When I first got engaged, I knew the following year would be focused on my relationship with Ben and our transition from being an engaged to a married couple. What I didn’t anticipate was that it wasn’t just my relationship with my fiancé that would grow but the many relationships with all the women in my life as well.
The most important woman in my life is my mother. I’m an only child, and I think many only children take the friendship that would otherwise be a sibling relationship and transfer it to a parent. My mom has always been one of my best friends and was so excited when I got engaged to Ben. Recently, she has mentally been balancing between the happy mother-of-the-bride and the “oh my God, my only daughter is getting married” feelings. This balancing act can be a little difficult. This past weekend, she burst into tears during a discussion of the seating chart, and the sudden change of mood had me really confused. In order to help me sort out what my mom must be going through, I called my cousin and matron of honor, Sarah, who has always been like a sister to me.
Sarah got married two years ago and has the benefit of having already experienced everything I’m going through. She gave me some great insight as to why my mom was acting so strangely, through her experience with her own mom—my mom’s sister. Sarah advised me that this time is bittersweet for a mother, because while she’s gaining a son- or daughter-in-law, she feels a little unsure about her new role in your life. A mother realizes the first person you’ll call in an emergency is now your spouse, not your parents. Sarah told me to take this time and let my mom know that no matter how old I am, I’ll always need and want her around. I’ll always be her baby girl.
My mom has her own support network to rely on: her best friends Nancy—who has a wonderful tell-it-like-it-is mentality—and Isabella, who has the benefit of experience because her own daughter got married a few years ago. Nancy and Isabella hosted a bridal shower for me, and I’ll always remember this event as one of the most emotional moments in my life.
There is something amazing about bridal showers. You’re surrounded by all the most important women in your life who support you while you make the huge step to the altar. When my shower began, I was a little nervous. I’m not used to being the center of attention. But after a little while, my nerves relaxed and I had a fantastic time. Seeing all the faces of my female friends and family at my shower, reading poems, playing games, talking about wedding stuff—it made me feel a powerful bond I hadn’t felt before.
At the shower was a new support group of females that will be with me for the rest of my life: Ben’s mother, sister, and aunts, who came to both my shower in Maryland and to one Ben’s family friends threw in Charlottesville. I’ve gotten to know Ben’s mom, Kelly, and his sister, Elizabeth, so much better through visits, phone calls, and e-mails to discuss wedding particulars. It’s heartwarming when you think about the fact that you’re joining a new family—a whole new support network—and it’s an amazing feeling when you first realize you love your new family.
Through my bachelorette party, Elizabeth has gotten to know my “honorary” family—a close group of girlfriends, many of whom are in my bridal party. My maid of honor, Kerri, spent a lot of time organizing the party, which I had last weekend. My ladies all pitched in and brought lots of food, decorated my house, and adorned me in typical bachelorette regalia (sash, veil, garter, and a beautiful bride shirt made by Elizabeth), and we traveled in a limo-bus to Lotus Lounge, where we had dinner. Afterward, we traveled to different bars in DC for a scavenger hunt. While the activities were really fun, one of the best things for me was seeing the girls I love so much celebrating with me.
They say weddings are about love, and this couldn’t be more true. But weddings aren’t just about the love between a man and a woman; they’re about the love between friends and family. It’s truly amazing when you’re at a shower or a bachelorette party and you see how hard these women have worked to celebrate you and your marriage.
Read Diana's story from the beginning, here.
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