From planning to wedding day, parents play an integral role and their absence can make the process even more emotionally charged than it already is. Given both my parents are dead, this year’s experience has been full of joy and sorrow and my wedding day will be bittersweet.
This is the second in a three-part series where I share what it’s been like for me to plan our wedding and ultimately marry the love of my life. Catch up on Part I: Daddy’s Little Girl.
Part II: A Mother’s Voice
I’m only a month away from the Big Day! This year has flown by faster than I think any other year in my life. What seemed like was a lifetime away, went by in the blink of an eye.
Despite being a more “seasoned” bride, it was very important to me to have the complete wedding and bride experience. No skipping down to city hall or jetting off to an exotic island to get married. No sirree! I was going to do this the old fashioned way. Why? For all the typical reasons—many of us ladies are conditioned to dream of this day early on—but also because I’ve attended too many sad family-oriented occasions in my life. In my family, gathering together has mostly been around funerals. Now was the time for a happy occasion, a celebration of love and life! Even with all the loss I’ve experienced, there’s still plenty of room for joy. (Gotta balance the sorrow somehow!) And I wanted to mark this significant moment in our lives surrounded by the people we love who could be here in person, who’ve supported us both through life’s ups and downs, and who share our happiness at finally finding each other. Not having my parents didn’t mean I couldn’t still have it all.
The sheer amount of options and choices out there when planning a wedding are amazing. What an incredible (and incredibly expensive) industry! I just didn’t realize until I started searching the web how many beautiful ideas exist, from dresses to invitations, hairstyles, favors, décor, locations, place settings… The list goes on and on. How does one wade through them all?!
So many decisions have been made, none all that easy given my Libra tendencies—I see the merit in choice A and choice B. One thing that hit me throughout the process is how much I wish my mom were here to help. She often “knew best.” My mom had a great sense of style, flair, etiquette and the best judgment I’ve known. I looked up to her and respected her opinion even if we didn’t always agree. Some decisions I just wish she were here to reassure me they’re the right ones. She’d make sure I followed all the proper rules of etiquette and had the best of everything. That was just how my mom lived her life. She worked hard for everything she had and never apologized for wanting the good life. Mom grew up with segregation, marched with Dr. King, and refused to believe she or anyone with her color skin should have to live beneath anyone else. She was always a force to be reckoned with.
My mom’s voice was a very strong presence in my life while she was alive, and it’s still quite strong—I feel I’m able to channel her at times. I want the day to be beautiful and our guests to have a great time. I want to make sure everyone’s happy. I don’t want to offend anyone or leave someone out—that etiquette thing my mom had such a solid handle on. I also want the wedding, an event many of us are so used to being somewhat formulaic, to be memorable and different in some way. Mom would’ve helped me focus on what was most important and provided undeniably good advice.
You wouldn’t believe the number of less than restful nights I’ve had, and they’re increasing the closer I get to wedding day. Exhaustion has definitely started taking its toll, and it’s in the decision-making moments when I notice it most (along with the deep, dark circles slowly forming under my eyes). While the process has been fun and a great creative outlet, it’s mind-boggling how many directions I can go with each aspect of the day. Mom’s presence I know would have quelled my uncertainty. She’d know what color napkins would look best. She’d know how long to let cocktail hour actually last. Fretting would be a thing of the past.
But instead, my mom is. She’s no longer with me to hold my hand through this process. I know she would’ve enjoyed every, single, solitary moment of it, even the disagreements and arguments that would’ve invariably flared up throughout the planning process. Even so, I would’ve rather her be here in person. This is a time she and I could have shared and treasured for the rest of our lives. Instead, I continue to channel her, not so much to do what she would have, but to help guide me in knowing when my choices are the right ones.
Hopefully come wedding day, I’ll feel sure about all the decisions I made. I am my mother’s daughter in many ways and will be thrilled if I pull off even a fraction of the elegance and grace (my guiding mantras and vision throughout this process) she would’ve created with the touch of her hand.
Fingers crossed everything falls into place between now and August 15th. I look forward to the day with great anticipation, excitement, and some fear. Fear I’ll fall apart, fear things won’t go as planned. The usual fears, I suppose. Next time I write will be after I’m officially hitched. Wish me luck!
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