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. As someone whose mother shows no interest in her upcoming wedding, I can see how blessed you have been having such a sweet mother! I wish you hope, joy, and eternal love! ^_^

  2. I’m so, so sorry this is a thing that you’re facing… but I’m so glad you’re talking about it; myself and the Mansnack just postponed our wedding by a year because my family (myself included) is focused on helping my Dad through palliative care. I couldn’t find the strength to go through with it while we’re all mourning, but it’s left me mourning my wedding plans a bit as well.
    It’s crazy to see how many of us there are… sort of bittersweet.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. My father passed away the week before our engagement party last summer. Our wedding is in three days. I wish he could be here, but I have felt him with me throughout the process.

    I’m sorry for your loss. I know you’ll have a wonderful wedding.

  4. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I’m not planning a wedding, and my boyfriend and I aren’t even thinking engagement anytime soon. I found this site when someone posted it on my friend’s facebook page, and this article immediately jumped right out at me. (and for the record, I too love Doctor Who, music, art, and Shakespeare, and I’m a writer.)

    We’re coming on the two-year anniversary of when my dad died. Like with your mom, it was sudden, and although he had some lifelong health issues, he was in good health overall and no one expected him to suffer a pulmonary embolism and leave us before we had any chance to say goodbye. I’m still trying to handle it. To Coral, who said your mom just passed away right before Mother’s Day, I am so sorry–I lost my dad the week of Father’s Day in 2011. I was engaged once before, and it didn’t work out, and I’m thankful that my dad was able to meet my current boyfriend and see me happy again, regardless of what happens in the long term.

    I can only imagine what it will be like to plan a wedding without my dad around, and I wish all of you courage and support. I know that someday when the time comes there will be a great community here to help me along.

  5. I’m so sorry- all the very best to you during such a difficult time. My experience was very similar to Coral and Kristen. My mum passed away on Tuesday 7th May. On Monday 6th, knowing that he wasn’t likely to see her again, my fiancée proposed as we drove up to the hospice to her.
    Although my heart was breaking to see her slipping away, it was an amazing gift to be able to tell her we were getting married before she died. She was on lots of pain medication, but she seemed fairly lucid and she was looking at me as I spoke. When I told her, her expression did seem to soften a little so I think, and hope, that she understood.
    There’s nothing that anyone can really say or do to make this situation easier, but it’s certainly a comfort to be able to discuss it on here. Thanks so much ladies!
    It’s hard to imagine just how much our loved ones will be missed come the big day, but it’s so nice to see so many creative ideas for remembering people on here. Wonderful people deserve beautiful tributes!

  6. My fiancés father died at the beginning of the month. He was only 62 and had been so excited for our November wedding. When he got sick he told us “come hell or high water I’ll be there.” When he got worse at the end of April we started throwing together a quick civil ceremony that was going to happen over this past weekend, just so he could be included in something. But now we’re facing the reality that he won’t be there and my soon to be husband is really devastated. We applied for and now have a marriage license that we’re just going to have to let expire and have to answer all the questions from people wondering if our plans are going to change. It’s tough and not at all what we thought it was going to be like this year. I’ts a little comforting to know that we’re not alone in this and others are out there feeling just like we are right now.

  7. You are not alone in your struggles. My mother has late stage terminal cancer and we are planning the wedding hoping will be here but bracing ourselves for the very real possibility she will not. We were lucky enough to be able to throw together a quick ceremony on Mother’s Day for her. She cannot stop talking about how wonderful it was. She says it makes her smile even on her bad days.

    We did not tell 90% of the people that are invited to our fall wedding. My mom said in person or in spirit she’ll be able to celebrate with us but either way she’ll be there.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. I just lost my mom on February 27th, 2013, then my grandpa just died on April 22nd. I’m an only child and was the only grandchild, and I was very close to them both… so it’s been a really shitty couple of months. We’re getting married on July 13, 2013. My mom had been sick a few years ago with Cirrhosis, but made a miraculous recovery, so her passing was very sudden, as was my grandfather’s. We’ve continued with the wedding as planned for the same reason as you – it’s what she would have wanted. I miss her and love her and will have to do something great to honor her at the wedding. Thanks for all the suggestions!

    • I, too, am an only child/grandchild; my mom passed away on May 1 2013, and my grandfather (her father) passed away on May 30. I’ve been struggling with keeping up with wedding planning because at time it feels so pointless, but your comment inspired me to keep moving forward 🙂

  9. Wow. Thank you for this article. I’ve been feeling so alone with everything I’ve been dealing with, but seeing this article and reading the comments has been incredibly moving. My mom passed away on May 1, 2013, a little over a month after my fiance and I got engaged. The last time I spoke to her, I told her I was getting married, and she was so excited. I’ve been struggling to find ways to include her in the ceremony without it feeling too much like a second funeral, and so many of these ideas are just fantastic. Also, I’m sorry for the losses everyone here has experienced so close to their weddings/engagements—but it hast made me feel so much better to know that I’m not the only one going through something like this!

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