Wedding Woes

Grandma Can't Come To The Wedding - What Should I Do?

This is a bit of a reactionary rant, so I apologize.

I got engaged in February. We planned to get married October 2015 so we would have time to save up and lose weight. Now getting into the swing of wedding plans, we're doing both and doing fabulous with both.

I spoke to my Grandmother today in Ohio (we're in DC) and we talked a bit about the wedding. And she said "Well we want to be there honey but I just don't know if we can."

I thought this was in reference to funds, but we were already planning to fly my Grandparents out and put them up as our treat - we want  them as happy and comfortable as possible to enjoy the day. But then she tells me no, it's just that they're getting old and they aren't even sure if they'll make it that long, much less be able to travel.

Up until the last few weeks they've both been doing so well, but I could tell from the way she was saying these things that she's pretty sure they won't be able to make it, and she's trying to prepare me for that disappointment. From the sound of it, even if we were to move the wedding up to this October, they wouldn't be comfortable flying or being driven out for it. 

I'm so devastated. I'm not close with my family at all. My mother died when I was nine and I am an only child. My dad and I aren't terribly close. My Grandparents - and Grandma in particular - are the only real family that I connect with.

I'm not sure what to do, if anything. Moving the wedding up? Maybe, if we could afford it (FI's family is fairly large). But even then she may not be able to travel. And I don't know how to plan a wedding long distance in Ohio. 

Any advice would be welcome. I feel like there's not much that can be done but ... I just needed to vent. 

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Re: Grandma Can't Come To The Wedding - What Should I Do?

  • We were in a similar situation with FI's grandparents not being able to attend. While I understand this isn't necessarily the most ideal solution to your problem, what we did was consider Skyping FI's grandparents in so they could still be "present" at the ceremony without having to make the journey out. Is there a way you could do that, maybe?
  • When my brother got married he had this beautiful wedding half planned in Los Angeles where he and my now SIL live.  Then SIL found out that her dad's health, which had been getting progressively worse, was really going down hill and they scrapped their Los Angeles plans.  They got married in Indiana where her dad lived at a hotel that did most of the planning for them.  It meant giving up some of the things they thought they really wanted and planning the wedding in a shorter amount of time.  

    They flew out once to meet with the planner at the hotel and to do a taste test and sort out some of the details.  One of the great things was that the difference between having a wedding in LA and a wedding in small town Indiana was enough that they could afford to upgrade somethings despite not having met the original "LA budget."

    Having a wedding in Indiana meant some of their friends couldn't make it and it put a little more expense on those who really wanted to be there but it meant that SIL could be walked down the aisle by her dad and could have her father-daughter dance.

    SIL's dad died about a month after the wedding.  We spoke recently about it and she says the only thing she regrets is that she didn't get to do all the crafty projects she would have liked.  Other than that, she thinks she had the most wonderful wedding and is so glad she got to spend such a special occasion with her dad.

    Only you can determine the value of uprooting all your plans and changing your date/location to accommodate your grandmother but I will say that it sounds like your grandmother is really important to you, so if you do move it, I don't think you will regret it.  And you might find that planning a wedding long distance is easier because it necessitates given over the power on some of the details.  And Ohio is likely to have cheaper venue options than DC (maybe not but its worth looking into).

    And all that said, if you decide not to uproot all your plans, do not feel bad.  I know that another bride on here included her grandparents by sending them a bouquet of flowers and a small cake to match the ones she was having on her wedding.  It sounds like your grandmother is very understanding and would probably want you to do what feels right given all the particulars involved in your situation. 
  • thejucheideathejucheidea East Nashville, Tennessee member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    We Skyped in my grandma and aunt from California for our Tennessee wedding because they were unable to make the trip. It was awesome, and I loved being able to talk to them beforehand and having them be able to watch our entire ceremony despite not being able to physically make it. Maybe you can do the same?

    mrsconn23HeffalumpSammyantha13
  • MegEn1MegEn1 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    Unfortunately, where we live now and where my FI is from magically manages to be equal distance from Grandma - ah, the quirks of the East Coast!

    I spoke to other members of my family who, while all saying that they can't make the choice for me, agree that my Grandmother is in remarkable health for someone her age (86). No one has a crystal ball, but there's also no signs of her or Grandpa seriously deteriorating. So we're going to go ahead as planned for Oct 2015. It helped a lot that my Aunt said she'd do whatever it took to get my grandmother there.

    Thank you all for your warm and thoughtful responses.

    Funny side-note: when my FI and I started spitballing about how we'd plan a wedding in 3 months, we actually got excited. Cut the budget, go someplace cheaper, and get this marriage thing done! Even after we determined Grandma would be okay, we mulled about moving the wedding up anyway. But we don't want to inconvenience people who have to travel (which is more than half the guest list) just for poops and chuckles. 

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  • BelthilBelthil member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer
    edited July 2014
    When H and I first got engaged my grandmother made a comment to my mother that she was sure it would be a lovely day and it was a pity that she wouldn't be there to witness it. Not only was she alive but she was able to attend and enjoyed herself. She's made those comments for awhile, that she'd be gone by her birthday, christmas, etc. I think she's facing her mortality and doesn't have a very optimistic perspective. It's possible that she wanted us to be prepared in case something did happen. I can't say if that's the case here. I like PP's idea to visit her sometime soon and also that your aunt is determined to get her there! eta: I did put paragraphs in
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  • I feel you!  It's looking like my grandmother won't be able to attend our wedding in October and I'm totally bummed about it.  (How weird that I'm from the D.C. area too, NoVA to be specific, and my grandmother lives in Ohio?!)  

    She is my dad's mother and my dad died four summers ago, so I feel even closer to her now that it's like she's this link to memories about my dad.  Her health has been declining (she just turned 90).  But I do like someone else's idea of skyping with her on the day of the wedding, so maybe I will arrange that to happen for when I am getting ready in the morning so she can see me in my dress, etc.  Of course who knows if she'll be able to see the computer screen since her eyesight is pretty poor.  Haha.  

    Sorry I don't have much advice, but I empathize. 
  • MegEn1MegEn1 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    I feel you!  It's looking like my grandmother won't be able to attend our wedding in October and I'm totally bummed about it.  (How weird that I'm from the D.C. area too, NoVA to be specific, and my grandmother lives in Ohio?!)  

    She is my dad's mother and my dad died four summers ago, so I feel even closer to her now that it's like she's this link to memories about my dad.  Her health has been declining (she just turned 90).  But I do like someone else's idea of skyping with her on the day of the wedding, so maybe I will arrange that to happen for when I am getting ready in the morning so she can see me in my dress, etc.  Of course who knows if she'll be able to see the computer screen since her eyesight is pretty poor.  Haha.  

    Sorry I don't have much advice, but I empathize. 
    Thanks, I appreciate!

    Also I'm giving you a friendly side-eye as a fellow NoVA-ian with grandparents in Ohio. WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!

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  • My DH and I live in New Orleans, but neither of us are originally from here or have any family here.  We originally going to have our wedding here, but my mom offered to host it at her house (she has an awesome patio/backyard) if we wanted to have it in CA (where I am originally from).

    We took my mom up on her offer and part of my decision had to do with my grandma. She is no longer comfortable traveling by air and would not have been able to come if we'd had the wedding in NOLA.

    I see you all have decided to continue with the current plans. I really hope they are feeling up to coming out.  Are there any relatives nearby who could travel with them?  That might make them more comfortable.

    But, even if they can't come, the other PPs have some good ideas for still including them from afar.  I'm sure you will have a special and wonderful day, however things turn out :).

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