(Closed) How much celebrating is too much when parent is terminally ill ?

posted 4 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
299 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Stuggling with the same thing, only wedding in less than a month.

My suggestion, get him involved even if it a small deal.  Of course not overwhelming him.  It sounds like this is something that give him to live for and a goal. 


I had cancer several years ago, I got sick of thinking about cancer.  I actually went to a college and career bible study at another church because I wanted to not think about cancer.  I didn’t tell anyone so I could be “normal” for a couple hours each week.

I think you are doing amazing thing!  My prayers for you and your family during this time!



Post # 4
14495 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Do it big!  His dad wouldn’t want to have a small somber ceremony because of him,  that would cause nothing but guilt.  Do everything as you normally would. Let his dad enjoy every moment with it. He’d rather go out knowing he saw his son happily and joyfully married than to be apart of a sad joining that only is only put together to remind him of leaving yall.  

Congrats on your engagement and welcome to the Hive! I’m sorry for your impending loss. 

Post # 5
9771 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

What unkind words?  I give you lots of credit in the world for pushing up the wedding, and for realizing that people are more important than having the exact wedding you were planning.  I planned a wedding reception with all the trimmings in just months for a very similar reason. 

 I would say that you can’t go wrong if you consider Future Father-In-Law, his wishes, capabilities, and any limitations he’ll have.   Is an evening party going to be too tiring?  Then do an afternoon brunch or lunch reception.  Too many people exhausting or overwhelming for him? Limit the numbers to something more manageable. .  Will  loud music bother him? Tone it down.   He wants you to have  the reception you were planning to have?  If it’ll make him happy, go ahead.  

Post # 6
554 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@Thesoon2bee:  my heart goes out to you and your families. 

Celebrate as much as you, Dear Fiance, and Future Father-In-Law  want! Throw in all the bells and whistles and run with it, or let Fiance run with it if he wants. It sounds like you both know what’s REALLY important, and that’s family, and a wedding is a celebration of joining together as family. Take care of yourselves, and try not to get too overwhelmed or stressed out. 

Are you worried what other people might think of you having a big wedding knowing Future Father-In-Law is terminally ill? If you are, don’t. I think most people will get why you’re choosing to celebrate and if there are any naysayers…ignore them. 


Post # 7
2481 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’m very sorry to hear about your dad. But as for the wedding, go for it, is my advice. Don’t downscale it because actually, your father will feel all the worse if he thinks you are compromising because of his health.

I can say this with some experience since my Darling Husband was diagnosed with a late stage cancer last year. He was totally adamant that neither our wedding or my son’s wedding be altered in any way on the basis of his illness. One thing he hates more than the hated cancer itself, is thinking that he has upset anyone’s joyful plans or that compromises have been made because he is ill. Normality is the key for us although we tend to call it “new normality” nowadays. 

Now sure, it may well be that you have to take your father’s illness into account on the day. He may well be very tired or have a lot less stamina and quite probably, some aspects of his mobility will be affected. But trust me, he will take extra joy in knowing that you and your Fiance are having the wedding that you planned. 

Nobody whose opinion is worth hearing would ever comment negatively on your plans to have a big wedding in these circumstances.

Post # 8
2117 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - Baby #2 due Sep 2017

That’s really sad 🙁 I’m so sorry for your fiance.

I’m not terminally ill, so I might be wrong, but if my child were getting married I’d be so, so happy and I honestly don’t think it’d be disrespectful to have a big, happy wedding day. A big wedding is hardly rubbing it in his face that you have your whole life ahead of him, in fact, it is a day proving that his son is going to be secure and happy in his future without him.

“(He) had steam come out of his ears when I suggested city hall”: I think that quote in itself means that he wants you to go ahead and plan the wedding as you would have, despite you moving up the date.

Good luck planning!!

Post # 9
231 posts
Helper bee

Oh wow – that’s horrible. My condolences to both you and Fiance.

Why don’t you ask your Future Father-In-Law what he would feel most comfortable with? Would he rather have something small or have a big wedding? He’d probably be happy to be included in the discussions.

Post # 10
173 posts
Blushing bee

@Thesoon2bee:  It sounds like your Future Father-In-Law wants you to have the wedding you want.

FWIW, I would wait until Future Father-In-Law gets his treatment plan/schedule before moving the date, especially if you have out of town guests. Having a big (not meaning tons of people if that’s not what you want, but a special out-of-the-ordinary-holiday/birthday-party-routine) special event that is NOT about his cancer to look forward to at the end of/during a later round of his treatment will probably be very good for him.

Have you asked Future Father-In-Law, Future Mother-In-Law, and Fiance which parts of the day are most important to them? Future Father-In-Law may want to read a blessing during the ceremony and not care for the receiption, or may really want to dance with Future Mother-In-Law at the reception.

Lastly, if your Fiance has fortunately not had to deal with serious/terminal illness in the family before, be prepared for him maybe not to be 100% focused on the wedding. People cope in different ways. Also, if it’s possible, give a bit more weight to your IL’s guest/invite list, or be willing to go a little bigger on the head count if you are able to. This will be a chance for Future Father-In-Law, Future Mother-In-Law, and FI to spend time with his friends and family for a very happy occasion that will not have anything to do with cancer.

Post # 11
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I’ve had a few friends go through this. One in particular had an extremely intimate ceremony at her father’s bedside in the hospital (they did this as soon as they realized he would not make it … he passed away during the ceremony). They kept their original wedding date and “got married” in front of all their friends and family along with the reception a few months later. It was an emotional event but knew this was what her father would have wanted. In the jewish religion you don’t usually cancel a wedding for a death – “marriage is of the fabric of life itself, and life inevitably must go on” I would do what your Fiance and you feel is most appropriate in your hearts. 

My prayers go out to your Fiance, your families, and you. 


Post # 12
1890 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@Thesoon2bee:  your poor fiance, what a terribly painful thing to go through. It sounds like your soon to be father in law wants to see his beloved son marry the love of his life and be happy. I would ask him to make sure – but I am betting he does not want to see a somber ceremony where everyone is already grieving for him, but would rather see a happy celebration and perhaps be distracted for a few hours.

A young (30s) colleague of my mother’s recently passed away from cancer, and all he wanted when he was given the final terminal diagnosis is to be distracted – he actually came to a party a few weeks before he passed, he had an oxygen tank and was suffering but he was also so happy to just feel normal and laugh with his former team for a few hours.

Huge to you both!

Post # 13
1558 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@Thesoon2bee:  I would celebrate. Celebrate that he is still with you and gets to share in your celebration.

Post # 14
1650 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

@Thesoon2bee:  I’m so sorry for your guys. My family has had to deal with similar situations twice – the first was when my Great-Grandpa suddenly died 2 weeks before my Grandparents were married and the second was when my Aunt killed herself 3 months before her youngest brother’s wedding. It completely sucks.

I’ve found that weddings really do provide a great distraction in trying times. It’s something so positive and happy to think about for a lot of people. I’d suggest that you and Fiance decide what type of wedding that you guys want. Do you guys want a small wedding or do you want a bigger one? I know Future Father-In-Law wants a smaller wedding, but that decision should be up to you and Fiance.

As for how much celebrating – I saw celebrate as much as you guys want. You’re celebrating the fact that the two of you are starting your lives together and you’re also celebrating the amazing fact that his Dad was able to be there to witness it. That is always something to celebrate!

If you guys want, you can always see about including your Future In-Laws with the planning – for instance, maybe Future Father-In-Law really wants to help plan part of the ceremony. Or maybe he has a favorite song he’d love to hear played during the ceremony or reception. You can also consider serving one of his favorite dishes as well.

And if you’d like to honor your own father, you can do some of the same things as well. I’ve seen a lot of really sweet ways to honor loved ones on this site – I think my favorite was having a picture of the person made into a charm and hung from the bouquet. . . that way, they were able to “walk down the aisle” with the Bride.


Post # 15
7219 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

@Thesoon2bee:  I’m so sorry about your Future Father-In-Law. I think it’s great that you are moving up your date so he can celebrate with you. And you should REALLY celebrate. It’s important to have as many moments of joy with him as you can. 

Listen- my cousin had his wedding the day before his grandfather’s funeral. The whole family had gone through two weeks of grandpa in hospice and then the week of planning the funeral. My cousin seriously considered postponing, but he knew his grandpa was happy about them getting married. We had a GREAT time and it was such a beautiful day of happiness and love before the funeral. It was amazing. 

I say celebrate the hell out of your wedding. 

Post # 16
6015 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

Go as big as you can.  There is no such thing as too much celebrating!! You ALL will need something to look forward to, and the planning will keep you busy.  What a great future daughter in law he is getting.  


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