice words when relaying the story to my husband to be very honest. I almost quit wedding coordinating then and there. I was mad at how I was treated, but I also felt bad for the bride and groom. The mothers caused so much unnecessary drama just so they could have their own way.
Moral of the story: Parents, please realize that this is your child’s big day, not yours. Don’t “help” unless asked to, and even then be supportive to your child’s ideas, but do not try to control everything.
Post note: Since this unfortunate incident I have been able to find a silver lining. When I have been asked in job interviews “tell me about a time when you have to deal with a difficult person,” this is my go to story. I usually just tell about the part where she stopped the wedding from starting because she wanted to wait for her family. I explain how calmly and firmly I handle the situation (of which I was complimented on later by people who watch that all happen), and how I defused the issues to get the wedding processional started.