Etiquette

Parents might not be able to come... What would you do?

Sorry, not sure this is strictly an etiquette question but didn't know where else to put it!

We found out yesterday that both our dads might have to miss our wedding in April for medical reasons. His dad may be recovering from a surgery and unable to travel- they'd have been travelling overseas so his mom wouldn't be able to leave him- both would miss it. Mine is on a transplant list and could get called up at any time- he also would have needed to travel. This means we could end up with only one parent- my mom.

Of course we had no idea either dad was going to be sick when we booked the wedding last November.

The majority of guests are out of town and have already booked their travel. A lot are travelling overseas for 1-2 weeks so it's not just domestic flights and a couple nights hotel that might be transferrable. We have also booked and paid deposits for absolutely everything now.

It just seems wrong to think about going ahead without 3 parents. At the same time, if we move it to a later date, we'll lose thousands in deposits and be going ahead without all our friends and other family who won't be able to do another trip another time to the same place.

Just wondering what other people would do in this situation because it doesn't seem like there's any obvious right thing to do...

Re: Parents might not be able to come... What would you do?

  • Well, I would hope for the best at this point, and prepare for the alternative.  We were able to stream our wedding live online for people who couldn't make it to our wedding.  That might be an option for you too.  We used ustream.tv


  • I agree with Snippy. I think the best you can do is hope & pray, and make a backup plan. Lots of people have done the online streaming, which is really easy to do. If one of them is not OOT, and they happen to be in the hospital/recovering that day, you could always make a special trip to see them between the ceremony and reception.
  • Agreed. If you can't do the online thing, then have someone videotape or if you are having a videographer, that works, too. They can watch it when they are well.
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  • I was at a wedding this weekend where the groom's grandfather could not make it for medical reasons but had originally planned to go; groom is close to him too.  The groom didn't know this had been done but his parents arranged for a taped message to be played during the reception from his grand father wishing them well and saying how sorry he was that he couldn't be there; it was really nice, most of the girls in the room were crying. :-)

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  • I am very sorry to hear about your situation and hope for the best for your FI and your parents.  I know that it is not the same as having them be there, but online streaming your wedding could allow them to watch your special day in real time and no matter where they are physically located their thoughts and hearts will be with you that day. 
    I knew someone who's mom was diagnosed with agressive cancer right before her wedding and was home on hospice.  She and her husband went to her house earlier to make sure she got the first look at her little girl as a bride.  It doesn't sound like you can physically go see your dad the day of before the ceremony, but you could set up a video chat with just him that morning so he can see what a stunning bride his little girl is and share his good wishes before the ceremony.
  • i know if you were my child, id want you to proceed with your plans.  its not like you intentionally shceduled your wedding knowing about tehse surgeries in advance.  things come up.
  • Any chance these gentlemen live in the same town and you can get them in a room together?  If so, you could have a civil ceremony a few weeks/days before the scheduled wedding with all four parents present.  Then you could have a vow renewal or religious service or just a reception/party on your regularly scheduled wedding date. 

  • That is a tough situation, but it still sounds like "maybe"s at this point.  It seems like you're only option is to continue on as planned.  If you tried to move the wedding or cancel now, not only do you risk losing thousands, you risk your guests losing money.  Not everyone that books travel gets a transferable or refundable ticket because they're usually more expensive, so you can't really assume that your guest would be able to easily change their travel plans.

    I think you should talk it over with your parents but it sounds like you should continue on as planned and just hope for the best.
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  • I would move up the wedding myself then keep the original date as a renewal or soemthing like that
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  • I'd move the wedding UP while both dads ARE able to attend, like the week after Christmas or the week after New Years or even the Sunday of MLK weekend in January (I went to a wedding on that Sunday a few years ago, and I understand that the bride's family got a very very good deal on everything because no one schedules weddings on that weekend).

    And about this:
    >>if we move it to a later date, we'll lose thousands in deposits

    I really wouldn't fret that. 
    You could see if those vendors could do their jobs on your new date, which is likely if you switch to any of the dates I mention above - because few people get married on the weekend before or after Christmas, etc. 
    And then they could pick up another job on your original date, because it's so far in the future. 
    Obviously you would explain everything to the vendors, so they would know that you aren't changing the date on the contract because you think the weather will be nicer or something.  You are changing the date on the contract because your dad and FI's dad are quite ill, and the wedding must move up.

    And you have included a paragraph worrying about your OOT guests.  Really?  Your parents and FI's parents should rank above people who don't even live near you and aren't involved in your lives.
  • Thanks for the advice everyone. I am looking into the streaming idea- sounds like a great idea.

    The logistics here make it too hard to try to schedule an earlier civil ceremony. The dads live in different countries so there's no way of everyone in a room together if both are sick.

    Just hoping for the best...
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