Happy Birthday to the (recent) Mother of the Bride

Today is my mom’s birthday. I know I promised to start finally telling you all about the wedding and share lots of photos, but that might take a couple days. And really, there is no better way to start the wedding sharing than talking about my mother.

James and I had so much help on this wedding, so many people who sacrificed so much to help us have the perfect day. But there is no person whose effort equals that of my mother. Not only did she work lots of extra days to help pay for it, but she invested herself in so many details. My mom was my companion for all of the shopping, planning, selecting, tasting, tears, joys, etc. She was the one who stood there and cried with me when I found THE DRESS, and who got excited about my plan for using all the old mason jars and antiques (read: old junk) around our house to decorate, and the one who found the caterer. She encouraged me that people really would like chicken almondine — even if it is a potentially scary southern casserole, and that people would want to read a letter from James and me with a description of where our lives are going. She spent hours driving out to the reception site at all hours of the day to analyze where sun would be during the reception, and she and my brother both spent weeks suffering from an attack of chiggers after they weeded the gardens around the park where the reception would be. Did you catch that? She also weeded and planted flowers in the public park where we had the reception. She found “a man” (My mother has all sorts of “men”: hay man, clay man, squirrel trapping man, tree-chopping man, etc. She is like, Queen of the redneck workers.), to give us about a hundred cut tree wedges for free, and when we were missing half of the table clothes the morning of the reception, she got on that phone and made it happen.

Planning a wedding brings everything to the surface, every insecurity, character flaw, old feud, and personal failing. This is why people become the worst version of themselves on their way to having the best day of their lives. And my mom and I did have a couple moments where we had it out, like when I thought she was serious about wanting to put goldfish in bowls on every table. All I could see where visions of dead fish bodies being plucked out and thrown at us while we danced, and what I couldn’t see was her just teasing me. I also battled fears of her wrapping everything – stationary or not – in tulle, though in the end the tulle she wrapped around the pavilion banister did make it look like it was hovering somewhere between reality and dreamland.

This week, I have been drooling over our photos, and I can’t help but feel a little sad that my mom isn’t in more of them. I am not blaming our amazing photographer, I am just recognizing the sad reality that so often, my mom was off working on the next thing to move along my beautiful day. I got to be pampered and bridal, while she worked to make sure that our day would be perfect in every way. And it was, because she made it so, and I won’t ever be able to thank her enough.

Even sadder than that is the fact that in a moment of overwhelming emotional/ heat induced wedding day stress during the reception (read: most fun party ever), I snapped at my mother.  Pause so you can all judge me – yes, I deserve it. That is my only real regret from my wedding day. Other than that, it was perfect in every way and the most fun day of my life. As I am reliving it through our photos, I see my mother in all of them. She is in my decision to wear my hair down, to refuse the false eyelashes, to opt for comfy flats over heals, and to rock the sparkly earrings. She is in the flowers we carried and in the decorations that adorned every pew.  She is in the food our guests ate, in the design of the programs they read, and in the practicality of the fans they waved. Yes, this wedding was all “James and me” but so much of me is from her, so much of the best of me.

Happy birthday mom, I love you.

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15 Responses to Happy Birthday to the (recent) Mother of the Bride

  1. Kate Schweiss says:

    Hannah, this is beautiful and I am sure your mom loved reading this. I have the exact same regret about my mom not being in more of my photos! She is in the background a lot because she gracefully and lovingly stood back and watched the day unfold… Moms are the most incredible people in the world–without a doubt.

    And, I LOVE your photos. They are so beautiful and the two of you just look so relaxed and truly happy. Congratulations, again!

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks Kate!! We were very happy indeed. I can’t wait to share so many more!!!

      And it must just be a bittersweet thing about weddings: one of the most important people who has worked so hard for it seems so absent from the representations of it.

  2. Maria says:

    We loved the chicken almondine! Just FYI.

    • Hannah says:

      I’m so glad! I LOVE anything remotely like a casserole, and if there is cream of __________ soup in it — all the better!

      James and I actually ended many honeymoon conversations with wishing we had eaten more chicken almondine.

  3. Your mom is gonna read this to you the night before your daughter gets married. Be prepared.

    • Hannah says:

      And I will cry.

      On another note, I am also sure that by the time I have a daughter who gets married, the styles will be so different that she will mock me for having old stuff sitting around.

  4. angie stone says:

    It’s impossible to read this without some happy tears. Planning a wedding with you was so much fun, such deep satisfaction. I loved the many hours we analyzed every little detail… over and over… and could still think of more things to talk about the wedding. Some will say that a wedding is a waste of money and energy. I disagree. It is a healing memory in the years to come. The selection of a marriage partner is a monumental decision; the honoring of that sacrament and the celebration of that commitment deserves the party of a lifetime. Emotions run strong at such times because we both had embraced the wedding with our souls. We both wanted the day to be wonderful for the other person…and it was. I cannot imagine a more precious daughter than you are. I am truely blessed by you.

  5. Martha Tanner says:

    LOVED this (and all your writing that I’ve managed to read.) Happy Birthday to your wonderful Mom! 🙂

  6. tina says:

    You should hand write this and mail it to your mom. I love her dearly but given her avoidance of technology I doubt she would read this (does she read your blog?). I did teach her recently how to check voicemail and erase old voicemails and phone calls!! I truly wish you and Zach could have come to Lex and surprised her. Your mom is pretty amazing! I know she is a compulsive detail person but she does so out of her tremendous love. I’m so glad you know that about her. I suggested she try to enjoy the day, I think she did in the way she knows best… by giving so much of herself to you. You are so blessed!

  7. Bwstephens57@insightbb.com says:

    Hannah, What a beautiful tribute to your Mom. Your openess,honesty and genuine love came through this blog. Be SURE your mother gets this. It is a gift she will love and treasure. Forgive me for being bossie but I love the way you write. So glad to hear all is well. Thanks for your sweet note. Take good care of each other! Aloha. Ps. I ditto the hand written idea.

  8. Angie says:

    Beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman – inside and out!

  9. Sarah Ferguson says:

    Somehow I just read this…(not that it is THAT old of a post). But knowing Angie, knowing you dear Hannah…made me adore this. She is a special special lady and so are you. And your wedding was BEAUTIFUL. The reception was fabulous and our only regret was that we were not able to be there longer. (Babies aren’t that wild about weddings, parties and late nights.)

  10. Pingback: A Wedding Story: It all ends in a party. | The Art in Life

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