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.