Moving forward with wedding planning after losing a parent

Guest post by Faeflora
Cladagh ring
As a memorial, Faeflora will wear her mom's cladagh ring at the wedding.

After experiencing an amazingly beautiful moment when my dearest asked me to be his wife, I am now trying to cope with the unexpected loss of my mom, and the deep need to move forward with my wedding.

My mom, who was also my very best friend, passed away on Good Friday. She was 85 and vibrant. She had an amazing social life and a network of very interesting friends. Mom was independent, beautiful, and loving. She was everything I hope to be as I age. Although we all knew she had some heart issues, no one knew that she would leave us this year.

My mom was a constant in my life, she always supported me, and she understood me in ways that no one ever could — that is until I met my partner, Neil. She was thrilled to hear that Neil and I were engaged. When she heard the news, she bought herself and friends a cake and toasted our engagement. Two days before she passed, she was out buying baskets for our wedding gifts. When I arrived in her home for the funeral preparations, I found a note with a list of shopping activities for the wedding — including purchasing votive candles and yarn to tie the decorations to the porch rails of our beach rental.

The question I have been asked constantly since the passing of my mom has been, “are you still getting married this year?” My answer has been emphatically “yes.”

My mom would have wanted this wedding to happen as scheduled. She would want us to be a family. She would want me to be planning the final details and enjoying the celebrations.

I am ten weeks away from the wedding and still receiving sympathy cards while I plan this event. Neil and I have decided on a double ring ceremony, and to honor my mom and my dad we will get married in their claddagh rings — a small tribute to two people who raised me to be the woman I am today.

I have never felt as grown up as I do now. I have never felt so aware of my life decisions and the importance of being a part of a family as I do now. Not having her at the wedding will be painful, but knowing that she was so happy that we were getting married is a beautiful gift. And I keep telling myself that she will be with us in spirit, and that at least she was able to be part of the planning.

This month I am learning balance. How to plan for a wedding to my dearest love and how to say good-bye to my beloved mom.


If you are looking for more balance between wedding planning and mourning your own loss, check out these posts:

Have you lost a loved one during your wedding planning? How are you coping? How are you honoring them at your wedding?

Comments on Moving forward with wedding planning after losing a parent

  1. My mother passed away one month after me and my fiance got engaged. I did not get to see her after my engagement, and the last time my fiance saw her was when he asked her for her permission to pop the question. Losing her, very suddenly, was intensely difficult right after getting engaged.
    When we first got engaged, we decided to wait, indefinitely, to get married and have our wedding. The view point being, we’re in love, we’re happy, what’s the rush? But after my mom passed, I knew that having our wedding this Summer, and only waiting was the best choice for me and my healing process. I look forward to celebrating this Summer with my family and friends. And while she will be incredibly missed- I think we all need an excuse to smile and laugh and see the beauty that exists in this world.
    I respect you so much for going on with your wedding plans, and am sorry to learn of your loss. Enjoy your planning/wedding!

  2. My mother passed away one month after me and my fiance got engaged. I did not get to see her after my engagement, and the last time my fiance saw her was when he asked her for her permission to pop the question. Losing her, very suddenly, was intensely difficult right after getting engaged.
    When we first got engaged, we decided to wait, indefinitely, to get married and have our wedding. The view point being, we’re in love, we’re happy, what’s the rush? But after my mom passed, I knew that having our wedding this Summer, and only waiting a year was the best choice for me and my healing process. I look forward to celebrating this Summer with my family and friends. And while she will be incredibly missed- I think we all need an excuse to smile and laugh and see the beauty that exists in this world.
    I respect you so much for going on with your wedding plans, and am sorry to learn of your loss. Enjoy your planning/wedding!

  3. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my mother 9 months before my wedding due to a terminal illness. She was too sick to really plan with me and not having her be a part of the planning was difficult (our relationship was rough, but I thought we’d be able to have “normal” mother-daughter activities such as wedding planning together). To honor her/have her be a part of my wedding, I put a bit of her ashes in a charm and pinned it to my wedding bouquet. I wanted to have a place at the ceremony seating/family table at the reception for her with a framed picture, but on top of wedding planning semi-solo, I was also in the thesis semester of my Master’s degree program and getting the right picture of her framed fell by the wayside. I still wish I had done that, but oh well. Maybe you can do that for your mom.

    • I lost my mom 10 months before our wedding (this coming August) due to contaminated medication she received. I am also in the thesis semester of my Masters degree- I defend about a week before the wedding. My fiance and I are using some of her jewelry to make our wedding rings and plan to have a framed picture of her at the wedding. I miss not having her involved in the planning and will miss her terribly at the ceremony. So sorry for your loss.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss, My step mother suddenly passed away a little over a month ago at the age of 46. Are wedding is in 2 months and I have been having a really hard time continuing the wedding planning I have always had 2 moms and having one less so suddenly is proving to be difficult. With so many little things to do and wedding planning being so painful. It sounds like you have a great support system and your wedding will be beautiful and your mother will be there with you the whole way.

  5. My mother passed 6 years ago, but it was important to have her still feel Like a part of the day. I used lace from her wedding dress in the hat I wore and we set aside a space at the reception for.an ancestor altar. We used photos of loved ones set with votives in front of them and I brought pieces of my home altars to include. We left extra votives & matches on the table & included an invitation in the program for guests to light a Candle for someone they wanted to remember. It was so touching to be able to look up and see all of the candles lit & know we’d all shared that throughout the night. One guest even brought a pendant that had belonged to my fiancé’s best friend & added it to the altar.

    our reception decor was a collection of “found” objects & a good 70% of it were small things I had inherited from my mom. Mostly figurines & her collection of antique books. Most guests didn’t know but it was a special moment for me.

  6. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    My Mom passed away in January, and I graduate from college in 10 days. A big part of me did not want to do the ceremony, and I’m still really afraid that I’m just going to cry and be a horrible mood (Like on Mother’s day and my birthday in March). But I was talking to my brother on the phone and he started to tell me that he was so proud of me and he started to cry. I realized that my Mom would want me to do the ceremony, because she knows how hard I worked for my degree. So I’m going to try to do it, and try to be happy and not just sad. I think we honor the people we love by by celebrating life as often as we can.

  7. My Mom just passed away on Saturday May 11th (2013), the day before mothers day and 4 days after my birthday. My fiance proposed to me on my birthday, so I am glad I was able to tell my Mom I am engaged before she passed. I told her I have someone to take care of me now, and I will be ok and told her I would take care of my brother, and step dad. I had been at her bedside for over a month watching her get worse.

    As excited as I am to be engaged to the man of my dreams, the pain is unbearable from my loss. So on one hand I am mourning, but at the same time I have to try and be happy go lucky and plan a wedding. Its so hard especially when I randomly burst into tears. I hope I can find the strength to get through both of these majorly big life events.

  8. I too am facing wedding planning without my parents. My mom passed the week after my fiance proposed. We had gone out to CA to see her as she had been transferred to hospice care and we knew our time with her was very short. Mom was in and out of consciousness and clarity, but we were able to spend those moments with her. It was the first time my fiance had met my family and at one point when I was taking a break, he asked my mom if he could marry me. She told him “of course” and then he went to ask my dad. My fiance proposed to me under one of my parents’ orange trees and I knew how hard planning this wedding without my mom was going to be.

    Little did I know that my father would pass suddenly a little over a year later. Planning a wedding after losing both my parents (we were VERY close) sometimes seems impossible. At certain points in the planning I continue to just sit and sob as I’m not getting to share those moments with them. I was so used to talking to them just about every day, despite the 1,200 miles between us, that at times I go to pick up my phone and remember they aren’t there. It’s definitely a mixed bag of emotions and I didn’t realize that life had one more big knock for me as my brother-in-law would also pass suddenly just a few months ago.

    I’m torn as to how to honor their memories without turning my wedding in to a memorial service. Dad gave my fiance and I my mom’s rings and his wedding band not too long before he died, so we will be exchanging those as one way to honor their memory. I want to have pictures of the three of them framed and seated on their chairs along with either flowers or candles, but I don’t want to be morbid or upset people…so, I really haven’t decided what we’re going to do.

    Thank you for this post. I’m sorry for the loss of your mom. I know how hard it is trying to plan a joyous occassion around such a loss. However, it is comforting to see that I’m not alone. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

  9. love this post…is there anything similar on offbeatfamilies about dealing with loss right before giving birth? I am in this situation now and would love to hear how people dealt with grief right before that experiance.

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss. I think many of us are planning a wedding knowing someone we love won’t be there. Different types of losses but the same feelings still apply. I’m really struggling with my grief and once again, offbeatbride makes me feel less alone. I’ll be checking out those links. Thanks for posting, and I’m sending healing vibes to your broken heart.

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