Rest assured, there's a way to make it all work.

After months of careful planning, when your wedding day finally arrives you want everything to go off without a hitch. But how can you ensure that it's all smooth-sailing and drama-free from the very start of the day? When you're about to spend the morning with a bevy of VIP women, including your mom and future mother-in-law, you need to plan ahead. The key is setting expectations before the big day and making sure everyone knows the plan. Here, our best tips for managing all the moms in your life on the wedding day.

Getting Ready in the Bridal Suite

On the morning of your wedding, the bridal suite will be a hive of activity with your bridesmaids, hair and makeup artists, and photographers all arriving at once. Are you required to invite your mom, stepmom, and mother-in-law to get ready with you and your 'maids? Absolutely not, particularly if you want that time to be just for you and your bridal party. If you're close with your mom and/or future mother-in-law, by all means invite them to join, and even ask if they'd like to be scheduled for hair and makeup, too. If not, let those special ladies know they're welcome to stop by for a visit. They'll want to see you before the ceremony, and it's a nice way to help them feel included.

Family Photos

When parents of the bride or groom are divorced and/or remarried, or you have some other more complicated family dynamic, organizing family photos on your wedding day takes a little more work. The key here is drawing up a list of photos that you specifically want shot with your photographers in advance of your big day, and clearly communicating the agenda with your family. Hopefully everyone can get along, but you may need to schedule specific windows of time for photos with different sides of your family. Is there someone who's been a particularly important influence in your life? Make sure she's invited to the family photo shoot session, and that a portrait of the two of you is on the shoot list!

The Ceremony

When it comes to your wedding ceremony, the decisions about who will give a reading or otherwise participate are exclusively up to you and your fiancé. Remind your VIPs that the rehearsal dinner is also a wonderful time to share a reading, reflections, or other heartfelt remarks. If there are numerous women in your life that need to be escorted down the aisle, ask your groomsmen to do double duty, to first escort your grandmother, your mom, and your stepmom, then circle back to walk with one of your 'maids. Exiting the service, your bridesmaid can walk solo, while your groomsmen escorts his first pairing. Consult with your officiant about what will work best-that's what the rehearsal is for, after all!

The Reception

If your parents or future in-laws are no longer married, think carefully about how you'll seat everyone for the party. Anyone who is still friendly may have no problem sitting together, but if you know your future mother-in-law is not close with her son's stepmother, it's best to give each part of that family their own tables. The head table can also pose problems. If you and your future husband are planning to host their wedding party at a large table at the front of the reception, it would likely cause hurt feelings if you invited your parents to dine with you and not the groom's mother and father. To avoid any hurt feelings, think about these types of plans carefully.


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