@melizabe: I have an opinion, and then I also have a story.
I agree with other pp, in that you should ask your dad what he thinks. Probably the best way to go about things would be to plan a wedding for sooner rather than later, in town.
My Mother-In-Law had cancer 3 times. This last time, for about 2 years. We really thought she was going to get better. We got engaged in late December, and started planning. We wanted to get married in Mexico, an idea Mother-In-Law had voiced support for when she was doing better. 3 weeks into planning we were about to book our resort… And then we all learned that her cancer would be terminal this time. I hated to bring up anything wedding, but I really needed to get her opinion on what we should do… So I offered to cut the guest list drastically and have it in town instead.
She said no, not to do that because we didn’t know how much time she had. (My plan was to get married at their house before leaving for mexico, and arranging dinner for just our immediate families so that she could be there.) So then I planned our wedding while Mother-In-Law was wasting away. 🙁 I felt like such an asshole, but Mother-In-Law insisted. She passed away 6 weeks later, on the day we received our invitations.
Luckily for me, I had an opportunity to explain to the rest of the family that I was carrying on with the whole destination plan with MIL’s blessing… I was imagining how bad the whole thing would look from the outside. Mother-In-Law was a verrrry straight forward/direct/pragmatic lady, so this didn’t surprise anyone. Her sister, my auntie in law later thanked me for explaining what was going on. (I was relieved at this, because I wasn’t sure I should bring it up and I thought maybe she already knew.) Then auntie in law sat beside me at the funeral and we cried our eyes out together.
DH and I had been together for 8 years at this point, so I was close with his parents and devastated to lose her. It is difficult to handle cancer and wedding at the same time, I imagine doubley so when it’s your own parent that is sick.
But it can be done.
You can involve your dad remotely through the process. Like, when I went dress shopping Mother-In-Law was too ill to come so I took sneaky pictures and sent her emails showing the dresses and asked her what she thought. I think this kind of thing might be a nice distraction.
I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. If you haven’t gotten a really bad prognosis yet, he may just pull through and go on to live for many more years. I hope he does. 🙂