Thursday, May 26, 2011

Moping motherless maniac--I should be a show on Lifetime.

Dear ESB,

I'm a just-shy-of-thirty bride to be. My Mom died of cancer last year, while my now-fiance and I were dating. It was life-shattering, blah, blah, blah (not to undermine the importance of the event in my life, but to preserve the importance of your attention span reading this email) but things are on the up-and-up. Got a great job, an amazing man, and just got engaged. I have my sh*t together.

It was one of those engagements where we had discussed getting married to death, went ring shopping many, many moons ago, and I was assaulting the UPS man every time he came to the door, hoping he had my mail-order ring in tow. Because I'm uber type A, I started planning our wedding a LONG time ago. I mean, to the point of making computer mock-ups of our invitations that won't be sent out till summer of 2012. Yea, that kinda Type A. And the plan in my head is quite perfect. An intimate wedding in the crimson-velvet-clad room of the city hall in Florence. 25 guests. The glory of the renaissance juxtaposed with my ultra-modern architectural dress (No, I haven't picked that out yet). The whole freaking thing was basically planned.

And then I got a ring on my finger and boarded the plane for Crazy Town, South Africa. People ask me when we're getting married and I just shrug and try to melt into the wall paper. There's already drama about people trying to bring their kids along--a no-no in my book--and all the resolve and toughness I'd practiced all these months when I imagined having to deal with this issue just evaporated. Now I'm making the boy handle it while I scream and grumble into my pillow. Don't get me wrong, I am PSYCHED to marry this guy. I'm just afraid of my own wedding. I'm scared of being the only one responsible for the wedding planning, even though I know my fiance will help. I'm scared of people hating our Italian wedding, which is just so US, because I'm so emotionally attached to our vision for the wedding. I have a big ball of tension in my chest when anyone asks about the wedding or I get palpitations when I get emails from the wedding planner.

I have this amazing fiance, a glorious wedding in the works, and at the end of the day, I just miss my mom. I'm so afraid that I can't do this without her. I'm afraid that no one will give it to me straight and tell me I'm on the wrong track like she could, when I try and force people to wear venetian masks and duel each other at the reception. I can't believe this planning has gone from a wonderfully fun thing I do at work when I'm not busy to a source of all this pain and worry! I feel like I can't breathe.

So what do I do? Do I suffer through this and give myself a sleeping disorder to have a wedding or is it too soon after Mom's death and I should elope and focus on my marriage to the man of my dreams?

Hyperventilating Into A Paper Bag


Postpone the wedding. You can do this without your mom, but you don't have to do it now.

Florence will be there in a year or three when you're ready to force your guests to wear Venetian masks (RAD) and actually enjoy it.

Image by Pom Pom Factory via Oh Joy! via Design*Sponge


  1. First of all, your vision for the wedding sounds like so much fun (but I am Italian, so maybe I am biased...) so stop worrying right now what your guests will think about it.

    And, if the wedding is a reflection of the two of you, and you're inviting people who love the two of you, then how could anyone hate anything about it???

    And! I bet these "25 intimate guests" will be eager to show their love and support after the devastating loss of your Mom (I'm so, so sorry) and will be MORE than happy to wear whatever you want them to wear, and to party it up with you and make sure you have a wonderful day.

    But. No doubt it will be a really, really tough day for you because everything will likely be a reminder that your Mom is not there with you to share in the happiness and the celebration and all the little moments. If PLANNING the wedding without her is giving you so much trouble, imagine the state you'll be in on the actual DAY.

    If it were me, I would make good and sure that the wedding is not my way of coping with my loss. If you're using the excitement and the preparation as a way to not think about your pain, then you're not doing justice to your Mom's memory, your own mental health/grieving, or your fiance and marriage.

    Put the party off until you are really ready. You'll still miss your Mom a ton on the big day, but I hope you'll be able to relax and enjoy it and you'll be ready to feel grateful for the 25 other wonderful, supportive, masked loved ones who are there for you guys.

    Sending hugs and comforting Italian cookin' your way through cyberspace.

  2. You've just announced it/planned it way to early - I think 6 months in advance of the actual wedding is the best time to tell people (I did 3)and if its a small wedding you can organise fairly quickly(again 3 months and I got married abroad too),should be a cinch for a Type A!!
    I think ESB is so right - postpone and when you do feel ready then start organising stuff, if you do it too early you will justbgo MAD with it. Nothing wrong with gathering info but mock up invites...more than a few months before you send...crazy lady!!
    Take a deep breath,give yourself a HUGE break, postpone and then relax for a while. I presume the 25 guests are all close to you both and will understand. X

  3. Your post made me cry. I am so very sorry for your loss. (I know that's not why you wrote in to ESB.) But, god, wedding planning is fun, but it's also so incredibly stressful.

    I agree with ESB, give yourself some time. If it would make you feel better, elope and skip the whole wedding thing. You could still have your party in Florence but maybe there wouldn't be as much pressure, and you could find your fun stride again and troll the internets for your venetian masks, and the like.

    Whatever you decide to do, lean on your man, it sounds like he'll be your saving grace.


  4. I'm so sorry about the loss of your mom. Don't worry about people hating your wedding. Just from the few details in your email, I can tell it will be awesome. I super jealous I won't be there to see it.

    You do sound burned out on wedding planning. If you don't want to postpone (which sounds like a good idea), how about taking a few weeks off of wedding planning? And if people ask about it, just say, "It's coming along. What's new with you?"

  5. I am very sorry for your loss and while your sitaution is magnified because you have recent loss, I just wanted to point out (from my point of view) that this feeling of overwhelmingness hits almost every bride at some point. My mom lives far away, I don't have any sisters and my bridemaids haven't been the most helpful and I feel like I am doing everything by myself, that I have no one help guide me and I have all these great ideas which in the end send me into panic attacks for some reason because I have no idea how to do them all (or sort through them) by myself. Having a type A personality doesn't help either. At this point eloping does sound wonderful. My piece of advice is continue with the wedding, know that its going to be amazing (i mean what guest can complain about being in a beautiful location, with great food and drinks, right?) and let the smaller stuff just go....I seriously had to ban myself from any sort of wedding blog that had pictures (besides this one) because there are so many possibilities it become overwhelming. I would say maybe you need a 2 week break from wedding stuff, planning, thinking, websites, shopping, everything! and come back and revisit the idea and see where you stand, (going through with it, taking a break, eloping, etc..)

  6. Take some time. There is no hurry. Enjoy some quiet and healing with your fiance. One day you will wake up and be ready, I promise. It will come out of nowhere, but you'll just feel at peace. You'll feel excited again. And that's when you'll know.

    I'm incredibly sorry for your loss.

  7. I think maybe you should evaluate what is most important to you. Is the big party and celebration a top priority? If so, then by all means postpone until you're able to enjoy it! However, if being married and starting your life with your wonderful man is what you're really excited about, I'd say elope now and have a big party on your 3 or 5 or whatever year anniversary. Best of both worlds?? I'm so sorry for your loss :(

  8. I'm sure the loss of your mom is amplifying all of the feelings you're having about the wedding -- and v.v. It's no small thing for you to go through. I agree with ESB-- if you won't enjoy the wedding, then give yourself a break and wait until you can. That said, if you're just worried about everyone else enjoying themselves, they will! I've been to soooo so so many weddings (huge family, lots of friends at that stage, etc. etc.)... They've all been different than the last and some have been 100% different than a wedding I'd throw myself, some have been totally inconvenient to get to or stay near, some the food was bad, some the music was bad, etc. etc. Point being: I've had an awesome time at every single one. Anyone who can have a bad time on such a special day for 2 people they really care about is un-pleasable in my book! Good luck!!

  9. This post broke my heart :( I am very close with my mother and would probably deal with the exact same feelings if I were in your position. A year is not a long time to grieve for the loss of someone, especially your mom. I agree with ESB, give it time. If your man is as great as he seems to be, he'll understand and so will the rest of your crew.

  10. I think Tonia's response was spot on perfect.

  11. Planning a wedding momless blows. I know. Mine died last year, too. And we're taking the plunge next month. AND I'm an only child, so it's been a pretty solo process. I've redone the whole shebang about 4 times. And now it's almost time.

    ESB and Tonia are right. Postpone until you can breathe again. Because if you don't? It won't feel right. You have to do it when YOU'RE ready.

    Personally, I spent two weeks in bed crying. Then submerged myself so hard in planning that when I surfaced again, I'd missed most of the summer, had our invitations set, flight booked, dress bought, photographer paid for and was mulling over decoration ideas I didn't even know were a possibility. And I miss that stage of planning. I lost a whole lot of time trying to distract myself. And I wish I hadn't.

    So, before you can take care of the wedding and all it entails, you really, honestly, have to take care of yourself. Otherwise you'll be miserable and you may end up having a wedding you don't really want.

    Hugs and a cocktail on me. Hang in there.

  12. Postpone. Grieve. Breathe. And then one day the sun will come out and you'll be able to put one foot in front of the other in a more meaningful way. ... AND you'll have the strength then to fend off the crazies and do what you want, the way you want.

    Everyone has said about the same thing here .... so as different as we all surely are, you've got a universal opinion goin' on, you know? We are all too smart to be wrong!!!!

    I am so sorry that your mommy won't be there.

  13. I wouldn't postpone. I think all brides feel that way. I know I am. My mom is still around, but we are currently dealing with my brother who is bipolar and is wreaking havoc on our family, so I am alone too. Just press through. This is a bright spot for you, just keep reminding yourself of that.

  14. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    I agree with @Chesapeake.

    But I wouldn't postpone the wedding itself (it sounds too f*cking AWESOME), just the planning-part. I took many breaks from wedding-planning during my long engagement. It's easy to get burned out. Don't let the stress of it all discourage you from marrying your man YOUR way, just tell your friends/family/your wedding-planner that you need a break from planning and that's that. No calls, no emails, etc. regarding anything wedding-related. YOU will be in touch with THEM when YOU are ready to begin again. Stick to your guns, and give yourself that much-needed break to rest, relax, enjoy your new job (congrats!) and spend time with your fiance. Good luck. xo.

  15. I love you. Told you to take a break ( :
    -Her man

  16. I think wedding planning is about missing the ones that are gone, loving the ones you have, and giving up on the ones that don't have your back. I think it's a hard personal time, revel in it if you can. If it's too soon take some time. If it's anything like my planning it is intense at first and then works itself out.

  17. Anon@9pm, such a wise statement.

    Reader: I agree with Anon@8:51am - you want to be married to your man, and that isn't necessarily what you should put on hold, but if you need a break from the rest of it, tell them to back off.

    Sometimes Moms act like a shield between you and annoying, demanding family - I'm sure that is, in part, what you're missing right now (and that's big). Do you have a close family member (such as a sister, or a sister-cousin, or a favorite aunt) who could play this gatekeeper role for you? No one can take your mom's place otherwise, but you need a gatekeeper to keep people in check.

  18. I think it's totally normal to have fun with wedding planning when it's all in the hypothetical...when it's not really real...and then...when you're engaged and things need to be put in stone and decisions need to be actually MADE and not just put on an inspiration board....panic sets in. Then add to that the loss of your mother, your sounding board and of COURSE you're having a meltdown. Rather than postpone entirely I say take a month off from planning. When people ask about the wedding just tell them you're taking a break from the planning....Give people time to sort of forget about it and you time to wrap your brain around how to handle all the pressure and drama that ALWAYS come along with wedding planning. Then reevaluate whether to postpone or move forward. Your wedding sounds awesome and anyone who goes will not only be in FLORENCE but will feel honored to be included. Assign your best friend and fiance as the people in charge of keeping your ideas in check and have FUN!!!!

  19. This post made me cry as well. My best wishes are with you, and I know you will be able to make everything come together beautifully as you've planned, but just as these other wise women have mentioned, you don't have to do it NOW. Grieve. People never leave time enough to do this. While the sense of loss will never truly fade (I lost my father 9 years ago and haven't truly stopped grieving), it will start to take different forms and become bearable in different ways. I wish you all of the best and all of the love your heart can handle.