Tag Archives: wedding

A bittersweet symphony

Since the last time I wrote (which has been a while, my apologies) a lot has happened in my life, and the life of my family.

Wedding details:
I had my Bachelorette party in New Orleans in October. It was a beautiful time of the year to go, the weather was nice and warm, a nice break from dreary Ohio. Also, I was surrounded by the love of my best friends and family. The weekend was perfect and the only thing I wish I could have changed would be to make it last longer. I had both my bridal showers which were gorgeous and filled with love. However, with the wedding bliss there was also a lot of sadness.

My Aunt Susie, my mother’s only sister, was in and out of the hospital due to heart complications. Before long, it was discovered that she was carrying a rare and mysterious heart disease. Our family was hopeful for a recovery, though we all understood it would not be easy, especially on her. After multiple surgeries that didn’t take, she passed away surrounded by her amazing children, devoted husband, and of course, her two brothers, brother-in-law, and nieces and nephew. I do not want to dwell on that time, as it is something I would not be upset with if I forgot bits and pieces. Like my Mom, I do not want to remember my aunt during her weak times, rather I want to remember her when she was a strong woman, which was the majority of her life.

When my Mom passed away eight years ago, my aunt came to me and hugged me so tight. I remember the moment, the place, even the time of the day this happened. She looked at me and said “I am your surrogate mother, I will be here.” To remember that moment now and it fills my eyes with tears and my heart with sadness. My Aunt Susie and I are both very strong women. So much that when she would give me advice, I would tell her I had it under control and later I would usually take her advice. (For example, she did not like my bolero for my dress, but I told her no way I would change it. I have since decided to not wear the bolero on my wedding day. She was right). In many ways, I was treated like a third daughter. She did not care if I would be upset by her advice, she gave it to me because she thought that was the best thing for me. We did not talk every day, or every week, but when we did talk she would call me and say “Hi Sweetie, what’s going on?” and we would chat about my life, school, O, and most recently the wedding.

My aunt was looking forward to my wedding, and I was looking forward to her being there for me. She was in charge of the gematria, which is adding the numbers of the hebrew alphabet to find meaning in every simcha. She will no longer be able to provide that tradition. As she was in the hospital, she was discussing with others what outfit she was going to wear, and how excited she was. I am my mother’s only daughter, and she knew how important this wedding would have been to my mom. She knew my mom would have taken over and made it the most amazing wedding for me, her little girl. And my aunt wanted to help to make that special in honor of her sister.

In June my aunt called me and asked if I could go to lunch. We met at Parker’s restaurant and talked about everything I still had to do for the wedding. She gave me her advice and then took me on a spontaneous registry spree. We went to Sterling Cut Glass and we registered there. I had no idea what I was doing so I leaned on her to take the lead. She helped me realize what is important to register for and what you should skip. Though I finished registering with the help of my aunt Lisa, my aunt Susie gave me the direction I needed to start it all. Then we made plans to go see my dress that had just come in. We made it a girls day, brought my grandma, cousins Alyce and Layla, and all went down to the bridal salon. We tried on the dress and my aunt let me have a photoshoot with her cell phone. She loved my dress and kept saying over and over “your mother would have just loved this”. I know she was right, because if anyone knew my mother, it was my aunt Susie.

My mom and aunt were best friends. Their relationship made me jealous. I do not have a sister and their tight bond made me long for one. They would laugh for hours and no one would ever know what they were laughing about. They loved taking family vacations together, where they could spend their days together, gossiping, and enjoying the presence of one another. They spoke on the phone more times in a day than could be recorded. Their bond was unbreakable, even when my mom died. My aunt had a difficult time talking about my mom with me, for she could not handle the loss of her baby sister. When she did talk about her though, there was so much pride and love, you could feel it in your bones.

Getting married without my mom was going to be the hardest thing I had ever done. Now, having to get married exactly 2 months after the loss of my aunt, makes me feel so lost. I find myself asking how it is possible to be happy during these times? I am excited to marry the love of my life, a man who is compassionate, hard-working, smart, generous, and handsome. However, the loss feels so overwhelming right now, I am worried about how it will feel on the day. Are others going to be crying because of sadness? Will the day even be happy? The absence of my mother through this experience has been extremely painful. Some days it has been bearable, and others I don’t even want to talk about the wedding because it makes me miserable thinking about doing it without my mom, and now my aunt.

I know I can be negative, but it’s hard being positive when you do not have your mother saying “It’s okay, you’ll get the million of tasks completed in 4 weeks!” or simply helping me get everything completed. Others have offered, and I am so grateful for that. It’s just not the same to do it without your mom, and I guess I would rather do it alone?

My mother and aunt Susie will be honored, along with my grandparents and O’s grandparents at the wedding and in the weekend itself. We will remember them on the wedding day and every day that comes before and every day that follows. And for me, I find some comfort in the fact that their souls will be together surrounding me, Oren, and my family and fill us up with their loving presence. I know they will be there that day, I just wish it could have been different.

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Tick tock, the clock won’t stop…

…And boy, am I feeling the pressure! 108 days away from the nuptials of my best friend and so much is finished, but there is so much more to do! I knew wedding planning was an undertaking, but I honestly did not know it would be like this. Then again, I guess my planning experience is out of the ordinary, for some…

It is officially October and I am feeling the pressure. I have made amazing progress this past month! We have picked out the groom and groomsmen tux’s (all black, with cummerbunds and a little hanky to go in their pocket: classy and perfect!!!) selected the invitations, and have finally finished the guest list…!

My mom’s 8 year anniversary for being gone came and passed this Friday, September 26th. I was not as emotional as usual, and I had a hard time with that. I did not stay in bed and cry, or mope around, or eat pizza- my favorite go to. Instead, I socialized with family, got my nails done, and did some homework. Of course, I miss my mother with every inch of my being, but this year her anniversary was different. I could not figure out why, but I came up with a theory. I believe since I have been so emotional planning this wedding weekend and have longed for her presence during this process, her anniversary did not nearly seem as bad as January 17th, 2015 will be. That in itself is sad. I am praying that the day of my wedding, I have my mother in my thoughts and in my heart, but that I am not sad. Right now, that is my biggest fear- focusing more on the absence of my mom on my wedding day, than focusing on the fact that I am starting a life with an amazing man I love.

The invitation process was especially difficult. Seeing the invitations, my dad’s name and my fiancé’s parents names, makes the fact that she is not on it a reality. It was another one of those moments that I realized she REALLY will not be there to see me walk down the aisle. I tear up even thinking about it. My dad asked, when he saw the invitation, if we were going to put her name on the invitation with a z”l (a Jewish way of honoring those passed). Obviously, I would love to have my mom on the invitation, but it is impossible for someone who is not present on this earth to invite guests to a wedding. Etiquette advises against it, and to be truthful, I think seeing the z”l next to her name on the wedding invitation would be more depressing than not having her on the invitation at all.

I leave for my bachlorette party next weekend! We are going to NOLA and I have 10 beautiful, amazing, loving, best friends joining me! I am so surprised so many people signed up, NOLA is not cheap. I am forever grateful for them joining me to celebrate my last wild weekend as a single lady! Conveniently, O, is going on his bachelor party the same weekend as me. He is going to Nashville and I am sure we are both going to have a fun, wild, and amazing time with our best friends. I have been looking forward to this trip since February 2014! FINALLY!

I have been planning final (omg final!?) meetings with vendors. We picked our ceremony music last weekend and in a few weeks will get started on the Band’s playlist. Oren and I are trying to figure out the perfect first dance song- we keep going back and forth. Do you have suggestions? I know that I will be dancing with my Dad to the song “The way you look tonight”. I want to mimic the movie Father of the Bride as much as possible, but unlike the movie, my Dad will dance with me.

I just want to take a moment and thank all those who read this blog. The support and advice you give me does not go unnoticed. I started this blog because there is a lack of resources for motherless brides, and I wanted to share my experiences to possibly help future motherless brides. Your words keep me going through this crazy, insane, wedding planning process.

It’s the little things…

This past weekend my older cousin got married. It is surreal as we have gone through this planning process together, almost since the very beginning. She became engaged July 2013, and myself in November. When I became engaged, we shared everything about our wedding planning. We gave advice on vendors, decorations, cute ideas to make our weddings unique. We have very different taste (both very good taste if I may say so myself) so neither of us were worried the other one would “steal” anything. It was a dream being engaged and planning a wedding at the same time as my cousin. The only thing we did not share- me having my Mom.

My aunt (her mom) has been more than helpful during my process. I am forever grateful for her advice, guidance, and help. I am very lucky. Her mom and my mom had always been good friends. My mom set her and my uncle up (my uncle was my moms brother- or is it is? Are they still brother and sister if my mom is gone?). My aunt has always been like a second mom to me, so it seems very natural that she is helping me through this wedding planning process.

Though this weekend was amazing in so many ways- the bride looked absolutely stunning, the couple looked amazingly happy, the party and ceremony were so perfect- it reminded me, frequently, of my mother’s absence. Even more so, it reminded me that my mother would be absent on my wedding day.

There is something about family functions- whether it be a wedding, holiday, or just a regular family dinner- that makes the absence of my mom more real. When we take a picture of the girls, it often runs through my head that I am the only girl from my immediate family that is representing my family. I do not have any sisters, and I do not have my mom. I am alone in a sense. This goes through my mind every single time we take an all girls picture. Maybe even more than that…

Furthermore, I am pretty sure me and my family feel her absence more than anyone else. I mean why would that not be the case? This weekend as my aunt was preparing everything for her daughter, as my aunts friends were pitching in to help out their friend, I could not help but think of my situation. Who would be there for me? What friends would bring us lunch to help the flow of the nail appointments? Who is going to help me with my dress, veil, and anything else I may need? It became very real, very fast that not only is my mom absent for the wedding planning, she will also be absent for the day of the wedding.

I know what you’re thinking. How could I possibly not think about this before? Good question. I guess I thought about it, but being in my cousins wedding and seeing all the effort my aunt put into making her daughters weekend perfect, made it more real than it has ever been before. My wedding is not far away, and I am becoming increasingly nervous and hesitant for it to come. Not because I am unsure of the man I am marrying- that is one of the things I am sure about in my life. It is because I do not want to feel the pain of having her absence on that day. I do not want to do everything on my own (but I already am, so what is the difference?). I will probably order lunch for the girls when we get our nails done, I will probably dress myself, I will probably do the things my aunt did for her daughter, for myself. Because, who else is there?

I am not throwing myself a pity party over here. You are probably thinking- well your aunt will help you, duh. Okay, that is fair. However, the loss of my mom is so strong and present, that I do not know if her help, or her presence will even do much for me the day of my wedding.

I should have eloped…

Four months to go…

I can’t believe it. Only four months until I say “I do” to the man I love. I have become lazy with my blogging unfortunately. Life became busy and for a bit I forgot that I had created this blog. I think that I forgot about it mostly because I have been dealing with the absence of my mom better than ever since getting engaged.

It is weird to think I have not had extreme heartbreak in the past couple months. Of course I miss my mom and her presence. Not a second (literally, not one second) goes by that I do not miss my mom. My heart constantly aches for her. Though this is true, I have come to a point during this process where I no longer feel sorry for myself. My mothers absence is what it is. I can’t change it so it’s better that I embrace it, however that may be. In addition, my family and friends are being so helpful to me. They are giving advice and pitching in when I need it the most. I have stopped thinking silly thoughts of people becoming sick of my wedding talk (though I guarentee there are some people who just want me to shut up). I am embracing people’s advice and help and I have stopped feeling guilty. Let’s be real, my mom would want me to get help rather than try to be superwoman and do everything alone. Though, don’t get it wrong, this wedding is basically being planned 99% by yours truly.

I have done a lot in the past few months. My aunt took O and I to register! It was SO tiring. I could not believe how much energy it takes to register. We had to stop midway through. I was becoming hangry (hungry + angry), and really, how much can one register for in one day? A few weeks later, I finished registering online. That was a great decision. I am happy with everything we registered for and have my fingers crossed for a few specific items! One thing I think I should invent from all this- a way to prioritize your registry. I love everything on my registry, but I wish there was a way I could prioritize the items so I definitely get some things, and if I don’t get others, it would not be the end of the world… Oh well. Another project for another year! (Don’t take my idea!)

The save the dates were sent out, but not without a hassle. Boy, did we learn what we DO NOT want to do for the wedding invitations. With headaches and hours spent on labeling, stamping, and stuffing, we are happy that part is finished. It was wonderful to receive the multiple calls and texts about how much people loved our save the dates 🙂

The flower girls dresses are picked out. I am very happy with what we picked out! They are so cute on my nieces and cousin and I can’t wait for them to walk down the aisle and be princesses!

Of course we finished other super important wedding tasks; we added two more musicians to our band making it a 9 piece band, we locked in the lighting contract, the ceremony musician, the cake baker, and had the tasting for the reception! It feels amazing to have so much done. I am working on little things here and there but am happy to say am a lot less stressed than I was before. It’s coming together, as it should be! Remember people, only four more months!! No more “plenty of time” comments 🙂

Though I am emotionally stable with the fact my mother is absent from this time in my life (as of now, who knows when that could change. Seriously, it’s like a switch of a button- as I am sure you know), I am still wondering how I am going to be on the wedding day, or the wedding weekend I should say. I hope I am able to keep it together but also will give myself the freedom to feel what I need to feel. I am never one who holds back my feelings. I know how important it is for myself to experience all the emotions happening in my heart and head.

On September 26th, it will be the 8th anniversary of my mother’s passing. It is so weird. On one hand, 8 years does not seem like a long time at all. One the other hand, it seems like it was so long ago. It is difficult as there are things about my mom that I do not remember. If I try hard I might be able to remember them. I can hear her saying “Sarah” but when I try to remember her voice in other ways, I can’t seem to hear it in my head. I wish for the nights I can dream of her again. Maybe with my wedding coming up she will come to me again in my dreams. I could only be so lucky.

I want to end this post on a very very happy note. Three weeks ago O and I became aunt and uncle X 4. My brother and his wife welcomed a beautiful baby boy into this world. Of course, he was named after my mom. He is beautiful and we all feel so lucky to have this new addition in our family. They live overseas, so I will not meet him until the wedding. That just makes the anticipation for my wedding one trillion times greater.

I promise I will keep up on my writing. Please write to me too! I am honored by those who reply to my posts. I thank those who read my posts and understand the pain I am going through. I think of you often and send my love to you during your own journey.

Save the Date

I ordered the save the dates!

They are beautiful and exactly not what I thought I would want. But they are perfect.

O and I have been engaged for 6 months. It seems unreal that for half a year I have been going crazy over a wedding that is still 7 months away. But now we have reached a milestone- we are close enough to start buying the save the dates! I feel like the save the dates are one of the best parts of a wedding. It is a little preview. The save the date is a glimpse of the couples personalities. Save the dates are like previews to a movie. They get you hyped for the fun and entertainment the wedding will provide you in a short amount of time. It is the climax.

Our save the date was not something I expected I would pick. I had spent 2 months looking at save the date templates. I knew I had to have them ordered by the second week of June so I would have 4 weeks to label, stuff, and send them out. Four weeks may sound excessive but when you are working a part time summer internship and enrolled in a qualitative research course the other half of the time, you want to give yourself plenty of time to fall behind. I tend to be courteous to future Sarah.

I had asked friends, family, and O for their suggestions when I was searching for a save the date. Everyone gave me great advice but in the end, O and I made the final decision. We liked how simple and elegant this save the date was. I appreciate having multiple people step up to give me their design advice and suggestions! It was really helpful. I must thank my cousin, my bridesmaid, who’s wedding I will be a bridesmaid in 2 months for providing me so much help, even though she has her own stuff to take care of (and much sooner I might add). I am learning how to ask and stop feeling guilty.

Drumroll please….dadadadaddadadda

Save the Date

We used a picture from our engagement photo session. The photo we picked was one of the first photos I saw, and I knew right away that would be our photo. The best is the story behind the picture. As our photographer was changing settings, O started to pick me up and swing me around, for no reason. Our photographer happened to catch the end of it on film and said “smile!” It was such a spontaneous moment and explains our relationship and us as individuals.

I still have to find a cake baker and ceremony music and I can check my wedding tasks off my list for the month of June! It feels good to be right on schedule.

“Plenty of Time”

It’s like clockwork. I am asked how wedding planning is going by family, friends, and acquaintances on a regular basis. It is sweet for people to think of me and ask how the wedding planning is progressing. I answer by telling them that I have most of my major vendors, little things here and there completed, and that my biggest concern is finding a wedding cake. (Backstory: My wedding is very kosher, so not only does my cake have to be parve, it also has to be baked in a kosher kitchen, with kosher ingredients, AND supervised by a rabbi. Not so simple.) When explaining this to people they say “Oh! Don’t worry, you have plenty of time!”

Plenty of time? Usually a bride would answer with a smile and say “yeah, you’re right!” However, this is not how I feel on the inside. I may present myself with a smile, agreeing with their belief I have plenty of time, but on the inside I want to shred them a part. Harsh? Maybe. But to continually hear that I have plenty of time from people who have no idea what is going on in my life or do know what is going on but choose to ignore it, is becoming frustrating.

They are right. My wedding is in January 2015. For most brides, they would have plenty of time to figure out all the details. However, in my case, I am doing this (for the most part) alone. I would have plenty of time if my mom was here helping me get everything organized. I would have plenty of time if I was not a full time student, with two jobs, and planning another major event set to take place a month after my wedding for the University I work for. However, that is not the case. I do not have plenty of time. I only have a week off from school until I go back for summer classes and start my summer internship. I do not have a mom who is able to call a million different bakeries in different cities seeing if they are supervised kosher. I do not have my mom here to calm me down and help me with every little detail. I might have time, but not plenty. From my perspective, I have less than 8 months to get everything planned and organized on top of the other responsibilities I am tied too and I am doing it all without the support of my mom.

I realize I complain a lot. I do not want to be a debbie downer. It is hard to change the way I feel planning this wedding without my mom. It is harder to plan it when I am surrounded by people who do not know what it is like to be doing this without my mom. Not just on a task level, but on an emotional level.

Today I went to the tailor where I sent my mom’s dress. Her dress is from 1983, so it was pretty outdated and dare I say, hideous? I knew I wanted to use it in some way or another. I decided to have them cut the neckline into a sweetheart shape. They added straps, and next the are going to shorten the skirt. It is going to be my party dress. I will wear my beautiful wedding gown until 10 pm and then will change into my mom’s dress. It is another way I can honor her. 

When I tried it on, I started crying. For so many reasons. 1: I wish she was here to see how beautiful it turned out. 2: I wish I could know her reaction to the decision I made to reconstruct the dress. 3: I just wish she was here with me. 

It is obvious the fact that being a motherless bride is upsetting and frustrating. I have come to realize one of the hardest aspects of planning your wedding without your mom is not having someone come to every appointment with you. I am constantly having to ask aunts and friends to come with me, and when I have multiple appointments in a week, I usually just go to some of them alone.

I have started feeling guilty when asking someone to come with me to multiple appointments in one week. When you have your mother, I assume that they attend every appointment with you. And how could you feel guilty about asking your mom to attend the multiple wedding appointments you have scheduled? You wouldn’t, because thats what a mom wants to do for their daughter. They want to be involved in the wedding planning process, help pick out decorations, find a cake, see you in their dress, even the dress you picked out to be your wedding gown. I cried multiple times today while trying my dress on for the first time since it arrived in the salon, and while trying on her dress, the dress I plan to wear later in the night for the reception. 

How do I get over this guilt I feel every time I need to go to an appointment. Sometimes it’s better to go alone and deal with my feelings, not be guilty, and just get it done than having someone with me who does not understand the pain I feel doing this all without my mom. It’s hard because to them, she isn’t a necessity, but to me she is all I need and want during this process and in life.

Motherless brides: Who goes with you to all your appointments? Do you ever feel bad constantly asking people to attend appointments with you?

I thought it would get easier as the planning process continued but am finding that it is only getting harder.

15 Ways to Show Your Love for Mom on Your Wedding Day

It’s been a while. School is wrapping up and being in a Master’s program is no joke. I have had more assignments due the past two weeks than should be legal! Thankfully, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and only have two more papers before I am home free… for a week.

I check my email probably five times every hour. I am obsessed. Being in school, I always need to be on top of my emails. I might receive an important email from a colleague, an instructor, or a student that I need to respond to quickly. I usually have no problem with checking my email so frequently on a daily basis. In fact, I love doing it because I feel accomplished when I can get through all my emails and organize them in their designated folders, leaving a clean inbox. In grad school, it has sort of become an obsession.

However lately I am dreading opening my email inbox. For the past 3-4 weeks all my emails have been overflowing about buying mom the perfect mothers day gift. Over and over I am seeing different subject lines like “Surprise mom with the gift she always wanted” or “Your mom will just love what’s inside this email”. I find myself getting angry at the emails. Yeah, sure, they do not know my mom has been gone for eight years, but really, there should be a button one can click to let these retailers know that they are wasting their time trying to sell me mother’s day gifts.

So for weeks, not only have I been enduring the Facebook and instagram posts about how lucky people are to have their mom’s (and yeah, they really are) or the commercials on television, the ads before my youtube videos, and the grocery store advertisements, I have had to go into my email on a daily basis and delete the mother’s day emails. At first it sucks a lot. But after almost 25 days of it, I am becoming numb.

And then I opened my email yesterday. It was an email from Weddingwire.com.  I am using their website as my planning guide and my website builder. I like the layout of the website better than the Knot. Anyways, I opened my email and the email from Weddingwire.com said “15 ways to show your love for mom on your wedding day”. I thought, ‘finally! Wedding wire is acknowledging how to honor moms who are no longer around on my wedding day. FINALLY!!!’

Well, I opened the email and it was not about showing your love for a mother who has passed. It was all about what you can do in your wedding to show love to your mom who is still with you. “Wear her veil, giver her flowers, let her get ready with you”. Okay, I get it. My mom won’t be here to do that. Thanks for the reminder.

I realize other people need to celebrate their moms, and I am one bitter motherless bride/daughter. However, could you blame me? Our society is obsessed with the mother/daughter relationship during weddings. I am so over it. It just reminds me how much I am missing out on having my mom with me.

In wedding news: I picked out my Save the Dates! It took a while. I asked for advice from my friends, future sister in law, future mother in law, aunt and cousin. Finally, my aunt and cousin helped me figure it out. My aunt was my Mom’s best friend back in the day, and even introduced her brother and my aunt to each other! My mom was such a match maker… a few other couples have my mom to thank for their love too! Anyways, my aunt and cousin helped narrow it down and I love their style so I am thankful for their love and support. My aunt also said she wanted to be with me when we went to the bridal registry and for picking out invitations. I am thankful for her help in those areas because frankly, I would be lost!!

I still have a lot to do, but at the same time I have a lot done. I booked make-up a couple weeks ago and our engagement pictures came out beautifully!!! We are going to send an announcement out in the paper soon using one of the photos. I need to take care of the cake and the ceremony music, both are taking me so long to find! I just want it to be perfect…

All my bridesmaids except 2 have their dresses so I am on track with that. They have one more month to get on it and I think my future sister in law and I are going together next week. That will be a stress I will be glad to check off!

Update on my future mother in law. She is great! She had her surgery, everything went well! No cancer in her lymph nodes thank goodness! She is healing beautifully and right now we are waiting to see what treatment she has to do! So far we have only been receiving good news -besides the fact she was diagnosed- but at least only good things have been associated with it!

Overall, I am stressed and anxious dealing with school, wedding, and finally personal life issues. I am lucky to have such great friends helping me out, and that my aunt had stepped in to help me out. I am very thankful for her. My fiancé is pretty amazing too. He is a great emotional support system to me, even though he is dealing with his own worries with his mom’s cancer. It’s good to know we work well together in very stressful times. I picked the right one!