My little boy is not even two yet, so I can’t imagine exactly how I will feel when the day comes that he tells me he is getting married. I know for damn sure I will be absolutely over the moon and full of nothing but love and excitement about the forthcoming event (unless his chosen partner for life is an absolute nightmare!). I’m sure I may even be a wee sad that my little boy loves someone else more than he loves me! What I can’t imagine however, is that I will be upset over his plans, will interfere with his choices and try to push my own ideas on to him. So why the hell is it that many parents don’t think in the same way? Sadly, some don’t and many, without even realising it. So for those that don’t I’ve written a letter, like a headmistress to a naughty child, a last warning to correct their behaviour. This is for them, so print it off and give it to them or learn it yourself and regurgitate it to them in your own way. Either way, they need to know this!
For the pushy parents
The time has come in your life when your precious child has decided to get married. You are so happy, so proud, so excited that they are taking this next big step in their life. It just seemed like yesterday that they were learning how to walk and now here they are on the cusp of getting married. You are so excited you cannot wait to hear what they have planned. In fact, you’ve already called Reverend Peter, who did your wedding and the children’s christenings to see if he is available. And luckily, he’s not only alive but will come out of retirement especially for you. You are so pleased but slightly annoyed that the church now costs three times the amount that it did when you had your wedding there, but costs do not matter – your baby’s getting married. You’re waiting to hear back from the golf club, too, although your membership has expired you’re hoping they’ll get back to you with a good rate for 200 people. Well, you think it will be that figure, once you take into account all of your cousins and work friends.
But wait hang on a minute.You’ve had your big day, haven’t you? Do you remember? The big white wedding in the church followed by a wedding banquet for 200 guests at your local hotel. Although your day was wonderful, maybe you didn’t get to do all the things you would have wanted to do, now that you know all the things that you can do! But your son or daughter’s wedding day is not the time for you to make up for your lost wishes. This is their day, their way.
Why not wait for them to tell you THEIR plans? Maybe they don’t want the big church ceremony that you had. Maybe they don’t want a religious ceremony at all? Maybe they just want their closest family and friends and not the distant cousins they have never met or your uni friends who they hardly remember.
Yes, I understand that you are paying a considerable chunk towards your child’s wedding day. What a beautiful gift from you to them. But it is a gift, not a bargaining tool. You do not buy someone a box of chocolates and then tell them which ones they can eat and when they can eat them.
Guide them, but don’t overwhelm them.
Offer your opinions when they look for them.
Support them but don’t suffocate them.
Help the planning of their day be enjoyable and stress-free.
Don’t allow them to make decisions that will please you and only you, but which they feel they are forced to do under some weird sort of parental duress.
Be the best parents that you can be during their most special time and they will love you for ever. Okay, they will anyway, but I’m sure it will be two-fold, if you can just support them in the way they want to be supported on their exciting new journey.