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.


2 thoughts on “Let’s start from the very beginning.

  1. pdxobgyn

    Thank you so much for writing this blog! I lost my mom when I was 28 and got married when I was 30. So much of what you are describing here brings me back to that time. Last September was her 10-year Yarzheit. I can’t believe it. That means that I have now lived more than 25% of my life without her. It doesn’t get less painful. I just feel like I get better at pushing through the pain so I can live life.
    Getting married without my mom was so hard. The only 2 things harder than that, so far, were having my babies without her. So, you are not far off in thinking about the babies part. There is not a day in my life since she died that I have not missed her, or noticed something about my life that would be different if she were alive. Losing my mom changed me. I would never wish it on anyone, but since it happened to you, too, it is nice to know when you are not alone and that someone understands you.
    I am so happy for you that found your dream dress! That was one of the hardest things for me to do without my mom. Of course, all the other girls at the dress shops had their moms with them. I tried not to be jealous, but I was green with it and cried. A lot. I took a trip to San Francisco and did some dress shopping with 2 of my best friends there. That helped, but the shops we went to were outrageous and some of the dresses cost about half of what my whole wedding cost! Then, my Gram flew out to shop with me. She brought with her a wonderful gift: my mom’s wedding dress! It was beautiful. It *almost* fit but was completely for the wrong season. My wedding was in summer and hers was in winter. So, I had it altered and made my wedding dress out of hers. It was one of the ways I was able to have her “help” me with my dress. Do you know if your mom’s dress was saved and if so, where it is? Perhaps you could use a piece of it’s fabric to make a little handbag for you to keep your vows & lipstick in that day? (My seamstress did that for me with some of the extra fabric that she couldn’t use – winter –> summer dress = excess fabric!) Or a part of the veil or train or a hairpiece if you are going to have those things? Just a thought.
    I think it is so amazing that your mom did wedding planning with you. What an incredible gift. My mom died suddenly so we had no idea she wouldn’t be there. That must have been so important to her to work with you on something like that. It is so wonderful that you KNEW she would have loved your dress. I’m sure it is simply stunning and that you will be radiant in it!

  2. Elizabeth

    I was so happy to have stumbled across your blog. I am also a motherless bride planning my September 13th wedding without my biggest fan. My mother passed away very suddenly 14 months ago. I have missed her presence and opinion every step of the way and am not exactly sure how I will even make it through the day. My only comfort is knowing that with each day that passes, I have survived and am a little bit stronger. If you ever want to swap stories, please email me. Best of luck and remember that you only get to plan your wedding once so we should try to enjoy it!


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