Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Weather.

I am having a January wedding. In a previous post I explained all the reasons why. I am very excited about my winter wedding. However, one thing has been on my mind; the weather.

I know I cannot control the weather, especially for a January wedding. This past Martin Luther King Jr. weekend it was snowy in Cincinnati, all weekend long. It snowed all day on the 17th (my wedding date) and looked like a winter wonderland! This gave me anxiety. I know another couple who were married on the 17th this year, and a lot of their guests did not come because of the weather. My biggest worry! Can you imagine putting all that planning, money, and effort into planning a wedding and then have half of your guests not show up because of a snow storm?! The worst! So as you can imagine, I am pretty obsessed with the weather. I have always been a little over concerned with the weather, especially during tornado season in Ohio.

Yesterday, my fiancé, Oren, had a friend over the house who was in town for work. During our conversation I brought up the weather and how cold it is for March. We started talking about the crazy weather conditions of 2013-2014 thus far and eventually got on the topic of our wedding. I confessed my worries about the weather and people missing the wedding as a result. Oren’s friend, being the nice guy he is, said:

“Don’t worry about the weather and people missing the wedding. The most important part of getting married is having both your parents there and both of Oren’s parents there. A long as you have that, you don’t need to worry about anyone else.”

I smiled. He obviously forgot, or didn’t know, that my mom passed away. Oren and I glanced at each other and smiled. Neither of us wanted to make him feel awkward in our home, and we mutually agreed (without words) that we would not correct him. I knew that correcting him would make him feel awkward, just when I tell people I am planning my wedding alone because my Mom passed away; awkward.

Oren’s friends statement made me think. He assumed my mom was alive, just like everyone does. That I can’t blame anyone for. I am (almost) 27, of course it is more normal for me to have a Mom than not. I started thinking about what his statement meant. He said that the weather was not as important because we would have our parents there, and that is the important part. I agree, having my Dad and Oren’s parents there is very important. However, I can’t help but think that I am not even going to have the most important part of my wedding completed.

I will be missing someone who cannot be replaced. Oren is missing the opportunity to ever meet my Mother. He will never have a mother-in-law. We will both be missing someone very special on our wedding day, actually, multiple people.

Oren’s friends statement made me feel pretty sad for a little, even though I masked my sadness with a smile. At the moment, I have found no comfort knowing that not all four of the most important people in Oren and my life will be there. As I try to maneuver between these feelings, I think I will just focus on the weather.

 

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“Missing someone isn’t about how long it has been since you’ve seen them, or the amount of time since you’ve talked. It’s about that very moment when you’re doing something and realize you wish they were right there by your side.”

Someone posted this in a group I belong to on Facebook. It spoke to me, so I thought I’d share it.

I just want her.

The stress of wedding planning is heavy on my shoulders. Along with the stress of wedding planning, I also have stress in other areas of my life.

I guess I have not given an introduction of myself or my story yet. I am currently in a Master’s program working and going to school full time. I had an amazing opportunity to study what I am passionate about for free. I have free tuition, a meal plan, free housing… it really does not get much better. When Oren popped the question, I knew that balancing wedding planning and school was going to be tough, especially with no one to help me.

My mom passed away almost 8 years ago. She died from breast cancer, but fought for over 10 years. She was the strongest woman I know and the most inspiring woman I will ever know. I will never find a woman with her heart, determination, love, drive, compassion, sensitivity, fearlessness, strength… I could go on and on. I am sure most women feel this way about their mom, not all but a lot. There were not many people who disliked my mom, though there were a few- and that is because she didn’t back down to anyone and did not let anyone walk over her, something I admire. My mom fought that cancer for me and my brothers. She didn’t want us to grow up without a mom. She went through hell and back-quite literally- to try to fight the disease. She did not win. On September 26th 2006 the world lost an amazing soul. I find comfort knowing she watches over me.

I do not think people know how to help a motherless bride. People expect me to reach out to them for help, but in all honesty how can I do that? I feel like I am annoying and in my silly mind I think if they have not offered, why would I reach out. Of course people say “if you need anything, I can help” when what I want to hear “what do you need? I WANT to help.”

I think what I want to say is as simple as this: No matter how many people want to help me, no matter how many people do help me, it will never be enough because it is not my mom. No one is as excited for me as my mom would have been. No one constantly wants to discuss decor, and hair, and makeup, and shoes, and lighting as my mom would have. No one wants to hear about the wedding 24/7 as my mom would have. I think knowing that has been the most difficult thing to get over. I just want my mom.

A head start on planning.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I started planning almost immediately after I became engaged. Since I got engaged the day before Thanksgiving, I was able to enjoy that Thursday with family and friends taking in the excitement of knowing I was going to marry the love of my life. As soon as it was an acceptable time on Friday morning, I called my dream venue to ask questions about holding my January wedding. I knew my wedding was going to be in January for a while, in fact, I had the exact date down. January 17th 2015 was the date I dreamt about even before Oren popped the question (though he did not know that!). I wanted that date for many reasons:

1. It is MLK Jr. weekend, which is a long weekend for some and would provide an extended day for travel.

2. I am Jewish and we can not get married on Saturdays because of Shabbat. However, in the winter Shabbat ends earlier than the summer (because the sun sets earlier) so I knew that if I had a winter wedding I could possibly have an easier time getting married on a Saturday. Though everyone in my family gets married on a Sunday (both because of Shabbat and because no one has yet to have a winter wedding) I like the way Saturday weddings feel- knowing you do not have to go to work the next morning after a night of dancing and drinking.

3. I have always dreamed of a winter wedding. Snow (already) on the ground, the beauty. I love winter! I also tend to sweat a lot in the summer and did not want to have this occurrence on my wedding day. I would rather be cold than hot, you can always add more layers. In addition, I wanted my wedding attire to be Black Tie (though I have come to realize it may be rude to ask Black Tie of your guests, because that would mean if they did not already have a tux they would have to rent or buy one, so we are doing Black Tie Preferred) and people are more willing to dress fancier in the winter, than the summer (my observations).

4. Finally, probably the biggest reason I wanted a winter wedding in January was because my Mom’s birthday is January 13th. This may seem foolish to many, but for me to have my wedding by my mother’s birthday was symbolically a way to honor her. In addition, it turns January into a joyous month (I hope!) rather than me being sad I can not celebrate another birthday with her. This is my thinking, and to me it makes sense, however I tend not to tell anyone this reason I want a winter wedding- the mood becomes awkward very quickly.

After calling my venue, I was setting up meetings with all the vendors I wanted to lock down immediately. Thankfully, I was about to be on Winter Break from my graduate program, so this gave me ample opportunity to make appointments with many different vendors for the next month and a half!

By Christmas I had locked down the venue, the photographer, the videographer, the band, a Photo Booth, the florist, my dress, my bridesmaids dresses, wedding party, and an event coordinator for the day of my wedding. I felt good about my progress. I am one who decides what they want fast. I do not take much time second guessing my decisions. Usually I listen to my heart over my head. If my heart says go, I do it. If my heart feels anxious, I stay away. I have let my heart guide me with every vendor I picked (especially when I had a lousy interview with a “know it all” photographer who was rude and made fun of my wedding planning book!).

Let’s talk about that photographer. She was something else! I purchased a wedding planning book from Barnes and Nobles. It is not one from “the knot” or any of those other brand name wedding sites. I picked it because it seemed to be the most organized out of all the planners on the shelf. And organized does it keep me! It has a section for every single vendor, questions to ask, things to pay attention to in the contracts, and the thing that helped me the most, a way to budget my wedding! I found this very helpful, especially since I was mostly planning alone.

I went to my appointment with this photographer and was turned off immediately. Her condescending ways did not match up with my personality. She told me she would yell at my family and friends if they were “getting in her way” or “not listening to her”. I was not okay with this, especially knowing my family. She was out of my price range and I asked her about winter wedding deals (as I ask every vendor. It is well known that winter weddings aren’t in high demand and that by asking about winter wedding deals almost all vendors will give you some sort of discount) and she went on to tell me by looking at my ring it did not look like I needed any deal. In my opinion, that was a rude statement. She had no idea about where I came from and what I needed and didn’t need. For her to make a generalization about my finances just from my ring was absurd! But the insults did not stop there, as I was wrapping up my questions she said “Do you have anything else to talk about that your little book advises” in a rude and bitchy (sorry I have a sailor’s mouth sometimes!) voice. At that point I looked at her and lost control. I said “as a woman who is planning a wedding without my mom, I need this book and do not appreciate your tone”. Yep, I said it. I do not let people be rude to me, no matter who they are. I walked out of the meeting with both of us knowing I would not be using her services.

That would be the only “horror” experience I have come across with a vendor so far. Thank goodness!

When I set up meetings with my vendors I always add a little note “by the way, my mother passed away so my father will be the one helping me, or the one you’re meeting”. I do not do this to get sympathy from any vendor, but more importantly to avoid their questions about my mom. I found that when I do not mention anything the conversation comes up, and automatically I become emotional. If I let the vendor know before that my mother will not be involved with this process, than we can skip the awkwardness of them bringing her up, and me becoming emotional.

Yesterday my Dad and I ventured to Dayton, OH to attend a vendor event. We went specifically to order my Chivary chairs that I have had my eye on since December. The rental company was having an amazing deal, 15% off the rental AND future rentals from their company if you booked and paid in full that day. I love a deal and had to get there! I asked my Dad if he wanted to come and he was more than willing to come help me with this venture. In the past, my Dad has given me his advice and helped with the payment. He has never come to a vendor meeting with me and I was excited to have him see me work my magic.

We got to the rental company, checked in and sat down with a consultant right away since I already knew we were going to rent the Chivary chairs. After we did business, we went out back and took a look at all the vendors. As I walked around I kept getting asked “do you have a venue? do you have a band, DJ? Do you have…” It felt AMAZING to have most of my vendors and I realized how much I have already accomplished. My dad was LOVING the vendors! He had cake samplings, beef samplings, and any other food he could get his hands on. I kept having to wait as he looked around to see what else he could eat. It ended up being a very fun experience! I do not think I have many more vendors to secure, but I plan on bringing him to future meetings with me from now on.

As we were leaving my dad said to me “thank you for including me in this! I know you would have loved to have your mom here, but it was an honor for me to join you.” He is right, I would do anything to have my mom with me, but having him, I realized in that moment, was just as special.

Let’s start from the very beginning.

Motherless Bride. Not a term you hear often. Usually when a woman gets enagaged, she calls her mom right away. They start the planning process, pick a dress, look for venues, decide on décor, etc. Being a bride in our society, it is expected for women to have their mothers. But what about the women who have lost their mothers? How do brides prepare for the lack of emotional support? The sadness of not having the woman who brought you into the world help you plan, make hard decisions, and keep others in check? Who is there to back you up and support your crazy ideas? Or, let’s be real, even there to fight with you when you disagree on a minor detail? I am going to be honest. No one can replace your mother when it comes to planning. I have had the support of my cousins and aunts, but they don’t know what it feels like to do this without their mom. No one in my family lost their mother before they were 50, except my Grandmother. Sadly in her case, she is unable to help me for other reasons. My aunts moms were there when they got married, had babies, and bought houses. My mom didn’t even see me graduate from college.

At first the hardest part about getting engaged was knowning that my fiancé would never know my mother. I kept thinking about how much she would love him (because she would) and how much he would love her. I constantly think about the fact that our children will only have one grandmother to be spoiled by. But now I am getting ahead of myself, babies are for later.

It was not until recently where I realized the depth of my pain during this planning process. I got engaged and immediately wanted to call my Dad. I didn’t even think about my Mom. “How could she have forgotten about her mom” you are probably wondering. I didn’t think about the fact I couldn’t share the news with my mom until a couple days later. I am so use to celebrating events without my mom that during the excitement of getting engaged (there was SO MUCH excitement including a surprise engagement party!) it did not occur to me that my mom was missing one of the best moments of my life or that she was going to miss even more.

It was not until I called the venue to book my dream wedding that I started really noticing her absence. This is the venue that my mother and I always talked about when planning my dream wedding. (Yes, we were the mother daughter pair who planned my wedding since I was six. When we found out she was going to pass away, we got out a wedding planning book and wrote down everything she envisioned my wedding to be.) It was really happening, and it was happening without her.

I jumped into wedding planning. Calling vendors, setting up appointments. I picked out my dress 3 weeks after I became engaged. Usually a bride waits a little, but I did not want to waste any time. Subconsciously I wanted to get as much of the planning over with so I did not have to dwell on all the things I had to do without my mom. I made an appointment at a wedding salon my cousin had suggested. Knowing that this was the quintessential “mother daughter” moment of wedding planning, I wanted it to be short and sweet with limited people. However, my family had other plans. After consulting with my aunt it became clear I had to invite everyone or no one. So I invited all 4 of my aunts living in town, one of my cousins, my grandma (mom’s mom), future mother-in-law, and future sister-in-law.  At first I thought having them there was going to make things more difficult, but looking back I am glad they came. They helped support me and were very helpful in the selection process. We had fun, laughed a lot, and I almost forgot I was doing it without my mom.

Then I found my dream dress. I put it on, and started getting teary eyed. I knew what my mom would say about it. She would have loved it. They put on the veil, gave me some shoes, and just like that I found my dress. When I said “yes to my dress” everyone cried. And it was a nice moment. I knew why they were crying, it was the same reason why I was crying. It was not because I found my dress, but because my mom would have loved the dress. It was a nice moment where I could almost feel her presence.

Through this blog I am going to tell my journey of planning my wedding as a motherless bride. I can not promise it will be the best writing or story telling you have ever seen. I can promise that it is real and vulnerable. I am hoping that blogging through this process will not only help me but possibly help others who are experiencing what I am experiencing. Whether you lost your mom to death or because you have lost connection, I hope you find comfort in the journey knowing you are not alone.