Will Not Attend

I have mentioned previously my concern that my 93-year-old grandmother will not be able to make the journey from Florida to Savannah for the wedding. Well, the other day I came home to this:


Personal photo

She included a very sweet note but said her “age and feebleness” would not allow her to make the trip. Although I’ve had this in the back of my mind, seeing it on paper made it too real. I now need to think of a way to include something of hers in my ensemble, but I do not know how to coordinate that with her when she is difficult to speak with on the phone. Maybe I can write her a letter and ask her to send me a piece of lace or a handkerchief. I would love something to wrap around my bouquet if possible.

Gram isn’t the only Bicycle family member who will be absent. A few months ago my aunt mentioned to me that she and my uncle have had a very difficult year financially and that only my uncle (my father’s brother) would be able to travel from Miami to Savannah. She wrote this to me in an email and I didn’t even respond because I thought for sure that wasn’t going to be the case. Well, once invitations went out I got another email from her reiterating that plan. I do not want to be a financial burden on anyone, so I told her I understood and that we could all celebrate together as a family at Thanksgiving and that my uncle did not have to come if it was really such a burden. She quickly accepted and just like that, half of my family will not be at my wedding.

It just seems almost pointless to be throwing this wedding when half of my tiny family won’t even be there. We are throwing a wedding (instead of getting married in a small ceremony or at the courthouse) so we can celebrate with our friends and family. If a lot of my family isn’t even there, what is the point? I recently got a decline from a good friend and I think that’s what threw me over the edge. The whole thing just seems silly.

Even given all of that, I am still excited to celebrate with those who are able to make the journey. I just worry that on my wedding day I will be thinking about the people who aren’t there instead of enjoying those who are.

Have any other brides dealt with this? Any advice for focusing on those who are present instead of those who aren’t?


Mrs. Bicycle

Tallahassee, FL/Savannah, GA
Wedding Date:
October 2013
Who Is This Weirdo?
Classifieds: September 19, 2013

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  1. Member
    veggie_rachel 575 posts, Busy bee @ 11:22 am

    I’m so sorry your family won’t be able to make it! I’ve had some similar responses. My family is VERY small and it’s hard for me to compare that to FI’s dozens of aunts/uncles/cousins. We also got a “no” from FI’s grandpa, and we’re trying to find some way to convince him to come.
    I hope your grandma can think of something perfect to send you and let you know that she’s thinking of you and loving you, even if she can’t be there in person.

  2. buffalo Member
    buffalo 178 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:31 am

    Awww, family not being there is always tough! Bryan’s only Grandma wasn’t able to come to our wedding and neither was my Dad’s parents. The only reason my Mom’s parents could come was because my Uncle volunteered (was volunteered?) to drive them up and back! I was sad my one set of Grandparents couldn’t make it, but Bryan was REALLY sad that his only Grandma wasn’t able to celebrate with us. I’m sorry they won’t be there to celebrate with you!

  3. roadtrip Member
    roadtrip 803 posts, Busy bee @ 11:59 am

    I’m so sorry your family isn’t all able to attend–it does take some of the joy out of the day to have special people missing. That said, maybe this is one good side of wedding days being so busy and flying-by: you won’t have time to dwell on anything but the moment.

  4. Member
    nowdontletsbesilly 1428 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:00 pm

    That’s a little heartbreaking! Neither of my sets of grandparents were able to make it to our wedding (one set because they didn’t think they could do the journey, the other set because my grandma was admitted to the hospital a week before the wedding and was still recovering) and I was really bummed. I am planning to make them each a little photo book with some photos they would appreciate, but it still doesn’t make up for the fact that I didn’t get to see them on that special day. And a bunch of my cousins didn’t come either, which was really sad. But on the day, I felt a lot of love from everyone that was there, so that helped.

  5. Member
    mrseme 2782 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:12 pm

    I don’t know that FI grandparents will be to attend our wedding, either :(

    I think asking her for something- like the lace or something would be nice.

    Another thing- while I know many people do this for deceased family, etc…..you could always do a bouquet charm with her picture- so she’s with you, even though she physically won’t be there.

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Keri, Guest @ 12:19 pm

    I know exactly how you feel! I just had my great aunt and uncle (my only living grandparent-like people) decline, and a few other good friends I thought would make it won’t be there, either. Our guest list is starting to look like 25% mine & 75% fiance’s family. It’s very frustrating to feel underrepresented at your own wedding, and even more so when you chose to have the wedding in order to share the moment with family and friends. Just know that in the end, there will be plenty of love at your wedding, and while I’m sure the people who aren’t there will be missed, the joy will be overwhelming anyway.

  7. Member
    notbridey 727 posts, Busy bee @ 12:42 pm

    I’m so sorry most of your family won’t be able to attend. This happened to me due to financial reasons and a major falling out. In the end, I was very happy with the family that did come even if the numbers were much fewer and trust me that number was lowlowlow but I realized that I have way more family than I thought…some people that have known me all my life are more family to me than actual blood.

    It will suck not to have them there but you will still enjoy your day! I promise!

  8. Member
    thebestisyettocome 57 posts, Worker bee @ 12:45 pm

    I am so sorry to hear your Gram won’t be able to go to your wedding. I love the idea others have made about skyping/ face time/ phone calling on the morning of your wedding. I would suggest to focus on the love that surrounds you the day of, because the love and well wishes will not only be from your attending guests, it will also be from those afar. Hugs!!

  9. msbicycle Member
    msbicycle 718 posts, Busy bee @ 1:20 pm

    Thank you for the support, everyone!

  10. mswallaby Member
    mswallaby 2070 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:03 pm

    Aw sweetie I went through that same exact thing… It’s so hard, planning a big event that you won’t be able to share with some of the people most important to you. I have a very small family too, and it stung getting back the “no” RSVPs. In the end, probably 80% of the guests at our wedding were from Mr. W’s side – but I knew in my heart of hearts that a) my family who couldn’t make it still care deeply about me and wish us a happy marriage, and would be there to celebrate if they could; and b) the family members who WERE there made me feel so loved, supported, confident, etc. I promise you’ll have a wonderful wedding day with the people who are able to be there with you, and it will be worth everything.

  11. Member
    daniellekira 573 posts, Busy bee @ 2:56 pm

    I had one of my best guy friends decline because he was to be in Chicago. I was really upset about it. I wanted to skype him in or do something so he could be there in spirit. I had one friend who called his girlfriend and so they could hear the ceremony and another tango’d (like skype) him in on his phone. Little did I know they went to Chicago for his brothers ceremony into dental “grad” school and to propose to his girlfriend. It was hard to get over, but there are things you can do to incorporate them.

  12. Member
    sanchosgirl818 18 posts, Newbee @ 4:16 pm

    My fiance’s parents are both deceased and as a surprise to him I’m putting their picture in a photo charm I purchased at Michael’s and I’ll have his eldest sister attach it to his boutonniere. Perhaps you could do the same and attach to your bouquet.

  13. potion Member
    potion 223 posts, Helper bee @ 5:01 pm

    My heart goes out to you. Much of Mr. Potion’s family was unable to make the journey to Middle-of-Nowhere, Alabama and then, on top of that, one of his groomsmen had to cancel very last-minute- both guys were heartbroken about it. I had many close friends that were also unable to come, again because of the distance. Every ‘no’ feels like a personal insult, but it’s not, I promise. And if you look out during the ceremony and feel like you’re seeing empty seats or a small crowd, remember- you’ll definitely have time to interact with and visit each and every person who is there!

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Mrs Tigger, Guest @ 3:43 am

    Myself and my new husband got married in August. I’m South African and he’s British, so there was a plane journey involved to attend ours.
    We had a small wedding planned of 37 people, but we ended up being 16 on the day due to various things happening between the time he proposed- Aug 2010 (which is also the year we told everyone the dates because we knew people had to save up for it)- and our wedding date; good friends couldnt make it, the best man wasn’t there, my bridesmaid had a baby in in interim and couldn’t afford the plane ticket for both of them, the groom’s mum had to have an operation to have some cancerous tissue removed and although her plane ticket was booked she couldn’t use it; it was a heartbreaking few weeks leading up to our wedding.
    But it happened. We did it: declared our lifetime commitment infront of a (albeit smaller than we hoped) group of family and friends.
    We had the ceremony video’d by an uncle with a video camera for family and friends who could not make it. It was all we could do.

    Do we regret our small wedding: not at all.
    Would we rather have done it like we did or with our missing family and friends? Of course.
    But we came to the conclusion that they all had three years worth of notice: if they couldn’t get themselves together in that time, then they never would (bar the cancer scare, of course-thats uncontrollable).

    Will we ever marry again after the trauma of emotions leading up to this wedding: definitely not.

    But now that we are married- none of it matters. It was a beautiful day, I wore the dress, he wore the suit and in the end we got married for each other; and not for any of the guests.

    I hope it turns out as you want it to.x

  15. Member
    Gemstone 21840 posts, Honey Beekeeper @ 6:30 am

    I’m so sorry to hear this, hun. I know how you’re feeling — I don’t have a huge family, and several of my family members ended up unable to attend for various reasons. I was really upset about it.

    But when I got to my actual wedding day, I was so overwhelmed with the outpouring of love from the 220+ other guests in attendance, that I really didn’t have the chance to dwell on who wasn’t there.

    Obviously, it’s a little different when it’s family missing the event instead of just friends. But from my experience, you will just be amazed at how loved you feel.

    As for including something of your grandma’s in your wedding day, this was also something I did. I was very close to both my great grandma and to my paternal grandma, who both passed before my wedding. I have a cross pendant that my great grandma always wore, as well as a cross pendant that my grandma gave me. I attached those to my bouquet so they could be with me during the ceremony. It was a really special part of my day.

  16. Member
    MmeSilverBullet 2550 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:21 am

    I know how difficult it can be when loved ones are unable to attend something as important as you wedding. I will have the same problem when we finally get married as my grandmother is 90 years old and I know will not be able to attend if we have the wedding to far away.
    I know it’s not what you’ll want to hear, but even though your family and friends may not all be able to make it to your wedding, just take a moment to remember them on your wedding day. Step outside and just reflect on everyone who can’t make it and celebrate with everyone who could.

  17. mswaterfall Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1403 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:54 pm

    I’m so sorry Miss Bicycle! I know how much your grandma attending meant to you :( I know it’s tough when people who are so close to you will be missing, but at the end of the day, you’ll be married to Mr. Bicycle and hopefully the joy you’ll be feeling will overshadow everything else.
    Big hugs

  18. Member
    TheBuzz103 23 posts, Newbee @ 6:14 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I really, really feel you. This whole thing (and massive financial expenditure) feels really silly sometimes. I’ve been getting especially disappointed with the people who have RSVP’d yes and then asked me “if it’s too late to un-RSVP to your wedding!”

    But here’s the thing. If you didn’t have the wedding, you would have wished you did and vice versa. Also people are self-centered and unfortunately it’s just not as important to them as it is to you. A wedding will definitely show you who really cares about you. In the end, just enjoy your day and focus on the people who did get it together to come out and celebrate!

  19. Member
    Miss_Mimosa 190 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:20 pm

    Aw I am sorry you are having to struggle with this. I know in the end you and your mister will have an incredible wedding and be happy on that day!

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