Wedding Woes

Wedding planning: terminally ill parent vs. global pandemic

I'll get straight to the point- I'm in quite a pickle to say the least. My fiance and I just got engaged and have not done any official wedding planning yet. Because of Covid-19, most brides are suggesting setting a wedding date farther in the future to ensure large gatherings will be safe. We thought September of 2021 would be a safe bet, however my father was recently diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of brain cancer and is terminal. Based on the statistics, there is about a 8-12% chance he will survive until Fall 2021, and even if he survives, patients with this form of cancer are often severely debilitated by neurological symptoms such as loss of memory, speech, vision, motor function, etc. For this reason, I am extremely anxious about waiting until Fall 2021 to get married, and I want more than anything for my dad to walk me down the aisle before his quality of life is severely compromised. However, my dad is so excited to celebrate with friends and family all together in one place, so I fear a small, intimate wedding would deprive him of that experience in his final days.

My question is: any advice on planning a wedding while a parent is terminally ill while still being Covid-compliant? 

Re: Wedding planning: terminally ill parent vs. global pandemic

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'll get straight to the point- I'm in quite a pickle to say the least. My fiance and I just got engaged and have not done any official wedding planning yet. Because of Covid-19, most brides are suggesting setting a wedding date farther in the future to ensure large gatherings will be safe. We thought September of 2021 would be a safe bet, however my father was recently diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of brain cancer and is terminal. Based on the statistics, there is about a 8-12% chance he will survive until Fall 2021, and even if he survives, patients with this form of cancer are often severely debilitated by neurological symptoms such as loss of memory, speech, vision, motor function, etc. For this reason, I am extremely anxious about waiting until Fall 2021 to get married, and I want more than anything for my dad to walk me down the aisle before his quality of life is severely compromised. However, my dad is so excited to celebrate with friends and family all together in one place, so I fear a small, intimate wedding would deprive him of that experience in his final days.

    My question is: any advice on planning a wedding while a parent is terminally ill while still being Covid-compliant? 
    I am so sorry for how awful this news is. That being said, I get wanting to have a larger event to celebrate, however this places your father at significant risk due to being immunocompromised. I would not take that risk personally. You are in an impossible situation and I’m sorry you have to weigh out the options like this. 


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  • Talk to your father!  The reason I say that is your wedding next year may be his fight's focus as a landmark.

    That said, backup plan, that you tell no one!!  Having lost a friend almost two years ago to the day from a brain tumor, the time leading up to when he went from the guy we knew, loved, and mobile to things taking their turn, I want you to have your contingency plan ready so at a moment's notice if you have to you're ready to go so you both still get to have the moment of him walking you down the aisle and the photographer to capture it!  If for some reason things take a turn, know that you can put an event together for all of your family and friends with every single vendor you need in the span of 3 days.  The only question is in regard to your specific state's requirements for marriage licenses and group/event size.  Start researching that part now!  Not to go too dark, but weddings and funerals utilize many of the same vendors (officiant, service/reception venue, caterer, baker, and florist) which is how you need to know that you can have the main vendors in a shortened window in a context that is familiar, but also realize that some things are going to need to be flexible if that's the case (i.e. flower, meal selections for example). 

    You are also not the first bride to come to the boards in this situation.  There have been several that their weddings happened in less than ideal medically involved situations.  One was married in the hospital and said she was grateful that decision was made at the time and never regretted not having her big wedding she'd originally planned for a second!  I think even the hospital staff helped toss together the essentials (one picked a bouquet of flowers from her garden, another brought a veil, chaplain performed the ceremony) with the VIP's there.  That's another aspect, get a list of names/phone numbers/email addresses put together now with the VIP's such that covid or not, you're ready to go.  Also, talk to some of your vendors as they'll likely offer you some insights (for example when their lightest days of the week are).  When it comes to your dress, know that bridal stores sell off the rack and places like David's you can walk in on Tuesday and have a fully altered dress for Friday or walk in-out on the same day with a dress.  Same goes for a suit.  

    Here's hoping your Dad is part of the 8-12% and proves all of the doctors 100% wrong because doctors don't know the power of the human spirit nor are they psychic!

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    short+sassy
  • Get married next week with just the two of you and your parents. What your dad is dreaming of isn’t possible. 
    banana468CharmedPammrsconn23OliveOilsMom
  • Get married next week with just the two of you and your parents. What your dad is dreaming of isn’t possible. 
    This.   I think what your dad is asking is not going to be possible due to his situation and the world at large.  Go with the next best thing and have an intimate wedding that can be hosted over Zoom so the good will and wishes can be exchanged virtually. 
    short+sassy
  • bubblyface19bubblyface19 Australia member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    Wow, I am so sorry this is a terrible situation to be in. 

    Personally, I would get married as soon as you can while your father has quality of life. He will cherish those memories for the rest of his life - although in the future he may not be able to communicate as easily, I am sure he will think back to a time when he walked his daughter down the aisle.

    I am not sure where you are in the world, but I hope you can have as many people as possible. Perhaps, you can have a smaller ceremony now, and have a larger ceremony next year when you can invite all your friends and extended family to celebrate (and if your dad can't make that one, he was there for the most important moment!). 
    short+sassyMNNEBride
  • I'm so sorry about your dad and this difficult situation. 

    Unfortunately, given the times we are living in, the big celebration your dad wants is not an option (nor is it safe for him). And at the end of the day, I'm sure that walking you down the aisle and being there at this important moment in your life, even if it isn't exactly the way you all wanted it to be, is what matters to him most. For that reason, I suggest having a small wedding as soon as possible so that your dad will still be able to enjoy the day. 
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    short+sassycharlotte989875MNNEBride
  • I’m with the others; get married now so your Dad can be there in a pandemic-size appropriate ceremony. It won’t be what he (or you) envisioned, nothing is these days! 

    So sorry that you’re having to make these choices, it’s definitely unfair. 
    MNNEBride
  • I'm so sorry to hear about your dad!  I agree with the other PPs.  I think you all should have a smaller wedding ceremony now, while your dad is still feeling fairly well.

    Plan for a larger Celebration of Marriage party next year when it will be safer to do so (at least we all hope!).  It will still be something for him to look forward to but, jic his healthy declines more rapidly, he was there for the most important part.  He walked his daughter down the aisle and watched her get married.  Those are memories you all will both always have.
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    charlotte989875MNNEBrideaisfora86
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