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How to Deal If Your Parents Decide Not to Come to Your Wedding

A little perspective and a lot of support will help.

Contributing Writer
kelly pete wedding couple holding hands detail
Photography by: D'Arcy Benincosa Photography

Your wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life, but it can quickly become one of the saddest if your parents decide not to attend. The reasons why a parent doesn't show up for his or her child's wedding vary—anything from their son or daughter marrying outside the family's religion to a long-standing estrangement could be the cause. You may have even been hoping they'd come through anyway—it's your wedding!—but once it's clear that's not going to happen, it can be a devastating reality to accept. Instead of letting their absence throw a pall over your wedding, look around at all the folks who will be happy to celebrate with you and make your wedding day the loving experience you've always dreamed of. Here are some truths to make you feel better.

 

Related: Brides Tell All: The Hardest Part About Wedding Planning

 

Family and friends will step up.

Meghan Markle knows the feeling of an absent parent all too well. Though it wasn't because they were estranged, her dad, Thomas Markle, couldn't walk her down the aisle when she married Prince Harry in May; her future father-in-law, Prince Charles, filled in. Take a cue from the royal and tap others for help with the wedding roles usually served by the bride's parents—your brother could walk you down the aisle, a close friend could do a spotlight dance with you, your maid of honor can help you get dressed, and an aunt could make the welcome toast at the reception. They'll be honored to help!

 

There won't be any family drama.

If seeing your parents at other family events in the past has always led to arguments and tears, not having them at the wedding means you can scratch that scenario off your "to-worry" list. What's that dulcet sound on your wedding day? It's everyone getting along.

 

The focus will be on you and the groom.

Though your parents' absence will likely be noticed at first, once you walk down the aisle and the ceremony begins, guests will be enchanted by the two of you. And the focus will stay on the two of you until the last guest says goodbye.