REAL WEDDING ISSUES | Part II | “When Mom Doesn’t Want You to Get Hitched” A True Life Story by Miss Rhi…

ATTN MY FAMILY: Kindly refrain from reading the first paragraph of this post IF YOU WANT TO LIVE TO SEE TOMORROW.

Hey lovies.  Top o’ the afternoon to ya!  Hope you guys are having a happy/productive/loving/profitable Thursday thus far.  Mostly hoping it’s happy.  I’m doing pretty well myself, despite the disturbing/frustrating fact that it’s become painfully clear – based on the nice-to-meet-you smirk on the boyfriend half’s face of our new neighbors who share a wall with us… that the things I *say* when I’m bedroom wrestling ARE AUDIBLE and entering our neighbors’ ears.  Sooooooooooo yeah.  Officially struggling with whether or not I should crank down the verbal excitement, or just say screw him and be on my merry way… to continuing to screw the other him.  Ohhhh I am so inappropriate.  I am so inappopriate!  Someone tase me, bro.  Sigh.  But yeah I really don’t know what to do about this.  The awkward factor is sort of through the roof on this dilemma.

Ok, that concludes the part of today’s post you shouldn’t have read if you are: my Dad, one of my brothers (especially my little brother; my older brother is more comfortable with such topics – ok no scratch that – both brothers), my neighbors, my niece and nephew, my Aunt can read it she’s cool, so can my Mom – she knows my menstrual cycle which is synonymous with nothing is off limits.

Alrighty!  On we go, to what this post is actually about.  And yes, I like ending sentences with prepositions on occasion.  Some of us like to live on the edge every once in a while.

Ok, first, behold some of Rhi’s lovely work – both from her own wedding, and from her work as Rhi of Hey Gorgeous Events.  Yup, she’s one seriously amazeballs event designer.  :)

↑ oh my god, right?  like, oh my god.


When we, as regular people, get engaged, we hope that everyone in our lives is going to be thrilled for us.  It’s a natural reaction, a fact of life.  Totally normal.  Our happiness in that period time is at one of its highest heights, and we want those around us to feel that same sense of happiness… for us.

Fortunately, for so many, that’s a pretty accurate reflection of how things end up going down.  Because that’s how it should be, right?  Our loved ones, our friends, our family, and in some instances our coworkers – all of these groups of people in our lives should be excited for us.  You’re engaged!  You’re getting married to the love of your life!  It’s without question a cause for celebration.

… Of course, since we live in the real world, unfortunately, for whatever reason, that’s not always how things go down.  It’s deeply upsetting for those who experience it, and there are tons of unique reasons why *total excitement* might NOT be the reaction each and every member of our circle expresses.

Today, we’re featuring the second part of Rhi’s personal story about her experiences with her mother from her engagement to her wedding day.  This story is a painful one, but Rhi wanted to share it, as she did with Part I, and as she will be in the near future in Part III, because she knows that she’s not the only one who has experienced the things she’s experienced.  On a personal note, I want to say that Rhi is an amazing, thoughtful, deeply introspective, voraciously social and immensely talented and creative young lady, and I consider it an honor to know her and to be able to call her a friend.  She brightens people’s days, and doesn’t hold back when it comes to her own life, and her love.  She’s an inspiration, and simply by sharing her story with us today, she’s making a difference in countless lives.  I love ya, Rhi.  People like yourself make this world shift a little bit, in a good way, as it continues to go round.

Ok, I now present to you Part II of Rhi’s story.

First off, let me just say how totally cool it is that so many chicks out there can relate to my story. I’ve spent the last three years almost ashamed of my relationship with my husband because it never felt like my mom approved or at the very least felt excited for me and the happiness we had found/created together. And believe me, that was tough to handle. It actually still is sometimes considering my career and the number of mother-daughter-doing-wedding-things-together relationships I witness on a daily basis. But the bottom line is, I love you guys and have really enjoyed reading your personal stories over and over again. Not only that, the unexpected outpouring support from you all has turned on the pressure for me to segue into part two so here goes nothing.

. . .

After our summer 2008 engagement, I headed back to start my final semester of my undergrad degree, and Andrew headed back to finish his. Every now and then, I’d throw a bridal magazine in with my groceries at the store, or I’d google ambiguous wedding terms in hopes of finding inspiration, but the entire concept of actually making decisions, or even paying money for anything pertaining to our wedding, was out of the picture. I knew in my mind, well before I could even admit it to anyone else, that our wedding wouldn’t be happening when we’d want it to and for the sake of my sanity and in hopes of avoiding any version of a pity party, I learned to be OK with that. I created a wedding webpage. I picked my bridesmaids. I printed out photos of things I liked. And at night, I dreamt and dreamt and dreamt of what it would feel like to have a wedding and be married to Andrew. It’s extreme but it felt like I had an eating disorder. I kept wedding things very private, careful not to let many people in on, what felt like should be a secret. Sometimes I wouldn’t wear my ring. Because it felt like I wasn’t worthy of being happy about it if those around me weren’t.

A whole lot of things happened. The fiance and I, we both graduated college. I moved home to Canada, husband got a job in Chicago. We both moved to Chicago. I moved back home to Canada. I worked a couple jobs trying to figure out what to do with my life as Rhi. I decided to go back to school to study for a year. I lived in my parents basement. I watched that bratty little brother grow up before my eyes. Andrew and I both travelled back and forth, getting way too used to airports but never accustomed to saying goodbye to one another. We celebrated other people’s milestones; engagements, marriages, new homes. And funny enough, in between all of this, rarely was our wedding, my ring, our future plans or even really us, ever mentioned. I started to believe that this is what an engagement was. I thought to myself “How dare you feel sorry for yourself Rhi! You are so so lucky and just because everyone isn’t dancing circles around you, doesn’t mean you need to be a Debbie Downer about everything.” So I wasn’t. I just grinned and said thank you when everyone Congratulated me on my engagement; over a year and a half after it happened. And I took down the wedding website; it made me feel like a teenage girl scribbling I Heart doodles across my binder. I was dreaming of things that were well, in my mind and in reality, only dreams.

I could write for hours about what happened over the next year leading up to our wedding. But in a nutshell, what happened is I ended up taking my Dad aside and letting him know, that I was no longer a child and that I have the right to get married regardless of if him and my Mom liked it or not. Because without that talk that day, who knows if Andrew and I would be married by now. I told him, if he and my Mom felt like they could or would want to donate any kind of money towards the event that would be fabulous and totally appreciated, and husband and I would be entirely grateful. But I needed to know either way, because this would determine what sort of wedding we’d be having (i.e. any wedding at all). He gave us a number, we found a venue, took the only last date available and for the next 10 months, I planned a wedding; in between managing a part time job, a full time school schedule and a relationship with a man who lived 14 hours away.

. . .

Our wedding has come and gone. And I get sort of depressed about it every now and then because of a few reasons (which hey, this could be a, my friends, I promise you that). But what I’ve really learned about the whole experience is my Mom’s behaviour and lack of interest in the whole engagement-planning-wedding-thing, while hurtful and some what annoying, was her way of letting me know she cares about and loves me; in her own somewhat very confusing way. Call it a quick fix for my sadness, or a way to make her seem like less of a Mommy-monster but me marrying Andrew, meant me moving away to a different country. It meant me doing something that was to her, the equivalent of her situation where she had a baby at a young age (which was obviously not the most glamorous choice for a 21 year old single waitress). Her choice to sit back and shut up, or speak up when a decision was brought up that she didn’t agree with (like my wedding colours or my wedding dress) were just a way of saying “I really want to be there for you! But I’m upset, and I’m hurt, and I’m confused at how to act so instead I’ll just remove myself from the situation. Please make sure you are making the right choice!”

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, two days before this past Christmas. She nonchalantly brought it up while I was decorating gingerbread cookies for her. She told me with a sadness in her voice I will never ever forget. I’ll also never ever forget that it was only four days before I was set to make the move across the border to finally put an end to the two years of long distance that my new husband and I had been spending apart. And as heartbreaking as that day was for her and I, and my family, I instantly knew that her diagnoses was symbolic of a few things. First off, that we all experience our emotions differently. Fear for one may translate into excitement for another. Anger for some, can be shrugged off and accepted for others. We all have expectations on how one should react to a specific circumstance yet in truth, everyone reacts very differently.

But the biggest and most symbolic thing about that day was for me, learning to accept things. I have to accept the phrase “My mom has cancer” just like I have to accept the phrase “My mom wasn’t a part of our wedding planning process.” I can’t go back in time and prevent a tumor. And I sure as hell can’t go back and make her jump up and down and shriek like a girlfriend on the phone with me when I told her I was engaged. I have to accept that she’s tired and weak and can’t visit me right now just like I have to accept that it rained on our wedding day. I’ve learned that sometimes you just need to Let Go. And regardless of these things, I know my Mom loves me as much as I love her. When I look back on this crazy emotional ride we’ve all been on I don’t think of how ticked off I was to hear that my dress “was way too much money,” but instead I picture my beautiful Mom, standing beside me as my Dad gave me away to Andrew, silently beaming with happiness and pride.

And now, if you missed it earlier, here’s Bam *in his element* -

MAN that rainbow toy was a smart choice on my part.  Just look how it photographs!  Oh, and uhhh, it uhhh, he loves it, too.  Yeah, THAT’s the reason I got it.

So, what are your thoughts after reading Part II of Rhi’s story?  Do you feel you can identify at all?  Have you experienced anything similar with anyone in your circle?  Or maybe your friends are suffering through some less than extremely uplifting personal experiences of their own as they continue the planning process?

Also, feel free to share any tips or tricks you might have that could help anyone who might be experiencing their own version of Rhi’s story.

Rhi and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


P.S. – Rhi will be back with Part III in the coming weeks, where she’ll share thoughts and advice on how to deal with less than thrilled mamas.

P.P.S. – I’ve embedded some recent work Rhi sent me within today’s post.  Gorgeous, eh?  Rhi, you really chose the perfect name for your biz.   Such a perfect fit. :)

P.P.P.S. – if you’d like to check out Rhi’s lovely DIY wedding, by all means, click dat s**t.

Hey Gorgeous Events is a member of Vendor Love. To view this listing, click here.

Label(s): "DEAR TKB..." Advice Column, Real Life Issues, {Guest Bloggers}

Love all of this...


  1. Megan Powers on August 4, 2011

    :( she is a very mature person to handle all of this so calmly. good for her, but still big hugs!

  2. Mimi Tilton on August 4, 2011

    Dialing in from home today. Mocha got maulled by 2 German Shepphards on Tuesday night and I’ve been home with her. She’s going to be okay. Because she is one of God’s Angels… puncture wounds and muscle tears- my poor 6lb baby gurl. I – however – am a wreck. So I’m laying here thinking hmmmm what can possibly take my mind off of her terror? My daily joy that is The Knotty Bride and my smile-inducing love of Bambers.

    Wow – I had been wating for part 2 and I praise this strong woman for her ability to speak up to take care of her and hubby’s needs. I honestly don’t know that I’d be that understanding and unconditional. Thank you for sharing your story, sweetie.

    Oh dat Bambers luvs hims colors! Thanks for bringing a smile!

  3. Alicia@Charitywedding on August 4, 2011

    I’ve actually been searching for Part 2, thinking I missed it! I think Rhi is so strong for being able to write about it and for being able to see past herself and try to figure out how her Mom was feeling. I know she will be able to help so many people through telling this story!

  4. JenW on August 4, 2011

    love these personal stories… Wedding aren’t just all about pretty stuff and a party. It’s good to focus on all aspects of it and keep us grounded to what a wedding is really about… Not that I don’t love looking at pretty pictures! :)

  5. Laura *You Stir Me* on August 4, 2011

    oh Rhi, sweetiepie – you’re the best. I know we’ve all said this before (as did Alison!) but you’re so inspiring and so stinking strong; it’s so great to have you and your heart in this world. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your wedding/life story – you know we all can relate to each other, in one way or another, and this will surely reach many, many girls and brides-to-be! xo

    And Alison – rock on with your naughty self in the bedroom:)

  6. Katy on August 4, 2011

    As for your neighbor, I say crank up your stereo to 11 and don’t hold back on your verbal exclamations! PS – Been reading your blog for some months now and never commented. However, I saw this at Urban Outfitters and it made me think of Mr. Bambino! [excuse the painfully long url]

  7. Maire on August 4, 2011

    It’s things like this, reading this story that I just happened to accidentally stumble across, that really make me believe in destiny, or at the very least, some wise old critter living in my computer and filtering my internet searches for things that will help me.
    This exact thing is happening to me right now and reading this story today was such a help. Part of me wants to wait to get married until my parents, mother in particular (there is no hope for dad to accept that his oldest baby girl can be getting married), are ready. But then I think, they are going to be difficult no matter what and I can only live on their time table to a certain extent.
    Rhi, reading your story touched my heart and I can’t wait to read the third installment. You were so brave to confront your dad and that gives me hope that if you could do it, maybe I can.

  8. Abby Grace on August 4, 2011

    I love this. Rhi’s blog is a breath of fresh air, and I never would have gues that this story lay behind the scenes. It makes me sad, because my mom wasn’t involved in my wedding planning process much either. She removed herself from moost of the “planning picture.” She went dress shopping with me, but no squealing or anything. I think having your mom uninvolved is one of the most frustrating/hurtful things that can happen- she’s the one you want beside you, cheering you on and geting excited with you. :/ I feel for you, girl.

  9. Monica on August 4, 2011

    I am currently an MOB and I am having the opposite experience-I desperately want to be involved in helping my daughter to plan her wedding. She and her fiancé do not want any help from either mother, nor are they willing to let either help with the expenses. While it is a struggle to let go of my “little girl”, I am not trying to shove my opinion down her throat-it is her wedding, not mine. I just want to be part of the excitement and the joy of the planning process. I want to be able to see her get excited as she begins to see her dream day come together. I want to know how I can help. It has been very difficult to be shut out of the process. So… if anyone needs an MOB, I’m available:)!

  10. Caroline on August 4, 2011

    Rhi my heart goes out to you. I have been waiting for the rest of your story and I’m so glad you shared. I completely understand the feelings of loneliness and disappointment that comes with the lack of excitement from your mom’s side. I really think its so huge that you are able to share your experience, because no matter what, there will always be difficulties in relationships with family. Props!

  11. Lena on August 4, 2011

    Rhi, you are the bravest, most honest, most wonderful human being I know. I don’t have all the words I need to fully respond, and I’m not sure that they’d ever do-just know how much I admire you for following your heart, and being so true to yourself, Andrew and your family, even if everyone had a different agenda.

    I had to scroll A LOT because telling Alison to keep shouting whatever she so pleases in the boudoir needs to be separated from my response to Part II. It seems only appropriate. Not that chatting about this on the interwebs necessarily is.

    Oh yeah, and Rhi’s work. It’s so stunning I almost can’t manage to look at it. It’s like starring at the sun.

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo, Lena

  12. Kristine G. on August 4, 2011

    I’ve also been waiting for the rest of the story–and now I can’t wait for Part III. Rhi, thank you for your beautiful honesty. Although my mom has been supportive of my impending nuptials, I ended a serious long-term relationship years ago and wondered if my mom would ever speak to me again. In the same way you made sense of your mom’s behavior, I knew it was because she feared for my future happiness and didn’t want me to make the same mistakes she did. Ultimately, the wisdom you’re passing on, to let go and move forward no matter what happens, is absolutely something us brides need to hear. Thank you, Rhi!

  13. Dina on August 4, 2011

    I am pretty teary-eyed right now. Unfortunately I identify with you on all levels, Rhi. It isn’t just my mother, but my whole family, who have not acknowledged my engagement. In fact, I probably can’t count my brother and sister-in-law recognizing it until after theirs next month. Whatev.
    What really made me cry was when you realized your mom’s way of showing love. Many people may read what you wrote and say, “Rhi, don’t make excuses for your mom! Don’t give her the time of day or the opportunity to hurt you again!” but I get you, ya see. My mom is the same way. She cares for me more than anyone I know, but she doesn’t know how to communicate that very effectively. She has improved over the years, and she has surprised the heck out of me at different times over the last few months with unexpected random glimpses of support and normal expressions of love.
    But, unfortunately, we don’t have the BFF moms that squeal over finding just the right necklace to pair with our perfect gown. And that’s our story. thank God for friend’s that are more than family. :-)

  14. Dina on August 4, 2011

    And P.S. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Koru Kate on August 4, 2011

    How did I miss Part One?! Anywho, a big thanks to Rhi for her brave & honest posts. She’s such an inspiration in so many ways. Wedding planning isn’t sunshine & rainbows for everyone & this must help other Brides feel less alone in their situation. I dealt with family who for silly reasons decided not to be happy for me, my wedding & my marriage. It broke my heart, still breaks my heart at times long after my wedding. They are my family & I will always love them but I have learned to stop caring what they think. Most days, this strategy works!

    For any other Brides going through anything similar, big HUGS!

  16. Elle on August 5, 2011

    Rhi – I’m so sorry that you weren’t surrounded by excitement during your planning process. I wish you had found the knotty bride community sooner – we would have been excited with you!!!

    Regardless, even if it wasn’t the process you dreamed of – it sounds like you got the man of your dreams! Which in the long run is way more important!!!


  17. jacin {lovely little details} on August 5, 2011

    rhi has such an incredible “voice” in this blogging world that is something to be reckoned with. she tells it like it is, and i am so happy to have found her in this crazy-ass place we call blog-land. thanks yet again for sharing your story, rhi!

  18. Colleen {Soundtrack To I Do} on August 5, 2011

    Thanks for sharing Rhi. That’s tough stuff. I’m not married (or engaged) yet, but when both my sisters got married, my mom turned into an absolute monster during the planning process. Not kidding. She got a bizarre personality transplant and her normally sweet and loving self was gone. I’m seriously considering going to a therapist with my mom when I get engaged. I don’t need her to be involved in all the details, or to squeal like a girlfriend at the news, but I’m hoping that she can just be moderately happy throughout the process and not turn into Momzilla.

  19. Dina on August 5, 2011

    Monica, can you be my mom?! ;-)

  20. Bia (Loose Diamonds) on August 5, 2011

    Thanks for telling us your story, Rhi. I’ve seen firsthand how hard it is when a person is in love but the people around her – people important to her, even – don’t approve of the relationship, and further so, a union. One of my friends, C, has a very strict family and they were extremely picky about who they wanted her to have a relationship with. They disapproved of her boyfriend from the start because he wasn’t ‘one of them’ – and her father went so far as to NOT attend their wedding, because he disapproved so much! It pretty much broke her heart.

    I’m glad that all’s well that ends well, in this case, you managed to have your wedding with the man you love. And I send lots of prayers for your mum; I know what that’s like. Dad died of cancer just two weeks ago. Stay strong, keep faith. ♥

  21. Nikki {Perpetually Engaged} on August 6, 2011

    Rhiannon I had no idea! I’m so sorry you didn’t have your Mom during your process. My Grandpa died a month before our wedding and my Mom flew to Switzerland to be with my Grandma. It was hard to have her miss my shower, I can’t imagine if emotionally she had been gone as well.

    What a great way to put it, accept it and move on. We have to do that with the things we can’t control or else they will consume us. xoxo

  22. Liesl on August 8, 2011

    I have always loved how open, honest and genuine Rhiannon is with her feelings and thoughts and I look up to her so much for this! I really enjoyed reading every bit of Part 2 and am looking forward to Part 3…I think we can all learn a little something from what she expresses or relate that to some aspect of our lives! Thank you to her for sharing this!

    Liesl :)

  23. KrisD Mauga on August 9, 2011

    Allison you f’n crack me up!!! I luv the 1st paragraph and your frankness just puts smiles on my face! Enjoy it; let it out… if you keep it in you may miss the “O”pportunity to get to the point of it all!
    2nd for Rhi~ I luv your honesty as well! It takes so much courage to relay your honest emotions to the world nevertheless you mother as well! I commend you on your maturity and ability to put things into perspective! Best wishes!

  24. Femke on June 12, 2012

    She handled very well.


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