How to Plan a Wedding When Your Mother’s Dead

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.” – Anonymous

When my fiancé asked me to be his wife that Saturday night in Epcot, I was overjoyed. There was so much happiness in me, it was unreal. A month or two later I was still on Cloud 9.

But, as the tougher wedding decisions started to pile up, I realized just how much I truly missed my mom and how she wouldn’t be able to be with me on my wedding day.

For months, I had been pushing off wedding dress shopping under the guise that I was trying to lose weight. In all reality, I just didn’t want to have to do it by myself. Since I was 9-years old, I had been doing girly things all by myself like getting my nails done and shopping. The last thing I wanted was to be alone while I looked for the “yes” dress. Thanks to movies and TV shows, it has made wedding dress shopping like a rite of passage for young women and their mothers. When the daughter steps out in the one, the mom cries which makes the daughter cry and you have one, big happy emotional mess. I didn’t want to miss out on this joyful moment.

To make matters worse, I was dealing with family-related issues about the wedding. Things that I could have really used her advice. Instead of feeling happiness about marrying the love of my life, I felt depressed like I was grieving my mother all over again.

Unfortunately there is no be-all, end-all solution to this problem. However, there a few things you can do to make it a little better:

1. Ask close friends or family members to go wedding dress shopping.

Or you can even ask them for their guidance on your special day. If they are kind people, they’ll know how important it is for them to be there with you for this rite of passage. While it won’t be exactly the same, they’ll still be there to “oooohhh” and “ahhhh” all over you.

Here’s a few people to ask: your dad, your step-mother (if you’re on good terms, I always despised mine), aunts, cousins or best friends like your maid or matron of honor.

2. Make your mom part of the ceremony.

Before my mom died, she hated the fact that she wasn’t going to be there for big events like this. She was so worried that I was going to forget about her. I felt the need to include her in my special day – it’s what she would’ve wanted…

We did this by taking 2 minutes to recognize her in a remembrance ceremony. The officiant says “[Insert Groom’s Name] and [Insert Bride’s Name] would like to acknowledge the loved ones that could not be present today, especially [Name of Mother], whose spirit and love will be with them always.” It’s beautiful, lovely and not so sad that it ruins the entire day.

As a traditional rule of thumb, you’re supposed to wear something borrowed for the wedding. This would be another great way to incorporate her into the ceremony. Maybe you could wear her dress (eek! that could be a disaster), beautiful jewelry or some other special momento to remind you that she’s always with you.

3. Talk about her with your fiancé.

Sometimes it’s good to take a walk down memory lane. Not to mention, it helps to have someone to open up to so you’re not keeping all of those feelings bottled up.

4. If all else fails, seek counseling.

In no way does this make you weak. If anything, it makes you stronger because you asked for help when you needed it. Sometimes it just helps to have someone sort through your confusing thoughts with you. They can help you put a plan of action together to make you happier and ready to tackle your big day!

5. Forge a special relationship with your Mother-in-Law (MIL).

While it’s true that no one will ever take your mother’s place, there are people that can definitely come close to feeling that empty void. If you have a supportive and caring Mother-in-Law, then reach out to her and try to create a bond between the two of you. You could start by asking her to join you when you get your nails done or invite her shopping.

If you really need some help planning a wedding, your MIL may be a great resource. More than likely, she’s been married before and has been down the same road your traveling. She’ll know about all the stress and decisions that come with a wedding.

In rare cases, you may have a MIL who isn’t very supportive. Just know, this more than likely has nothing to do with you and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that you’re marrying her precious baby boy.

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