Who would have thought that you can actually get a stand-in mom at your wedding if need be.
Well, it’s the truth thanks to Sara Cunningham as reported by People Magazine.
As an officiant of same-sex weddings, Sara Cunningham has been to many ceremonies in which couples’ parents refused to attend. So, the 55-year-old mom took matters into her own hands.
In July, Cunningham, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, declared on Facebookthat she’d be more than happy to stand in for the biological mothers of couples who did not want to go to their children’s wedding.
“PSA. If you need a mom to attend your same sex wedding because your biological mom won’t,” she wrote. “Call me. I’m there. I’ll be your biggest fan. I’ll even bring the bubbles.
Cunningham’s endearing PSA gained traction and in no time the caring, lovable mom was hearing from people interested in her offer.
“I posted it out of frustration. So often I heard about parents who were not acknowledging these relationships or not attending the wedding. I made that post, not having any idea that it would go viral. But what happened is that, from all over the world, I heard from people … I got some invitations.”
But it doesn’t stop there, not only did Cunningham accept offers to stand-in, other parents started to throw their names in the hat to stand-in in the loving supportive role.
The mom of two is set to serve as a “stand-in” mom at three weddings next year. But Cunningham says other mothers have already volunteered at three weddings as a result of the post. Cunningham’s good deed comes about two years after she founded Free Mom Hugs, a non-profit organization which provides support and educational services to parents with LGBTQI community.
In November Cunningham performed her first stand-in before her schedule two that she has set for next year.
One of those invitations was to Tabatha Cash and Marlee Castillo’s wedding. Cunningham initially planned to officiate the wedding but, after Cunningham shared the post, Cash asked Cunningham if she’d represent her mother at the Nov. 3 wedding.“My favorite part was seeing Marlee and Tabatha go through this process. They made history that day in their lives. What a beautiful thing to be a part of,” Cunningham tells PEOPLE.
“[Cash] is so beautiful, vibrant, independent, in a relationship that is a healthy relationship. It was bittersweet because I know she didn’t have a mom there. No matter how much she knew she was doing the right thing for herself, there’s still a part of her that’s missing, and that’s her mom.”
Still, there were smiles and tears of joy at the wedding, Cunningham says. And her efforts even caught the attention of actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who sent her flowers that Cunningham gave to Cash and Castillo.
What makes this story even more interesting is finding out that the sweetheart Cunningham had to go through a period of understanding before she herself became so accepting of the LGBTQI lifestyle.
Although she’s established herself as an ally of the LGBTQI community, Cunningham says that hasn’t always been the case. She says she and her family struggled for years to come to terms with their son’s identity as a gay man. It was through that journey that she learned to accept him and overcome her own biases, she says.
Now, she’s committed to helping other parents on that same journey. In 2014, she published her memoir How We Sleep At Night, which chronicles her relationship with her son and the LGBTQI community. She belongs to an online Facebook group for parents with LGBTQI children (and recommends the private group to moms like her). She also works to end conversion therapy in the state.
The path to understanding is always a great thing. To find the “momma with the most-est” visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sara.cunningham.942.