Months of planning had already been done for June 29, 2019, our chosen wedding date. It was the middle of April and we were three months away from our wedding. We had meetings in place to finalize the menu with the caterer and design our cake with the pastry chef. Then, everything changed in a flash and we decided to get married sooner. A lot sooner…. Like the following weekend! The wedding dress that my Mom and I chose together wasn’t altered, there were no invitations, there was no caterer or cake. But, we got married anyway. Why did we do it? Read on.
I’m a planner. I like to work out all the details, have all of my ducks in a row and have everything catalogued in a binder for anyone to be able to execute. My wedding was no different. Now, back to the story:
Though the vast majority of details had not been planned, there was one detail that needed to be prioritized, one guest rather, my Mom. In all the dreaming that I had ever done of my wedding it was a foregone conclusion that both of my parents would be in attendance. I never stopped to consider any other alternative.
In the Fall of 2018 my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. It was the most shocking news my family could have gotten. It was so unexpected honestly as I write this I am still stunned. Shortly after my Mom was diagnosed my fiancé, now husband, told me that he was ready to marry me at any time. Whatever I needed to happen, he was prepared. At the time I reassured him that the wedding would take place, as planned, in June. I am sure that he realized, due to my Mother’s diagnosis, that we may need to get married sooner. I could not comprehend the thought that she may not be there for our big day, getting our hair done together, zipping up my dress, taking beautiful mother-daughter photos that we would have to look back on the rest of our lives. I was set that we would fight it and that she would come out victorious. Through the roller coaster of treatments and the pain she endured I thought for sure, along with the best medical team in the US (as far as I believe), things would turn around, they had to!
Fast forward to April 2019, my mothers condition was progressing and she was declining. She was placed on end-of-life hospice care at home. I turned to my fiancé and told him that we need to get married sooner. He calmly assured me that he has been ready to marry me ever since we got engaged and he told me to pick a date. The new date was April 27, 2019 just about 2 weeks later.
Being the planner that I am, I frantically send out invites that I had hand written (not beautifully, think a Childs birthday invitation: who, what, where, when, RSVP kinda thing), ordered a dress from Anthropologie (crossing my fingers that it would fit) and a flower crown from Amazon (since I was doing my own hair I thought I needed a little pizzazz). I already had my shoes, we had the rings and our officiant (my brother) was planning to fly in for that weekend from Washington. I felt good! My Mom was going to be there! We would be married on April 27 – a date that we chose, that was right in between the birthdays of my mother and I.
A couple days later, just when the small group of friends and extended family we had invited would be receiving the invites, we were told by hospice that we should get my brother home as soon as possible. Things were progressing and the time she had left was diminishing.
My Mom had to be there the day that I married Brent. I was stuck on that! She just had to be. So…. We moved the wedding again, to the day that chose us, April 20th, 2019.
We reluctantly told people to disregard the invites that they had received for the 27th and that we would be moving the wedding even closer. We would only be getting married in the company of family given the situation. Of course everyone understood. While it was sad to not have some of our extended family and best friends in attendance, I knew that the amount of visitors would be a lot for my Mom, she had even told me so.
My new dress arrived in time, along with my flower crown. Brent purchased a new pair of dress shoes to go with a suit that he had planned to wear. I bought some cheeses and crackers to have as a little snack afterward as well as a couple bottles of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label (the same champagne Brent and I shared after he proposed to me up North at my parent’s second home the July prior) and some sparkling apple cider for those that may not want champagne.
The following Saturday, April 20, 2019, my husband and I were married by my brother in the company of our parents (including my Mom!), siblings, my grandmother and two Siberian Huskies that made several appearances during the ceremony.
The day we got married was perfect. Even though my Mom was not able to get ready with me or zip up my dress. She was there, smiling at us the whole time. She was able to take it all in. She was there! As I write this with tears in my eyes I can remember it perfectly. My brother’s voice shaking during the ceremony, my knees shaking, staring into my husbands eyes while we said our vows, the dogs running in and out of the open patio door we stood in front of, the beautiful sunny day. I remember all the details.
After the ceremony my Mom and I shared the sweetest moments together. I sat by her and showed off my dress, a surprise to everyone – even her. I distinctly remember her touching the lace of the left sleeve, taking a moment to feel it in her hand and saying “I love this dress, it’s well made.” If you know my Mom, thats saying something! A little back story on my Mom: she was a Clothing and Textiles major and appreciated a finely made garment. a well made garment was high praise. She smiled at me and we shared a mother daughter kiss. The world stopped in that moment.
Fourteen days later, May 4, 2019, my Mom passed away peacefully surrounded by my dad, my brother and I.
This year as our first anniversary approached I wanted to do something that would fully honor the day that chose us, the day that my Mom was in attendance as I said my vows and married my husband.
It took me a bit to decide how to do that until it hit me. Invitations. I would create the invitation that we would have sent out to serve as a beautiful memory of that day. Now, as we celebrate for years to come we will now have a formal invitation in our memory book that honors April 20, 2019.
These images were taken by me about two weeks ago when I did a therapeutic detail shoot. The invitations, my gorgeous designer shoes, the flower crown, my dress and our rings, reliving the day we married.
In the end, it’s not about the what, it’s about the who. The details matter, until they don’t. Sometimes you choose the day and sometimes it chooses you. Whatever leads you, follow it. Always take advantage of the time you have because, as we all know, the future is not promised. Thank you all for reading and as always:
Words can not explain how much I love you! Happy first anniversary I cannot wait for the many more that we will celebrate together. Thank you for your unwavering support and being there with me through some of the worst days of my life, for some of the best days and all those to come.
Just a quick behind the scenes sneak peek of my detail session 🙂