Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! | New York Times best-selling author (and Sullivan’s Island resident) Dorothea Benton Frank pens a hilarious and hearfelt must-read for MOBs and MOGs
Image by Nicholas Gore Weddings
In the past three years, Dorothea “Dottie” Benton Frank married off her daughter, Victoria (we ran the wedding here), became a grandmother, and married off her son, Liam. The prolific writer has just released By Invitation Only (see review below), about a Lowcountry boy saying “I do” to the daughter of Chicago socialites. We visited with her on this side of the book and all the action on the family front to see what advice she could share for brides, grooms, and their moms.
Charleston Weddings: How did your kids’ weddings differ?
Dottie Frank: Victoria wanted a bigger wedding and Maddie and Liam wanted a smaller and quieter wedding. Victoria’s wedding had 220 and William’s 75 or 80.
CW: How did your experiences inform your latest book, By Invitation Only?
DF: We’ve been to all kinds of crazy weddings. It was time for me to write a wedding book about everything that can go wrong. Our weddings went really well and we happened to love the families they married into. What if it hadn’t been?
CW: What advice would you give engaged couples?
DF: It’s so hard to think through a marriage and what it’s really going to be until you’re in it. I think the secret to a happy marriage is to be stubborn because you can’t give into the hard stuff. There are a lot of differences in opinion, but you stay married because you make this commitment to stay together.
CW: How about advice for the moms?
DF: Whether you are the MOG or MOB, you want to be the kind of in-law you wish you had and you want to be the in-law the children need.
CW: What about bumps in the road?
DF: Everyone needs to take a deep breath and remember what this is all about—the love of two people coming together to make a new family. That and don’t shove the wedding of your dreams down your daughter’s throat!
Image by Melissa Sommer 
By Invitation Only (HarperCollins, $26.99)
What happens when the son of John’s Island, South Carolina, peach farmers marries the daughter of affluent Chicagoans? For starters, MOG Diane English Stiftel’s world gets rocked—and the MOB’s perhaps even more so. Nervous about your own “mixed” marriage? Take heart. “In my story,” says Dottie, “they all come to need each other.” The lesson, she says, is to keep an open mind, because you never know when you’re going to need someone. “Take a deep breath and be ready to roll with anything.”