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Missing Mum – weddings without a parent

One recent Friday afternoon I had a lovely unexpected afternoon off and decided to go get the trotters painted. Whilst sitting waiting for my turn on the magic massaging chair I was entranced by a lovely couple having their nails done. My bat wing ears allowed me to eavesdrop and I’m sorry to say this is a past time I vastly enjoy so I find it hard to apologise for. The younger of the two was due to be married the next day and she was there enjoying the day before pampering sesh with her mum.

This moment was so thoughtful and poignant and it struck me that I never even realised I missed this tender moment until it was played out before me. I must have known, on some level, I was missing out on such rights of passage but to view this interplay between mother and daughter made me quite sad and my thoughts turned to our brides going through these griefs now and over the next few months.

Don’t feel too sorry for me I had a day off because I was off on my holibops the very next day – I’m not asking you to cry for me on this one its just it struck me that recently we have had a lot of brides experiencing exactly the same thing and my heart goes out to them. Some missing a dad, some missing a mum, sadly some missing both and I felt the need to share that should you be struggling right now then you are not alone.

I cannot tell you how to get through the wedding itself, or even the preparation beforehand, and don’t let anyone else tell you either. This is an exceptionally personal grief that you should be allowed to handle in your own way. That’s not to say I cannot give you some handy hints and tips that worked for me!

My own mum passed when I was 21. She was the dictionary definition of the life and soul and would have taken a second mortgage out to fund additional wedding prep. Ensuring I had the time of my life. This meant for me the best way to honour that memory was to surround myself with fun and joy as much as possible, as well as make sure I sunk a bottle of bud on my hen do in honour of her!

I chose not to “suffer” the prep alone, I brought in my aunt, close family, friends and a crazy (and I mean crazy) nan! I involved as many people as possible in all aspects and focused on them and their enjoyment as well as my own. I went overboard going to specially organised cake tastings, a massive waste of money for me but a great day out. I booked in spa days and pre wedding day afternoon tea. There was no limit to how busy I made myself. I invited all my family on my hen do to Tenerife, people that massively reminded me of my mum all the time by their actions and their memories. Never in a sad morose way but by experiencing the times we spent in prep with as much fun and naughtiness that one could ring out of a situation. I took a little bit of the essence of my mum and ran with it how I thought she would approve.

If there was a special place, a personality trait or an image you can incorporate into your wedding prep or wedding day then you do that this meant for us we wanted a way to incorporate our mums in our photography. We made canvas images of our favourite photographs and they came along to the wedding day. We had special photographs of us alone holding those images and they even came to the wedding breakfast. In spirit they were there not just in memory but in print too.

We also commemorated how they lost their lives with special pin brooches that donated to charity in their honour. 6 years on some family members still treasure those pins.

For other brides we have made special touches for them. Many have a special memory and nod to a missing dad with a piece of a beloved blue shirt or item of clothing sewn into their dress by the seamstress – their something blue as well as a touching tribute. One lovely mum brought a gorgeous phrase of the dads hand embroidered into fabric for the seamstress to sew in the dress. The seamstress often places these items and keepsakes into the dress by the heart so he’s there with you as you walk down the aisle which I think is a nice touch.

Basically with the invention of the internet there is no end to the inspiration you can find that gets that personal magic touch for you! My suggestion – have a google, try pinterest, ask around – find something that works for you and celebrates their memory rather than upsetting you.

This brings me on to the day. People that know me will admit to rarely seeing me cry. I’m not soppy, and not a hearts and flowers kind of girl. Its not that emotion doesn’t ride high with me I guess I am just able to control it at times especially in public. This is why on my day I knew there would be a private moment that morning when I would lose my £$%& and I was prepped for that. Luckily I held it together for the main bulk of the day.

This is totally okay. I knew this would happen and made sure I was prepared to let myself embrace it. Don’t beat yourself up but maybe chose one person that can calm you down before it ruins the make up! Luckily mine was before the ceremony and more importantly hair was only in curlers and no make up applied. The cake lady broke the cake on delivery and shared this info with a dressing gown wearing currently calm bride. Not the sharpest move! In turn I managed to smile and get about 16 steps away before the flood gates opened. I knew I couldn’t turn to Mr Aurora to be he wasn’t even there yet. However I knew where to go and man did I run, fast as well in slippers, to my dadda! Luckily he is still with me and guessed it would happen at some point. I crumbled for around 10 minutes before being told to pull it together and calm down. I think I was allowed to wallow for the appropriate amount of time in hindsight – needed time to reduce the puffy face I guess. So handy I had that person there who knew what to do. Make sure you have that person on hand you will probably need it.

There is no magic way to make this not hurt. The only thing I advise is to try and allow that hurt in when its not going to upset your day. Try not to ruin the make up or the photos but if you do that’s okay too. Make sure you have someone on standby with a tissue, some touch up and a good cuddling frame.

Most importantly remember you are not alone. Not only are their other brides out there like you but you have great friends and family around you on a day when you can celebrate your marriage with the memory of all your loved ones past and present. They say it’s the thought that counts – I say treasure the fun times and embrace all those amazing memories.

REMEMBER – we love a cuddle at Aurora Bride if all else fails fall apart with us. I give a great cuddle my mum taught me well.