My Parents Aren’t Coming To My Wedding

Dealing with being "the girl whose parents didn't come to the wedding"

Q: My parents and I have had little to no contact for the past two and a half years, and there’s a very good chance they won’t be attending our wedding celebration. In a practical sense, I’m glad they won’t be there, but I’m having a hard time dealing with the idea that I’m going to be the girl whose parents don’t come to her wedding. Have there been any posts dealing with that? The closest I could find was the one about not choosing between relatives… but that’s hard to do when you yourself comprise one of the “sides.”


A: Dear Anon,

This is some hard stuff, there’s no way around that. I ache to have something perfect to say to make it easier, but I don’t think those perfect words exist.

I do, however, want to make sure that you’re not slipping into some easy mistakes. Don’t blame yourself, for starters. When relationships erode and you get to the point where someone is missing a big life event, it’s easy to think, “What should I have done differently?” or “How can I fix this?” But, no matter what’s transpired, there’s a point at which your parents are deciding for themselves not to come.

It’s near impossible to not be impacted long-term by conflict with our parents. But that doesn’t mean it defines who you are. You’re not “The Girl Whose Parents Didn’t Come to Her Wedding.” No matter how sharp and painful this is right now, there will be so many other things that define your wedding day, let alone who you are, for the rest of your life.

Don’t beat yourself up.

Don’t box yourself in.

I know this may be hard to internalize, especially from some stranger on the Internet. You’re facing a hard thing, the emotion is raw. That’s okay. Because it might help (and make you feel less alone), I asked Lucy to chime in with her own thoughts from a similar experience:

There were few points during the planning process where I entertained the notion that my mother would attend our wedding, but I tried to invite her despite our estrangement. She declined in the week leading up to the wedding, while in the meantime her open invitation led other family members refuse to attend because of their own conflicts with her. In hindsight, I know I only offered her an invitation because, emotionally, I didn’t want to be the “girl without a mom” on her wedding day. Would I invite her if I had to do it all again? Logically I say no, but emotionally I still say yes. It’s an impossibly hard thing to fight against—that fervent hope that, maybe, this time your parents will show up for you. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s a hope you have to talk yourself away from.

Practically, I would suggest this. If there is some specific event or task that you are worried about within the wedding that’s going to highlight you as “The Girl Whose Parents Didn’t Come to Her Wedding,” then set your mind on altering it for the better. You don’t have to walk down the aisle by yourself, you can have an uncle-niece dance, you can fill family portrait time with silly friend photos. For me, this meant making portraits with my “surrogate moms”—my stepmom, aunt, and grandmother—a priority after big group photos were done. Where your parents might fail, put your trust into those loved ones who have supported you and let them fill the gaps.

Team Practical, how do you cope when parents distance themselves during the wedding?

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

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  • AndThenISawStars

    This really hits home for me. I haven’t spoken to my family for 3 years now. While I know that that estrangement is the best for me in the long-term, the pain that I feel holds me back in my relationship. I feel myself tense up when I think about becoming engaged, hosting a wedding, etc. I feel like I don’t deserve a celebration, because engagements and weddings are all about families. I don’t have a family anymore, and I don’t want to draw attention to that fact. Sometimes I tell myself that I cannot move onto that next stage of myself until things are made right with my family (but at the same time I know that things won’t ever be good.) I hear ya.

    • Meg Keene

      Oh, so much love. I just want to float the idea of family of choice by you. Sometimes we need to create a family that loves us in the way we need to be loved.

    • Lawyerette510

      To build on Meg’s comment about a family of choice that you build, that’s what engagement, wedding and marriage is about– building a family with this person you’ve chosen to do that with. Plus, I’m sure that when you go through that process, while you may not have blood relations by your side, you will have family. They will be the family you have chosen and that have chosen you as you’ve built your life and as you move to another step of continuing to build your life and your family of choice. There’s some serious baggage between my blood family and myself, and some ties that have had to be cut and some others that have had to be lengthened, but in the process I have built for myself a family of choice that is full of healthy, loving, supportive relationships.

      I think about a card my mom sent me once that said “thank god for dogs, as they are the family we get to choose” or something like that, and while I love my dog and he is part of the family, it’s just simply not true. We get to choose our families: officially as to who we marry, and unofficially as to the “sisters” “brothers” “aunties” “uncles” and even “parents” that we find as we move through life. At our wedding, I will only have 4 blood relatives there, but I am having a shower thrown by “aunties,” a bachelorette weekend thrown by “sisters” and other “sisters” helping prepare food, coordinate details etc. My blood relatives are guests who I am glad can be there, but aren’t going above and beyond for it. I chose all the people who are helping me with my wedding as if they were blood, and I’m so glad that I got to, because the support they give me is so much healthier than what I had from the majority of my blood relatives.

  • light0a0candle

    My mother left home when she was sixteen and neither of her parents were invited to the wedding, it took my sister and myself being born to suddenly decide they wanted to be a part of our lives. I think it was horribly sad for mum, but she leaned on my fathers parents for support and experienced a lot of love from them. My Dads father walked her down the aisle. I think she just focused on embracing her new family, not whether or not she would reconcile with her parents. I think her parents are the ones with regrets, not her, and that’s how it should be.

    • Meg Keene

      “I think her parents are the ones with regrets, not her, and that’s how it should be.”

      Tears. And yes, having seen this play out from start to finish now, that seems to be how it tends to end. As it should be.

  • Violet

    One thing I’ve learned full-force by marrying someone with a distant parent is how it is NOT about the offspring. It is about the parent. My partner was not “the guy whose dad didn’t come to his wedding.” (Although I know at times it felt that way to him, and I honor that. Truly.) Actually, it’s that his dad is “a man who didn’t go to his son’s wedding.” I think there’s a distinction. Quite frankly, people with distant/abusive/harmful parents are just innocent bystanders. We can’t choose our parents, we can’t control their behavior, but the pain and the helplessness often live on despite knowing this fact.

    Lucy’s advice here was actually spot on in our case. His dad aside, my partner has love and support from other people, and this translated to wedding-related tasks/signs of love.

    • Meg Keene

      “Actually, it’s that his dad is “a man who didn’t go to his son’s wedding.” I think there’s a distinction. Quite frankly, people with distant/abusive/harmful parents are just innocent bystanders. We can’t choose our parents, we can’t control their behavior, but the pain and the helplessness often live on despite knowing this fact.”


    • Violet, thanks for sharing this distiction. It helps me with my own (different) situation and how I have been thinking about it to myself… I need to work on this.

  • Stella

    I didn’t have my father at my wedding, in the end it just wasn’t the right for anyone for him to be there. This, from Whitman really helped me: “I have learned that to be with those I like is enough”.

    • Excellent quote. I may put that on my wall.

    • CH

      My good friend didn’t have her mother at her wedding…without any regrets. She believed being invited to the wedding was a privilege and that her mother had sacrificed that privilege. It was the right choice.

      And that quote is the best.

    • ART

      I love that :) That so sums up my family/”family”

    • Jennie

      Also didn’t have my dad there. Most people at the wedding knew the circumstances and no one commented on his absence to me that day or any after. I do not have any regrets, like Stella said, it just wasn’t right for anyone for him to be there.

  • Alynae

    Be gentle with yourself. I have to trust that you have good reason to not have your parents in your life at this time, and while a wedding is a milestone moment, it is stil justl a moment in life. I haven’t spoken to my mother in nearly 8 years now. I felt a lot of guilt about this and finally came to peace about when when I realized that while most women would want their mothers there to greet first grandchildren, to adjust a veil before the aisle, or to hold small hands in Disneyland that I in fact would not want my mother there for that or any of my other big moments in life. Sadly, my life is better, and calmer without her in it and when I gave myself permission to feel that I also gave myself permission to be free from the guilt of including her just to say I did it. You won’t be the girl who’s parents didn’t come to her wedding. You will be the girl who took care of herself and her family in a way that was best for you.

    • Oh, yes. I am still (slowly) coming to terms/ sitting with the thought that, should I ever have kids, my mom is not someone I want them to meet. Hard stuff.

      • Alynae

        Very. It’s an incredibly hard thing to realize and rationalize. But I realized I would never trust her to not treat my future babies like she has treated me. And I would demand better for them. Which probably means I should demand better for myself. And I (and my someday babies) have a lot of good people to love me.

      • SM

        Last year, my SO finally decided to cut ties with his parents. While I’m supportive of his decision because of the impact they have had on his mental health, it’s very hard to come to terms with the idea that (assuming things continue as they are) our future children won’t know their grandparents. I don’t know them very well, and for me it’s difficult to reconcile my beliefs and assumptions about parent-child relationships (largely based on my own relationship with my very supportive parents) and the reality of my SO’s relationship with his parents. On the one hand, I want our future children to know my SO’s family and culture, and on the other hand I don’t them to grow up around people whose love is conditional. Rationally, I know that the second part is more important than the first, but it’s still hard.

      • KimBee

        I am right there with you. It has been really hard realizing that I actually do not want my mother at my wedding. Unraveling our idealized vision of what we hoped our parents would be and the reality of what they really are is so complicated. I feel like it is really easy to hold on to the idea that things will change, that our parents will show up for us, that they’ll suddenly be attuned to our needs. And, it’s the biggest bummer to realize that there may not be room for your parents in a a world that is healthy and happy for you.

        • dg

          “And, it’s the biggest bummer to realize that there may not be room for your parents in a a world that is healthy and happy for you.” yes, yes, yes

    • Meg Keene

      “You won’t be the girl who’s parents didn’t come to her wedding. You will be the girl who took care of herself and her family”

  • So this isn’t even close the the same thing in terms of scale, but my stepmother (who I was at one time very close with) decided she wasn’t coming to our wedding about a week before the event. Things had deteriorated so far at that point that I was at least partially relieved I wouldn’t have to deal with her drama on my wedding day, but it still felt like a slap in the face and it was painful to explain to everyone else.
    I think the key, that was mentioned above, is that you can’t absorb all the blame. Sometimes issues are just bigger than us and there’s nothing we can do to magically fix them. Try to focus your energy on the fact that you are marrying someone you love (!) and that other people you love will be there to support you.

  • Cara

    I’ve to cope with the idea that my dad wouldn’t come to my (not) wedding. He even lied to my grandfather and said he didn’t get the invitation. I can’t imagine the added agony of coping with the added “supposed-to-be” around mom as well. One thing that helped was really fully allowing myself to embrace what a huge relief it was going to be to not have him there and to not be wondering whether he was going to come. Why did he deserve all of that emotional energy that I could be devoting to my fiancé, friends, family, etc, or god forbid — me?! I allowed myself to feel the weight lifted and not feel guilty about it. “Where’s the father?” Well, he’s chosen not to be a part of this wonderful young woman’s life. And maybe someday, he’ll change his mind. My fiance would remind me all the time that a wedding is just a day, and it doesn’t represent the culmination of all of one’s relationships for eternity. Because of good advice like that, I also would remind myself how exciting it was going to be to be starting my own family with someone I knew truly loved me and respected me. I hemmed and hawed about whether to have a “walk-down-the-aisle” replacement. Very personal stuff, but I’ll say that for me, it felt right to walk my own damn self down the aisle. The symbolism of walking in there alone (the way it had been for ten years) and walking out side-by-side with my partner really meant something to me.

  • Jules

    I can’t say ‘Thank you’ enough for posting and responding to this question!
    As someone who has been estranged from their father for almost 3 years with their wedding on the horizon, I considered eloping and foregoing a celebration with everyone that truly matters and whom I love because I felt to afraid of being “The Bride With No Dad.” I really felt alone, not knowing anyone else facing a similar situation. We are undoubtedly strong women to have to deal with our various unfortunate circumstances; we should all be proud we’re consciously choosing to surround ourselves with people who are wholly loving and supportive.

    • YetAntherMegan

      I’m in the same boat, if that helps at all. I haven’t had any communication with my father in about 4 years (honestly, I don’t remember when the last contact was exactly) and haven’t seen him in 5 years. Shortly after getting engaged a year and a half ago, I briefly considered reaching out. But then I realized my mental health and building my new family was more important than reaching out because I was “supposed to”. He and my mom and stepdad know many of the same people. He might know I’m engaged or that I’m getting married this summer, or he might not. Some might say I’m not giving him the opportunity to do be there or make things right. I feel like he made that decision years ago. It really sucks and I fully recognize that parts of the day are going to be hard. Lots of days are going to be hard. I’ve decided to take the years of pain and use them as a lesson to make sure I don’t put my future kids through this.

  • Anon

    So, so many hugs to you. I hope you’re able to come to a decision that’s best for you and your partner.

    I’m dealing with a different, but somewhat similar situation: my dad may not be able to attend my wedding for health reasons. He has early onset Alzheimer’s and is VERY stubborn and hard to deal with right now, and lives across the country. He’s also divorced- from my mother AND his second wife. The only way he’d be able to attend is if a family member watches him and travels with him 24/7, which is not really financially/emotionally feasible for anyone on his side of the family. Despite all this, I’m on relatively good terms with him, though I haven’t always been.

    I’m just struggling with what’s really best for him, me and my fiancé, and both our families. I know my Dad really WANTS to come, but I also know it would be a huge hardship on other family members who have already sacrificed so much for this wedding. I want them (and me) to be able to enjoy the day without having to babysit a full-grown adult who is prone to wandering off, angry outbursts, and general confusion. But how do you tell your dad you can’t figure out how to get him to your own wedding? How do you choose between the guilt of not getting him there and the guilt of burdening the rest of your family?

    • Sarah

      My great-aunt had Alzheimers, and although I was quite young when she died and didn’t spend much time with her, I still remember the impact it had on my grandmother and parents who cared for her. Alzheimers is HARD. I’m afraid I don’t have any answers for you, but just wanted to say I’m sorry to hear you have to face these decisions. Sending lots of hugs.

    • Jessica Nelson

      I have never been in your situation, but my grandma’s health issues will probably crop up during the wedding day and it makes me very nervous — she’s on oxygen but otherwise is very mobile, and for some reason she can never quite predict when her oxygen tank will run out and she’ll have to switch to another one. This means that the time when she has to switch to a new tank is usually a crisis moment where she has to get access to a new tank QUICKLY or else risk passing out, etc etc. When she visits it’s usually my mom or I who are helping her with this, but we’re going to make sure my two uncles are 100% on top of this job, mostly so that she can enjoy the day but also because the thought of her having issues with her oxygen during my wedding just makes me sooooo panicky. When she’s out of oxygen in her tank, it basically means she’s slowly suffocating and…ugh, it’s just scary.

      Annnyway, if my uncles weren’t around for some reason, I would seriously considering hiring a nurse’s aide for the day to follow her around and help her out. Is there anyone similar you could hire? It might cost only $100 – $200 and it would allow your dad to attend while giving everyone peace of mind. (I guess you’d still have to find a family member willing to travel with him to get to the actual wedding.) My friends who became nurses worked these types of jobs in high school/college, so they had experience with elderly patients but wouldn’t charge as much as a trained nurse. (If you happen to be getting married in Minnesota let me know and I can suggest some people!) Even if you have to pay $30/hour that’s still not going to be an insurmountable expense, and I think it’d be worth it to have your dad be able to attend.

    • MommaCat

      This is rough. I was “lucky” in that my mom was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s about two years after my wedding, although I can remember some things she did that seemed odd at the time that I’m now sure were symptoms. Basically whenever we take Mom anywhere, my siblings and I tag-team taking care of her. Is that possible for your family? Skype might also be a possibility, with a nurse keeping him around the computer for the vows. Virtual internet stranger hugs, it’s a lot to deal with.

  • Fiona

    This is great advice, and very complex for me to read. The absense of a parent on that special day is so painful in whatever form it occurs.
    My dad won’t be at my wedding, but not because he’s not invited. I know that he would love to be there with all of his heart, but he died suddenly 10 years ago. For me, there are “father” roles in the wedding, and there are “father” people who have in small roles stepped up to be the dads in my life since mine is no longer present. I’ve asked one to give me away (with my mom on the other side, of course) and another to do the father-daughter dance. They’re doing it in honor of my dad and for me because it feels right to have these men there.

  • Aubry

    Interestingly when I read this I thought “oh that must be hard, I wish i had something to add” and didn’t actually realize that indeed my father will not be at the wedding, so I should be able to relate. I believe this initial reaction excludes me from offering much active advice as I am obviously at a different place than you about his attendance. Indeed I am going to great lengths to ensure there is no social media or other online clues that would lead him to know the date or location of my wedding.

    However, I can relate to people’s reactions to his absence. Everyone wants to know what replacement will be walking me down the aisle ( i’ll walk my own damn self thankyouverymuch) and about the silly dance and stuff. Its just that there are traditions and a script people generally follow in weddings. And when there is something missing from that square hole people wonder how are you going to fit a round peg in there? Try not to take it personally. Especially when people who should really know better ask if they will be coming. They don’t mean to make you feel bad/mad/sad, i can almost assure it.

    • bummed

      Ditto about everything, including asking my brother to hide our invitation when my dad visited him, and the aisle/dance questions (and answers). My fiance is worried it will be weird for me when he’s dancing with his mom, I’m just glad I don’t have to dance to the song they picked. My mom said my stepdad wants to dance with me, and I told her that was fine but it can’t be an event that replaces a dance with my dad – I just don’t need or want that. It is indeed bizarre how people who KNOW what our relationship is like still want to know who’s going to fill the dad role at the wedding. As if I had anyone in a dad role during the rest of my life?

      I have so much sympathy for the LW, and it makes me feel oddly lucky (?) that I have decided not to have my dad attend, and not the other way around.

  • itsaprocess

    Offers of so many hugs to you. Our wedding was three weeks ago, and my mom wasn’t there. Her choice, not mine, and I’m still struggling with the emotions around that. Honestly, the nicest thing I did for myself during the planning process was give all of my close friends/ family the heads-up early on that this would be the case and letting them know that I just didn’t want to publicly deal with it, especially on my wedding day. These lovely people basically formed a human shield of love around me all night and made sure that a) I was happy and had everything I needed to get through that day and didn’t even realize that there was someone missing and b) that no distant relative/ friend got the chance to ask me awkward questions. We even had a signal in case I found myself in a conversation I didn’t want to have (tug an earring and someone just walks up and asks you to dance which, of course, you must go do and no one can call you rude because you’re the one in the white dress).

    It also helped to remind myself that chosen family is every bit as important and real as biological family, and that the women who went dress shopping with me and did my hair and were there for me through it all were every bit my sisters and mothers and aunts and anyone else I could ever need. This helped. It didn’t fix it, but it helped. If you can, lean on the family (broadly defined) that you have, and I bet you no one is going to think twice about anyone who isn’t there (especially not you).

    • NicoleT

      That’s so wonderful that you had a group like that. I can’t even begin to imagine what that human shield of love felt like.

    • It’s so amazing to feel people take care of us when we need it most. I am glad you had people you trusted around you taking care of you…

  • whencomebackbringpie

    While my mother did eventually attend our wedding, the build-up was wrought with stress and worry about whether she would make a huge deal about being near my father (and step-mother of 10 yrs, who she’d never met). The last time she had been near my dad was my university graduation, when she refused to go within 40ft of him and so I ran back and forth between them, wishing I could have just had one nice family photo.

    A couple of months before the wedding my mum decided to tell me on the phone (we live in different countries) that she had decided she wouldn’t attend my wedding. She said she’d been having nightmares about it and as soon as she decided not to go the nightmares stopped so it was obviously the right choice… she also said that since she knows she irritates me, it would just be better for me if she didn’t go at all and that I wouldn’t really miss her and then I wouldn’t be ‘annoyed’ by her on the day! I should also mention her young daughter was to be our flower girl and she was very excited about it.

    After about 3 hours of me crying and begging her to come she decided she would. At the time (pre-therapy, I now have some more coping skills) I had no clue how to deal this kind of fairly typical behaviour from her. I was so emotionally overwhelmed and upset I had no clue what to do. Even though she came, I have never really forgiven her (not that she has asked) for what she said. I was even kind of resentful of her trying to do motherly things at the wedding, like when she was missing the whole morning I was getting ready but finally appeared just in time to push aside my poor friend who was lacing up my dress, asking them “and who are you?”

    I’m afraid I don’t really have a ‘solution’ for you, but please know as others have said, that you are not going to be thought of as the girl whose parents are missing. It is they who are missing their child’s wedding. And as someone else mentioned, your wedding is not the peak of your lifelong relationships – not everything has to be in order by this day or else you’ve failed at life. There can be other opportunities to repair things if that’s what you choose to do. Hugs.

  • moz

    Can I suggest reading April and Thomas’ wedding graduate post from the archives? I can’t copy the link on my phone, but you can find it on a google search easily enough. April didn’t have anyone from her wedding present and her grad post is one of the very best.

    • SM

      Thanks for the recommendation. I found it and you’re right, its a great post! Here’s the link –
      Plus, the post has a lot of really beautiful comments. In fact, the one that really stood out at me was also by a Moz! (also you? :) ) …
      “There is something that only those of us who have a family like this can understand, how worried you can sometimes feel. You wonder ‘What does this say about me, that my family isn’t behind me?’ You sometimes feel like you’re coming into a relationship crippled, starting a new family with all this baggage. You are absolutely NOT. You are magnificent.”
      Something for me to remember every time I start to stress about what it means that my SO’s parents most likely won’t be at our wedding.

  • Emily

    My husband’s parents didn’t come to our wedding, not because of estrangement but illness and difficulty traveling. I don’t know if anyone asked where they were or why they weren’t there but if they did, I didn’t hear about it. It’s possible people just won’t ask.

  • I’m estranged from my dad, and so he and the majority of his side of the family is not invited to the wedding. It helps, a little, that my partner’s family is just his maternal side of the family.

    What helps me is focusing on who WILL be there. I kind of get in this headspace like Doctor Who series 5, with the cracks in the universe. I kind of just treat the situation like my dad and associated family members were sucked into a crack in the universe. It feels less like a loss (“My dad isn’t here”) and more like a non-issue.

    • Sharon M.

      I guess my estranged dad did me the favor of passing away before I had to deal with all the relatives on his side that would not attend my wedding if he did. My stepmother declined the invitation.

  • Valerie Day

    human shield of love. Yes. My mother is coming. I debating inviting her, and have looked for meaningful ways to include her. In the end, I think inviting her to come is a symbol to myself of hope that she might someday be a mother I want to involve again. But I’m also learning how she can undo me, and that I need my human shield of love in order to see her and involve her in any small way. P.S. I cant for the life of me get Disqus to work. Guest poster forever.

  • Bindi

    “Where your parents might fail, put your trust into those loved ones who have supported you and let them fill the gaps”

    This x1,000. Let the meaningful people in your life today be the meaningful people at your wedding.

  • EF

    due to a lot of misguided hope, I tried to reach out and include blood relatives I haven’t seen and hardly talked to for 5+ years right after getting engaged. one by one they are dropping out of coming to the wedding, and I wish I’d stayed free from inviting them in the first place. just this week my mom has started to suggest that she won’t come (my father is not coming, but that was clear from day 1 that I don’t want him there), but of course, she’s also explained how it’s completely my fault if she doesn’t come. Sigh. My extremely short-sighted younger brother has now decided he’s getting married in either august or december, knowing full well that immediate family members cannot afford to travel to both of our weddings (mine is in january, has been planned for the last 8 months or so). I know that my sisters are trying to figure out how to come to both, but ultimately, they’ll end up choosing him. As of now, I’m not sure that I’ll have a single blood relative there.
    What gutted me is my aunt and uncle, family members I’m closest too, deciding that they can’t travel to a cold weather region in january due to health. BUT they are coming to visit us in autumn instead, and since we were planning to do the legal ceremony ahead of time, they’ll get to be witnesses there. And that made things work out and is actually really delightful. So, maybe things will just work out overall. I don’t know.

    What I look forward to, though, is my two best friends, my men of honour, standing with me and being awesome. I look forward to the fact that rather than a hen night it’s going to be a bachelorette party with suiting up, drinking whiskey, and smoking cigars, and I have people who are already planning the even/super psyched to be there. So I have my people. Whether or not we share DNA is less important.

    • Daniella

      Just sending and hoping you have a fabulous time drinking whisky and suiting up! DNA is overrated.

      • Jess

        Not going to lie, if I had a bachelorette coming my way, I would hope that’s exactly how it would go.

  • Courtney

    We have a close family friend who married “the girl whose parents didn’t come to her wedding.” And even though I can’t know what it was like in her mind, to the rest of us, she was definitely NOT that girl. She was a beautiful bride, she was our friend’s lovely wife, and she was the girl who had a wonderful relationship with her in-laws. Other people might have advice about how to deal with your own thoughts, but I thought I’d offer that you shouldn’t worry about others’ thoughts. They’re there because they love you and support you – even the family and friends of your partner who might not know your story. The absence of the parents at this wedding was far from the focus.

  • Kate

    I’m sorry to read what you’re going through. I hope you remember joy and love on your wedding day, no matter how this situation works out.

    We were in a similar situation with my mother-in-law, and she did choose to attend our wedding, which came with its own host of troubles: my sister-in-law and her family spent the wedding “guarding” us against any unacceptable behavior her mother might cause, family who have loved us and supported us felt like they could not attend because she chose to come, and we felt we had to change some of the wording of our ceremony to head off potential conflict with her.

    There is no easy way to handle the situation you’re in, but I think that the advice to not beat yourself up is spot on. You have (I hope) people who love and support you involved in your life and your wedding – these are the people to focus on. Why? Because even if those people cannot physically attend your wedding, you know that they wish they could. Your wedding is not the most important day of your life, but it is a celebration of one of the most important commitments you’ll ever make. Being part of that celebration is a privilege.

  • Caitlin

    I’m facing a similar situation. While I don’t blame myself, I do want to have a relationship with this person at some point, but the absence of them at my wedding for no apparent reason is the emotional equivalent of a punch to the gut. I fear that I personally will never be able to recover and forgive them. I feel completely powerless, like I can only stand back and watch how something that will impact me for years unfolds. I don’t need a perfect relationship with this person, but their absence at my wedding makes me not want to have any relationship with them.

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