Wedding planning is hard. Especially when you live on the other side of the country from your mom, and other people who have loved you your entire life. Bear with me as I share a little bit of my heart in this post.
I’ve been waiting to be a Bride-to-Be my whole life. Ever since I was eight years old and joyfully watched my cousin JulieAnn walking down the aisle in the most beautiful ball gown I’d ever seen in real life. She was my real-life Princess Diana. I thought for sure I would follow in her footsteps; I’d be married when I was twenty-two and start my family when I was twenty-five. At eight years old, never in my imagination did I think I would be late into my thirties when it was finally my turn to plan my wedding.
For the most part, I’ve not allowed myself to fall into the usual hype we see with weddings today or even feel obligated to honour many traditions. We are not having a wedding party, we are keeping our decor minimal, we will not have a cake and still on the fence about a first dance. Our focus is on having a meaningful and personal ceremony, and to share our commitment in front of only a small crowd of immediate family and close friends. The bulk of our budget is dedicated to our photography (of course) and the house we have rented for the week where we will stay with our families and host our celebration. Beyond that, we don’t need much.
As the day draws closer, however, I cannot help but realize there are some traditions usual to the “Bride-to-Be” journey that I feel heartbroken to be missing out on. This is solely because the women that have been most influential in my life, and who I have always imagined sharing this journey with, live on the other side of the country: my mom, my aunts, my cousins, and close girlfriends who have known me for most of my life.
Trivial as things may be to some, it breaks my heart knowing that I will not have a bridal shower with my mom, aunties, and cousins. I will not be with my mom when she picks out her dress to wear to my wedding. She won’t be with me when I pick up my dress after all the alterations are done or to help me pick out my shoes or decide on accessories. My mom isn’t here to help me assemble our invitations, to have over for coffee and just chat wedding stuff or do any of the other things I grew up just assuming I would share with my mom as I planned my wedding.
I am grateful that I was able to be home with my family during Christmas and to share a wonderful day finding my wedding dress with my mom and best friend, and we did have a few informal engagement gatherings where Scott and I were celebrated. Today, as I think about the next few months leading up to our wedding day, I am holding these memories close and trying to stay focused on what I do have to look forward to, including a bridal shower that my lovely, soon-to-be mother-in-law is hosting for me. And, I should probably stop watching Say Yes the Dress.
Wedding planning is such an emotional journey. I always knew this from my experience working as a wedding photographer and being a small part of the process for others. But I had no idea just how much of a rollercoaster ride this can be. There are so many expectations – your own, and others, that need to be navigated. It’s great when expectations can be exceeded but when they cannot be met, it’s heartbreaking.
My heart aches for all the women who are also planning their weddings without their mothers nearby, and for those who have lost their moms and will feel their absence the most on their wedding day.