This summer, I got engaged to my boyfriend of four years and I’m buzzing.
My best friends are excitedly putting together plans for my hen do next year already, but there’s one problem… my mum has assumed she’s invited.
She’s begging to be added to the group chat, and is starting to buy accessories and plan outfits already.
It’s not that my mum is annoying, or overbearing – we have a great relationship and I love her to bits, but I just really don’t want her to come. I want to be able to let my hair down with my girls, but I really feel like I’d have to be restrained, and would be on edge if she came.
She’s contributing to the wedding too, which makes it even more awkward and like I have to suck it up and bring her along.
I don’t want to hurt her feelings, or make her feel like I don’t appreciate her, so how can I kindly break it to her that I don’t want her to come? Or should I just bite the bullet, and invite her?
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Weddings are joyful occasions – but they’re also incredibly stressful. Whether you’re a bride or groom, best woman or man, family member or friend of the couple, the run up to the big day can be very tense.
If you need a bit of help with your quandary, Alison, who has run a venue for 10 years and helps couples plan weddings, is here to offer a helping hand.
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First of all, congratulations on your engagement! It is such an exciting time in your life, and I can understand why you want your hen to be a memorable night with your best friends.
Your concerns about your mum’s expectations are valid, and it is crucial to handle this situation carefully. Here are some ideas you might want to consider.
Firstly, arrange a meet-up with your mum on a one-to-one basis so you can gently and carefully discuss your vision for your hen party.
Express your gratitude to your mum for everything she’s done for you throughout your life. Make sure she understands how much you appreciate her involvement in your wedding planning and all the support she is giving you.
Acknowledge her financial contributions and your gratitude for the help she has given so far.
Then, be open and honest about your feelings. Let her know how much you value your special relationship and that your friends enjoy her company – but your vision for the hen party is to let loose with your best friends and have a real girlie night out.
Let her know that it is not about her being unwelcome but about creating a specific atmosphere for that one night. If she was there, you and your friends would understandably feel restrained and unable to let your hair down the same way.
If you feel comfortable, consider an alternative way for her to be involved in your pre-wedding celebrations. She could organise a separate gathering, like a pre-wedding tea or brunch for you and some of your friends and family, or a spa day just for the two of you, where you can spend quality time together and plan.
This will make her feel involved and reassure her. Ask for her thoughts, and see if she has any other suggestions for some alternative activities the two of you could do together.
You could also involve her in the other elements of wedding planning, like going dress shopping with you, helping with invitations, or any DIY projects you want to do.
Your mum would not usually tag along on a girl’s night out, and you want your hen party to be the same
Ultimately, whatever you decide, you must stick with your decision and do what feels right. If, after the conversation, you still believe that having your mum at the hen do wouldn’t allow you to fully enjoy the experience, you mustn’t change your mind – don’t cave if she expresses disappointment.
It’s easy to find ourselves face-to-face with someone we love who looks sad or let down and go back on what we’ve said in an attempt to make them feel better – especially when it comes to wedding planning, where both parties often care passionately about the event and may have been mentally planning or imagining it for many years.
But your wedding should reflect your choices and preferences, so do not feel guilty for making decisions that are right for you.
It is essential to be consistently transparent with your mum. Although she might be initially disappointed, she will appreciate your honesty and may feel flattered at the idea of organising a different event for you.
Reassure her that her role in your life and in your wedding is important and this is just about creating a specific atmosphere for the hen.
Your mum would not usually tag along on a girl’s night out, and you want your hen party to be the same.
It is not uncommon for a bride to have a few different pre-wedding celebrations. As your big day won’t be until next year, it gives plenty of opportunities for you and your mum to schedule some quality time together, if that’s something you both want.
Wishing you all the best with your wedding planning and future together as a married couple.
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