Five years ago my eldest son married the most exquisite girl. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have another daughter in the house. In light of Mothers Day this weekend I thought that I would write a bit of a homage to the ‘Mother of the Groom’. MOG.
To the Mother of the Groom by Lisa Hunt-Wotton
Back Story: My son and his wife are both incredible artists. My son Mitchell is a gifted director and producer, my daughter-in-love Rachel is an aerial performer. Rach has been an Olympic gymnast and as well as being a highly sought after performer and coach, she has worked for 4 years in Cirque de Soleil in Vegas.
When my son told me the happy news of their pending marriage, in three months time, I immediately called my Aunt, the queen of Brighton etiquette. She promptly told me:
Lisa darling, as the ‘Mother of the Groom’, your job is to wear beige and to shut up.
Well this was a little bit of a shock to me. As an artist myself, beige was not exactly my colour of choice, and as a writer and activist I was not known for my ability to ‘shut up’. In fact the children’s nickname for me was ‘boomer’.
Never-the-less I endeavoured to obey the wisdom of my Aunt. Obviously having raised, lived with and worked with artists, I understood that it would be a less than traditional wedding. What I wasn’t prepared for was how traditional I was and how shutting up would prove to be harder than I realised.
Having produced many huge productions a wedding was not really a big deal to these two in the light of the magnitude and regularity of events that they were doing on a regular basis. I was also used to working with large events. However, the demon of acceptable etiquette loomed over my shoulder and I surprised myself at how locked in I was to tradition.
Questions went something like this:
But mum why do we have to have a wedding cake?
Why do things have to match?
What is the purpose of a ceremony in a church?
Why do we have to have traditional wedding invitations?
Are we just bowing to tradition? Are these things a true reflection of who we are as a couple? Why do we have to invite so and so?
Me – ‘You’re not going to have Rachel arrive swinging from the ceiling are you?
All pretty normal things really.
The trickiest thing for me was the timing. From memory we bought my sons suit a couple of days before the wedding lol…. (manic laugh). It just wasn’t a big deal to him. I wish that I could say the same but I was running on nerves. I was becoming the OCD Mother from hell.
I managed to stay ‘beigely quiet’ until the discussion of the table centres. I am a florist, my mother is a florist. I was actually looking forward to the table centres. Then the phone call came.
“Mum, we’ve come up with a brilliant idea. How about we put really large vases on the centre of the tables and fill them with a few snakes. With lids on of course. How cool would that be?”
My Husband – thinking that Mitch was talking about Allen’s lolly snakes. “Yeah that’s a cool idea, then at the end of the wedding we could eat the snakes!”
Me with hand over the phone – and a slightly shrill voice – “He’s not talking about Allen’s snakes you ding dong, he’s talking about real snakes“.
Me talking to Mitch trying to stay beige. “Mitch do you think thats a good idea? People might be a bit scared of snakes”.
Mitch: “Nah mum it will be cool”
Me: Silence is broken and Beige has flown out the window.
“NO, NO It WONT be cool, everyone will be too terrified to come into the room. NO NO NO we are not having live snakes at your wedding – this is where I draw the line”.
Looking back now I realise that they were right about a lot of things and I could have chilled out a lot more. But, it was my sons wedding, the first wedding of one of my children. Of course I wanted it to be perfect and it was.
It was the most amazing, stunning, brilliant, perfect perfect day.
The moral of the story here Mothers: is that it is your child’s wedding.
We have our own impressions of how it should be, but at the end of the day the thing that matters the most is that it is a day that truly reflects the personalities and passions of the couple. Gen X,Y and Z are not bound to traditions as we are. Its a whole new world. As a creative I surprised myself at how locked in I was. It was a huge lesson for me personally and I’m so glad that I received such wise advice.
“Wear beige and shut up”
Now that I work as a celebrant, my sage 21 year old daughter tells me. “Just remember Mum, the wedding is about them and not about you”, and she is so very very right.