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If Someone Dies On Your Wedding Day

Picture this. It’s the morning of your wedding day– one of the most important and special days of your life. You’re in your bridal suite getting your makeup done. The room is bustling with bridesmaids getting ready and photographers snapping photos. Your cellphone rings. It’s your dad. You answer it because, well, it’s your dad. You assume he has a random question, like what time he’s supposed to be somewhere. Instead, he tells you the nursing home your grandma is staying in just called. Your grandma passed away about an hour ago.

bridal makeup 1

No one ever tells you what to do if someone dies on your wedding day. Probably because no one expects it. You can expect rain and have a plan B, but you never expect the death of someone close to you on your wedding day. I surely didn’t. Because, really, what are the chances?

Brad’s and my second wedding anniversary is in 3 weeks. Around this time last year I began reflecting on our wedding day, and it’s no different this year. June 25, 2011 was a mess of emotions: happiness, nervousness, anxiety, sadness, confusion. There are so many emotions on wedding days, but pair that with a death and whoa nelly. I found myself thinking of my grandma throughout the day and confused as to how I should feel. It’s ridiculously confusing and hard to feel happy and sad at the same time. It’s exhausting too. I remember someone telling me during our reception that I looked tired. I was slightly offended, but this person didn’t know everything I had gone through in the past 10 hours. (We purposely didn’t tell wedding guests because we didn’t want them coming up to me during the reception and possibly upsetting me.)


With that being said, I thought I’d share my thoughts on this tricky topic since I’ve been there, done that.

The number one thing you can do when someone close to you passes away on your wedding day is to NOT BE TOLD. Speaking from experience, I wished I hadn’t known about my grandmother’s passing until the day after our wedding. I wasn’t expecting her at the wedding because she was in a nursing home 4 hours away. I didn’t plan to call her because her hearing was so bad talking on the phone was impossible. I planned to go see her, tell her all about the day, and show her pictures a couple weeks after our wedding. So I would have never known anything had happened if I wasn’t told. Well, maybe I would because I could see it on my dad’s and half sister’s faces.

How do you not find out someone died? You have buffers– people who intercept information so you aren’t made aware. If the deceased person was supposed to attend your wedding your buffer is responsible for telling you that the person came down with a stomach bug, or they were called into work last minute. Any simple excuse will do.Another thing, you’re not in charge of your cellphone on your wedding day. One of your buffers is on phone duty. It’s their responsibility to intercept all messages and phone calls and relay the information they deem pertinent. If something catastrophic should arise, they are to discuss the situation with your other buffers and important people (your family, wedding coordinator, etc.) to decide whether or not you should be made aware of the situation. Had I not had my cellphone with me I may not have found out. It may have given my mom and step-dad time to talk to my dad and tell him it wouldn’t be a good idea to tell me.

Now, I know every situation is different. How the person who died is related to you. Your relationship with the person. Whether or not the person was supposed to attend your wedding or be a part of your wedding ceremony. So this could effect whether or not you’re told.

I’m not trying to sound harsh here, but those affected by the death need to try their best to put their emotions aside and put on happy face so you don’t catch on to anything. Because here’s the deal, There will be plenty of time to mourn but you only have a limited amount of time to live in the now and enjoy your wedding day.

Hopefully you never have to experience this, but on the unfortunate chance you do, I hope this post helped you develop a plan B beforehand. But, really, what are the chances someone will die on your wedding day?

If someone dies on your wedding day. A must read before your wedding.

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  1. So sad you had to find out the way you did. The emotions you go through with a death on a wedding day must be pretty intense and very hard to control.
    But as for me, I would want to know even though it may “ruin” my day. It would bug me more if it was a lie, (he/she couldn’t make it because _______ especially if they were someone in the wedding party or someone very close to me like my grandma) I would also have it announced at the beginning of the reception before I enter so everyone knows why I look the way I do (tired, haggered, not all there, maybe even crying) I would be able to start the grieving process and then I would put on a brave face, and get on with the rest of the reception and continue grieving afterwards.
    I would not want to be lied to. But that’s just me.:)

    1. I can understand where you’re coming from. I think once the dust settled, if I wasn’t told, I would be able to see that I information was withheld with good intentions. Those who initially found out my grandma passed and I opted to not tell any wedding guests. I didn’t want people coming up to me at the wedding and giving me their condolences– risking me breaking into tears over and over again.

      1. I understand your viewpoint on this too. And maybe when I do get married I will change my mind. And by the way, I always liked your wedding picture on the website, that smile and that braided hair! Now, I will be reflecting on how sad and wonderful at the same time your day was. It’s a day never to be forgotten in anyone’s life.

  2. Ooof. I can’t imagine.

    We are going through something similar-ish right now during my planning. My grandma has pretty advanced dementia – to the point where her doors are labeled at her house PANTRY- FOOD, BATHROOM-SINK, etc. It’s heart breaking and sad to know that she really has no capacity for really anything beyond day-to-day living, for example, a wedding.

    My aunt, who lives closest and is her caretaker (beyond the facility that she’s living at), wants to bring her and feels guilty if she misses out… but I know that she won’t even really know what’s happening, and that it’ll only end up as “punishment” because someone has to be by her side 24/7 while she’s not at home.

    Ok, so it’s really not that similar of a situation, but I can relate. I can’t imagine hearing that kind of news on your big day – and to forever associate the two together.


    1. So sorry you and your family are going through this. We were in a somewhat similar situation with Brad’s paternal grandfather. He was very ill and couldn’t travel the 2 hours for the wedding. Brad’s grandmother stayed home to care for him so she wasn’t able to attend the wedding either. But Brad’s cousin was able to set up a webcam so they could watch our ceremony on their TV. That gave us some peace– knowing they were able to see the wedding ceremony live.

    2. My family has considered this possibility, as one grandparent is 96, one has Alzheimer’s that is advancing and the third has physical limitations. My plan is to factor into my budget the cost of a non-familial caregiver to care for whatever grandparents choose to attend, so that they can attend but family doesn’t have to spend their day watching and helping with bathroom trips, and instead can just enjoy their company and the event. I don’t know if that is an option for you, financially, but it’s something to consider! The webcam solution is also a great one if your budget is tight.

      1. Antanette says:

        I think this is a great idea, caring for the elders in your family is a ton of work…and I think a special wedding day is a great exception to have someone else step in to assist 🙂

  3. Sarah Hodgson says:

    Great post-I totally agree with you.

  4. Thank you for sharing this with brides to be and their families. Death in a family is always hard and on your wedding day is awful. That news will always be part of your memories. I do believe though that you should have been sheltered from that awful news until the next day if at all possible.

    There will be times in your life when the happiest moments will turn to tragedy and there is nothing can be done about it but when it can be, it should be and your post will maybe give brides to be something to put in their planning. We lost our daughter on our anniversary 29 years ago and needless to say that turned one of the happiest day of our lives into one of the worst days of our lives in an instant. That day was my grandmother’s birthday, so that day was a day that was associated with birth, joy and sorrow.

    Again, you are very brave and honorable for brining this unpleasant subject up.

    Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sandy. I’m so sorry about the loss of your daughter. I often wonder if there’s something behind loved ones passing away on significant days. My maternal grandmother went into cardiac arrest a day before my 17th birthday, and we took her off life support a day after my birthday. A couple years later my maternal grandfather passed away on my mom and aunt’s birthday (they’re twins). I joke that all of my grandparents were a little dark and twisty when it came to the timings of their deaths. But I wonder if there’s more to it.

  5. My grandmother passed a month before my wedding. I think if it had been on my wedding day I would have preferred that no one said anything, but that being said….I would have known. Maybe not exactly what the problem was, but I would have noticed that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong. And then, not knowing would have driven me crazy.

    1. So sorry for your loss, Cerise. I’m sure that was very difficult right before your wedding day. I understand where you’re coming from. I was so busy on our wedding day I probably wouldn’t have noticed, until I looked at my dad or half-sister.

  6. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I can imagine your plight, because c’mon, you wed once in your life and that day is supposed to be one of the most happiest for you. I think you did great by sharing your experience. Probably for some it sounds selfish, but I second your thoughts – each year one relishes all the memories attached with the day… 🙂

    commenting here for the first time…been visiting your blog for some time now.


    1. Thank you for your comment, Purnima. I know it may sound selfish to some, but I think your wedding day is the one day you can be selfish and make everything about you. 🙂

  7. Chelsea, I am so sorry to hear that this happened on your wedding day. And thanks for sharing this. You are helping future brides out there. I agree with your advice that brides should not be in charge of their phones on the day of the wedding. You wouldn’t have heard of this news, just as you prevented your guests from finding out. I would have saved myself a lot of mental breakdowns during my wedding morning too if I had given my phone to a buffer. Every guest with flight and hotel conundrums decided to call and I had to find rides for several people that morning. Brides to be please: stay away from those cell phones!! Maid of honors, moms and sisters are great buffers that will handle anything that comes up.

    1. Thank you, Zainab. I completely agree with brides not having their phone on their wedding day. That must have been stressful for you to find rides for guests.

  8. Michele Jacobs says:

    I can feel your pain, and I agree with you. I was married on the Saturday after 9/11 … oh, yeah, and I’m from New York. While it’s not the same, I just wanted to let you know that after a few years, it gets easier to look back at your wedding day and see only the happy parts (not to make light of your grandma’s passing in any way), but you’ll be able to separate the two; well at least I have been able to. My little sister was married 2 years ago in Hurricane Irene in NY and that is what I have been telling her. Enjoy your wedding anniversary!

    1. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Michele. I’m sure what you experienced was very difficult. Because not only were you affected, I’m sure many of your wedding guests were as well. Hopefully as the years go by it’ll get easier for me to separate the two.

  9. Oh I feel ya. Not that I had a family member die on my wedding day but my dad passed away very suddenly 4 weeks before my wedding. I’m so so so sorry you had to go through this. Dealing with a death that close to (or ON!) your wedding day is insanely hard. Thanks for writing this.

    1. So sorry about your dad. That must have been heart wrenching for you, especially so close to your wedding day. I hope you were able to honor your dad’s memory and enjoy your special day.

  10. Wow. So sorry for your loss and how overwhelming everything must have been. Not that I’m going to get married again or anything, but I love your advice. It’s definitely something that should be in place on the off chance something like this happens.

    1. Thanks, Amber. Hopefully this post will help someone if they’re faced with a similar situation on their wedding day.

  11. I can speak from experience, too. Our situation was pretty much as you described your ideal situation to be, and for me, it was quite the opposite from what I would have chosen.

    The death of my husbands’ grandfather on our wedding day was kept a secret from us. We were only vaguely aware that he was unwell; no one let on to the fact that he was dying as we were being married. So, when we made the call to his grandmother during the reception we expected all to be alright, and hoped to speak with my husband’s grandfather, as we had originally planned on. The awkwardness and short duration of the conversation threw us for a loop, and still no one let on.

    Shortly after we woke up the morning after our wedding day, we received a call from my new father-in-law telling us that he had passed, and so that morning it was a mad dash to say a quick good bye to our family and friends that had flown in for our wedding, and we had to cancel our (albeit short) honeymoon plans and purchase tickets to fly across country for the funeral, and to be with my husbands’ family.

    Our feelings were mixed over the situation. We appreciated our family sheltering us from the sad situation as to not “ruin” our happy day, but on the other hand, we would have likewise appreciated the opportunity to take steps to prepare ourselves both mentally and otherwise for the possibility of his death, and for the long journey across country. It was stressful and a sad week after our wedding, and it took us 3 years to finally get our honeymoon.

    Anyway, that’s my perspective. It’s absolutely an individual experience, and I can see your point of view too! I’m so sorry you lost your grandmother and had to deal with that sadness on your wedding day. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. So sorry for your loss. I can appreciate your point-of-view. While my grandmother was in a nursing home, she was doing well. We hadn’t had a serious scare in over a year so her passing was a complete shock. Like you said, it’s an individual situation.

  12. Oh goodness! Im sorry for your loss and the horrible experience you had. I can’t even imagine…except I kind of can. My mom passed away while I was with my churches youth group out of town. I wasn’t told for a few hours while they tried to figure out how to tell me. (I was 17). From my experience, had I lost someone on my wedding day, or ANY day for that matter, I would prefer to know and not be “shielded” and to know. But I get it…everyone is different in how they handle grief and my word! To have to handle it on your wedding day?! I’m so sorry. 🙁 Hugs to you as you approach your 2nd wedding anniversary, and may your joyful memories overshadow the unpleasant memories of grief.

    1. Sorry for your loss, Jaclyn. I could never imagine. Thanks for appreciating my perspective. I feel like there would have been nothing I could have done about my grandmother’s passing except feel horrible on a day I was supposed to feel so much bliss so delaying my knowledge of her death would have been more beneficial than telling me. But I know everyone is different.

      1. At last, someone comes up with the “right” answer!

  13. I can somewhat understand where you are coming from. On our wedding day out best mans wife was in a bad car accident on the way to our wedding. She is fine but I wish I had had that person to be my buffer so I wouldn’t have found out until after the wedding. Thanks for posting this.

    1. I’m glad your best man’s wife is fine. That must have been so scary and stressful though. Thanks for understanding where I’m coming from. I think, for some people, until you experience something like what you and I did, you can’t really understand why we would have wanted to not be told certain things on our wedding days.

  14. My best friend was killed in an car accident the night of the of my afternoon wedding. Didn’t have cellphones then, so found out after getting back home. I completely lost it. It’s tough the first week living with your spouse, but morning a male friend at the same time wasn’t easy. My anniversay was another reminder.

  15. Chelsea? Y’know what I love about you? You are SO SMART!! Your reflections on not being told make so much sense. (Just my opinion…) What I mean about you being smart is that you aren’t afraid to say what you need. Or needed (in this case). A wedding is no time for you to be torn in half, wanting to be joyful and carefree and immersed in the events of the day. ANd it is probably a little shaky sometimes for you not to worry that when something wonderful and momentous is happening that the other shoe will drop and there will be something to hold a cloud over it. As long as you know what you need and are confident in saying so, you can handle anything that comes your way. There’s always something–some fly in the ointment–at every wedding I’ve officiated at. My mother-in-law died 2 days after my oldest son’s wedding and they had to cancel their honeymoon. It took a few years but now he says that remembering the best event and the worst event all happening in 48 hours is a way of honoring his grandma in a very special way. [Why then did he also have to get a forearm sleeve tattoo of Our Lady of Guadalupe to remember her??? Anyway.] You were courageous to share your story and I know it will help someone who reads it. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but when they need it. Kudos!! Now I have even more respect and admiration for you and what you’re about. Happy Anniversary to you and Brad on June 25. We will be celebrating our 37th on JUne 26 and I will lift a glass and toast you two while I’m patting myself on the back for being such a wonderful wife all these years. LOL. Fortunately I married the most patient man on the planet.

  16. Happy Anniversary, we’re celebrating our 9th next week!

    I have to agree with you. For most of us we only have 1 wedding day in our lives. We could certainly delay new like that for 24 hours.

  17. Wow, what a crazy situation that you’d just never anticipate. I’ve been thinking about this ever since you posted it on my blog. So sorry that you lost her, and so sorry that it happened that day. I wish you could go back and un-know that it happened until the next day! Happy anniversary!

  18. That’s so sad 🙁 I agree, there are MANY things a bride doesn’t need to know about on her wedding day. That’s definitely one of them!

  19. I am so sorry for your loss, and that you had to deal with such sadness on your wedding day. My grandfather, who I was incredibly close to, passed away a few weeks before my wedding and it tore me apart. I considered cancelling the wedding because I wasn’t sure I could go through with it knowing my heart was breaking and that he wouldn’t be there. All my life, I’d dreamed of sharing a dance at my wedding with my new hubby and my happily-married-for-60-plus-years grandparents. Having to deal with his death and then attending a memorial service 2 weeks before my wedding was incredibly stressful, and sort of tainted the whole wedding experience for me. Even now, looking back at certain photos I can see a sadness and almost an anger in my expression during the candle lighting, the cake cutting, etc. I can’t even imagine how you made it through your wedding day having received the news that morning — you are a very strong person!

    P.S. – Happy Almost Anniversary!

  20. So sorry you had to go through that. Dads rarely know what to do in those types of situatiosn. THeir gut instincts is to tear the band aid off quickly.

    My sister went through a horrible labor, intense pains and so many issues. After several hours they had to perform a C-Section. She was in so much pain and mourning the loss of her ideal labor and that things weren’t going to be as easy as she thought. Almost immediately after we found out our nephew was born, we ofund out my Nana had passed away.

    We unfortunately had to tell her because we all had to leave. Nana wanted to be buried in Niagara Falls. She was Canadian and my pops was buried there. We all kept a poisitve vibe and celebrated our nephew. Unfortunately she was is such bad shape she didn’t get to celebrate. She was physicaaly and emotionally spent. It wa so hard to know we were about to make it worse for her. They werent very close and Nana was sometimes cruel to her but still it was going to be hard.
    Add to that she just went through a hard labor and she wasn’t going to have family there to help her. The first few weeks my nephew was here is a blur. My daighter and I got sick in Canada. I ended up having bronchitis. I wish I would have had that bonding time with him and was there to help her.
    The thing we hold on to: My sister is a very trusting person and we expected y nephew to be as well (and he is). We decided Nana passed away so she could act as his guardian angel, a small gift from God. He didn’t need to know her to trust her.

  21. WOW! I love this post – so true. never thought of this until now but wow wow wow so true and you are right, def dont need to know right away in a case like yours. You are strong. I love your blog and now love it even more 🙂

  22. Oh wow, I can’t imagine what you went through on that day. I don’t think that I would have wanted to know, either. Thank you for sharing, especially because I’m sure it wasn’t easy to do so.

  23. Such a touching post. I can’t even begin to fathom what that would be like. I have to agree–I don’t think I would have wanted to find out until afterward (although there’s never a good time to relay such heartbreaking news). It would have hurt no matter when you found out–delaying the news would have just helped you enjoy the moment.

    Certainly not on the same scale, but very [very] minorly related: my husband and I were married on the day my maternal grandmother died–some 18 or so years afterward. I was fairly young when she passed (I believe about 7) and while I did, of course, remember her and still miss her to this day, I was too young to commit the day to memory. My mom didn’t tell me until after we were married (over a year, even) because she didn’t want it to overshadow the day or perhaps cause us to change our plans. To be honest, it bothered me a bit at first. After all, had I known I would have gone for a different day! But the more I thought about it the more peace I had. I’ve since learned to focus on the good of the day, knowing she would have rather seen my smiles than my tears.

    I don’t know if that could be any help–even if years from now–knowing it’s certainly a different circumstance, but I thought I’d share. It’s a wonderful thing you did to put this out there for so many others, just in case such a circumstance should happen on their wedding days as well. On that day, in the moment, I wouldn’t have wanted to know either, and having a plan in place with some of your closest family/friends to filter any such news is a great idea. I just hope you’re able to focus on the many beautiful memories of your special day and to remember and honor your grandmother with fondness. I have no doubt she’d want to see you happy 🙂

  24. So sad that your grandmother passed away during your special day..my grandmother passed away one week before my wedding…i hadn’t seen her in over a year (i live abroad)…stupid me, kept wedding details a secret because i wanted her to be surprised, including the weight i had lost..granny was always commenting on my weight….which i know, not very nice, but granny’s say things like that. Anyways, want hunts me the most, is that not that she was not at my wedding, but the truth is, i wasn’t a very good granddaughter…..that is my biggest regret.

  25. I”m sorry to hear that you had to deal with this on your wedding day. I was a wedding planner for a couple years and had to help handle many different family dynamics and emotional situations, but thankfully never a death on the day of (although a couple times the orginal wedding date was set and than a parent or sibling passed and the wedding was pushed off). I would agree with your suggestion to have the couple shielded from the news if possible – obviously it wouldn’t always be (ie: someone like a parent or sibling or in the wedding party). As a wedding planner we enlisted family and bridesmaid to ensure that the couple was shielded from as much “bad news” as possible (although usually this was comparatively insignificant wedding problems). Thank you for sharing this emotional story with us.

    And I agree that deaths tend to concide with other significant events – my grandfather actually passed away 2 days before what was supposed to his 60th wedding anniversary and the funeral ended up on that exact day. What should have been an amazing celebration of 60 years of marriage, became a funeral. I can’t imagine how difficult that was, and still is, for my grandmother.

  26. Wise words Chelsea. Thank you for giving us your insight into such a sad intrusion into your special day.

  27. Fantastic post, Chelsea! As someone who has been shooting weddings for several years, I have seen a LOT of crazy things! I am definitely going to start telling my brides to get “buffers” for their big day. Even something less serious (keys locked in cars, random weird questions, etc.) can be enough to steal joy on an already stressful day. Having a friend who can filter everything for you would definitely help keep things happy and calm(er)!

  28. What a sad thing to experience on the happiest day of your life! We lost both of our grandmothers last year, one 4 days after I had my baby, and it was hard to celebrate his new little life while celebrating her ending life. Thinking of you! Also, I was in a roll over car accident with my groom of 7 hours the night of our wedding- crazy things happen on that day!! (;


  29. Oooof. Timing can be so unfortunate, but you’re right, we should do our best to protect those who are still with us, especially on important days. My husband’s family buried his grandmother on our anniversary. He chooses to remember her on the actual day of her passing, not the day the family does. It works for us. 🙂 Happy early anniversary.

  30. Chelsea,
    I’m terribly sorry for your loss, and on such a special day. I had a similar experience around our wedding day. I am from West, Texas, and 3 days before our wedding the Fertilizer Plant Explosion happened. I didn’t lose any close friends/family, but my parents lost their home. It was a horrific experience, then to add in “the happiest day of my life is supposed to be in 3 days.” The emotions are INSANE! My parents were amazing though. I was completely torn on what to do, and they insisted that we continue on with our day. I am SO glad we did! It was wonderful to see them laugh & smile, and for all of our friends to get away from reality for while. At the time, I really thought the tragedy would over shadow our day, but looking back it doesn’t at all. It was the perfect celebration of life, the future, and moving forward.

  31. Excellent advice for friends and family! It is shocking to me, though, that this would have to be explained to adults. There was no need for you to know about your grandmother’s passing on your wedding day. Your father and sisters should have “put on a happy face” and not behaved so selfishly. Of course, families are not perfect. My own father did not tell me that my great aunt (overseas) had died MONTHS BEFORE my wedding, but then I received a note from her friend stating that my aunt would not be attending my wedding because she had passed. That note was in response to the wedding invitation I had sent my great aunt so it arrived just a few weeks before the wedding. This was over twenty years ago, so communication with relatives in Ireland was rare- no texting like today!

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  34. I just wanted to thank you. I have been looking for a post about this as this is a very good possibility that either one of my grandparents could pass on or VERY close to my wedding day as they are both not doing well. I am getting married in 2 months and both of there were given this for about a time line (paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother). One of my cousins is also my bridesmaid and we were trying to look for a blog to help us understand and possibly give us pointers on how to handle this situation if it arrives. Yours helped a great deal, even if it tells me that I am not alone. Thank you again, I really appreciate it.

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  37. Wow… I didn’t know someone else on the planet lived the same thing that I did … My grandfather died the day of my wedding too. Except it was DURING the evening, just after the souper… We knew it would happen soon, but I wished so bad it would be at least the day after… My entire family (side of my mom) took off and everyone was confused… I cried for about 30 minutes in a room with my bridemaids and my new husband too. To see your family & your mom took off the ONE big day of your life it’s really difficult. My grandfather was also my godfather and I was really close to him so I was heartbroken. I finally got on my feet and enjoyed the rest of the night like he would have want me to do but it was hard! Two years since my weddong (in june) and I felt like you last year. Sad, happy, all mized feelings and I think it’ll be like that forever.

    Talking about things going wrong : my priest was late, it was a day of pouring rain, nobody heard a thing at my wedding because there was too much resonance in the church, my dvds are ruined because my cameramans didn’t anticipate it, one of my bridesmaids got dumped on my wedding day, the employees at my reception decided to trash my wedding cake that cost us 400$, there was a lot of fuss with some of my family members, ETC! I totally totally understand you and it makes me a ”little bit” better to know I’m not all alone in the world!

    Thank you for your text!

    1. Oh and they tried not telling me for my grandfather, but when you suddenly see everyone standing up, crying and going, you realize something’s wrong and since we knew it was a matter of hours or days, I knew instantly…

      1. Bobbi Mortensen says:

        Let me start with I am very sorry this happened to you!
        But, you could always renew your vows and have a “do over.” My husband and I are doing this in 2015. Because we got married in November in Minnesota, I do not want to repeat a cold, sleety day. We are renewing on the anniversary of our fist date – August 8th. It may be hot but I won’t have to worry about slipping on the ice.
        This would allow you and your husband to create new memories and maybe get to add some new guests – like children you’ve had since. Take some time to think about it. Maybe by your 5th or 10th anniversary you will be ready. By then you maybe able to be far enough away from the pain/excitement/joy/etc./etc. of the original day.
        Good luck to you and your family!

  38. We attended a wedding last year where one of the bridesmaids went down the drive of the venue to direct a few people (to this day i don’t understand why this was ever her job, surely an usher would of been better suited) but no one could of predicted following events, at the entrance to the venue, directing guests where to park tripped and fell into a main road being hit by oncoming traffic, she was pronounced dead on the scene when paramedics arrived. This was devastating, although i didn’t go to scene (sorry very distressing and I’m very squeamish) but the bride rushed there after hearing, after coming back her dress was ruined covered in blood. The function was shut down not long after. This was such a shame we lost a beautiful friend and the bride has said this has tainted her wedding and marriage as now she can not think about it without revisiting those memories. Up to that point, from my perspective as a guest the day had gone seamlessly… the ceremony was beautiful, the speeches were hilarious and food exquisite, the tragic event happened during the lul before the entertainment was planned to start while the evening guests were arriving.

  39. I am a consultant at The Bridal Store in Crystal Minnesota. I often get asked random questions and I dispense the best advice I can considering that I am a radical wedding nerd [I am surfing wedding on Pinterest while I am watching “Say Yes to the Dress:]. This is one thing that I had not thought of before.
    I am sincerely sorry for your loss, but I agree with your post wholeheartedly. This will be another one of the gems that I can pass along. I would like to possibly link our site to yours sometime in the future.
    Bobbi Mortensen

  40. It was my wedding on April 26th 2014. So only a few weeks back. I searched a question and it lead me to this site. I too suffered a loss on my wedding day. The whole of our wedding was planned around this person being able to be with us as she had been fighting a horrible disease for nearly 10 years. I wanted to make sure she was there and as soon as we got engaged in Jan 13, we planned the wedding for early 2014. I couldn’t of imagined my wedding day without my mum! She was my best friend and well she was an inspiration. Mum was so excited for the wedding, but started to have a few blips. But she was determined that she would see me get married. Being her oldest she knew I was her only chance.
    The night before I was in a rush and didn’t get to my parents until late, mum had had an early night so she could cope with the day. I didn’t disturb her.. until the morning when I ran in to wake her, full of beans, “it’s my wedding day mum, we made it!” – she didn’t respond, she was like a zombie. I called an ambulance. They tried but had to take her. My dad made a desicion to stay with me and continue to give me away. The wedding ceremony was beautiful, it was sunny and it wasn’t supposed to be.
    It wasn’t until we moved on to the reception venue when Dad left, people were talking and i knew then but it just made.me stronger. I stood up unannounced and made a speech that I know my mum would of been proud of. The wedding continued and i could see in people’s faces she had passed but i refused to stop. My dad made it back in time for my first dance, a brave face was an understatement.
    The next morning I woke up, rang my dad and said ” you can stop pretending now daddy” and it was as I had figured, my mum had passed away on my wedding day.

    You couldn’t make this stuff up, I can’t understand why that day, the day she wanted more than anything. But in true spirit, knowing what she wanted more than anything i carried on that day and I carried on with my honeymoon. I believe she made the sun shine that day.

    But I am grateful that although in my heart I knew, i was not officially told until the next day. Everyone else knew but kept the day going for me, for my husband (even he knew) and for my mum!

  41. Megan Goodrich says:

    Thank you for posting about this. Our wedding was Sep 22, 2013. My favorite uncle died unexpectedly 6 days before our wedding on a Monday. My poor aunt had to rush the funeral planning to make sure it didn’t fall on our wedding weekend. The thursday and friday before our wedding was spent attending his wake and funeral and then our rehearsal party was on Saturday and wedding on Sunday. It was certainly a whirlwind of feelings and I was completely mentally exhausted for my entire wedding weekend. I also feel like because I was trying so hard to be in good spirits that it stunted the mourning process and I feel as though I’ve had a hard time dealing with his death.
    It makes me sad because I know I will always remember his death when I think about our wedding.

    My husband and I have already agreed that we will do a renewal of vows at our 5/10 year anniversary.

  42. My husband lost an uncle while we were on our honeymoon and his grandfather passed away the day we returned. I’m thankful they didn’t email us on our cruise. We couldn’t do anything about it, and we found out on the way home from the airport. We went straight to see family. I’m sorry that happened to you.

  43. Chiarina Benitez says:

    I got married this past Saturday and it was perfect. Everyone said the ceremony was beautiful and that the reception was phenomenal. Our guests made sure they told us how perfect the day was and how lovely we are as a couple. We had the greatest time in our lives. I usually am able to read people’s emotions and body language, but that day I was very blinded by the joy and bliss. My skill of reading people was suppressed. To me, the night ended perfectly.

    The next morning, I got a phone call from my mom. The very first thing she asked me was: “Do you know it already?” I was confused and asked her back: “Know what?” Then she broke the news that my Aunt/God mother/her sister had a massive cardiac arrest yesterday and passed at 8:18 PM. I was confused for a second, I tried to look back and recall what was happening at that time yesterday…we must be having our main course at the wedding. I pinched myself to see if I was just having a dream. But no, my aunt was gone. I didn’t know what to feel at that moment. Should I be thankful that nobody told me and let me enjoy my wedding? Or should I feel bad that I wasn’t able to share and mourn with my family at the moment they knew it happened? Now that I know what happened 4 hours away last night while I was partying, it makes sense now why some of my family members seemed sad and in shock last night. My mom especially, she looked sad and tired towards the end of the night. I thought she was just plain tired from a long day of festivities. But no, it was because they knew about my aunt passing.

  44. Thanks for this post – it was the first thing that came up when I was searching on this topic. My fiancee and I are flying to Vegas to get married in two days. Her father is in hospice, and is highly likely to pass away in the next few days. She shares power of attorney with her brother, and originally said she wanted to turn her phone off so as not to find out on our wedding day that something had happened, but it’s possible that if she isn’t reachable it could cause legal or other issues.

    So, I called her sister-in-law and asked, as gently as I could, if the family could avoid sharing any bad news with us until we return from Vegas on Monday *unless* my fiancee’s input is needed immediately. That way, if she gets a call we’d know it was unavoidable, but if it’s news that can wait until we get back, she might still be able to get through the day without grief.

    Unfortunately her sister-in-law sounded pretty annoyed with the request, though she said that they would try. I hate thinking that my new in-laws are going to be angry with me from day one, or think badly of me for asking them this, but it seems like the best possible option at a time when all the options pretty much suck. 🙁

    Anyway, I appreciated reading this. I think maybe the idea of not being told is especially helpful when a person already knows there’s a good chance their loved one will pass away soon – I can see how some of the responders here would prefer to know the news rather than be surprised by it – but if it’s not *really* a surprise, just terrible news, I know for my fiancee and myself we’d much rather not be told unless there was no other choice. Our anniversary will be connected to the death of a loved one forever as it is… I’ll be so grateful if at least we were able to enjoy the day itself.

  45. First i have to say my deepest sympathy for you and your family.I have been looking for someone else that I can relate to. I went through post traumatic stress for a year or maby longer.My very dear Friend passed away on my wedding day May 24-2014. She died in my arms at my reception while we were dancing! What started out as one of the best days of our lives turned into the most horrible day! It often numbs me to this day :'( I was devastated, and even mad at times that god chose my day to take his angel.I didn’t want anything to do with my wedding pictures or any memories at all after that day.I fell into depression, No one understudy and how could they,No one knew what to say to me, honesty they’ll avoided me all together because I was mad or sad.I started to meet complete strangers that actually made me feel better..I guess family and friends and my wonderful husband didn’t know what to say because of their emotional connection. I was told by a woman one day that my Friend Shelly passed at the perfect time she was so happy and she dancing and singing, she looked the most beautiful I have ever seen her too.It all made sense for a moment. I guess I had the best going away party for my sweet dear friend Shelly.♥ My husband and I are renewing our wedding vows this May 27th in Ocean City on the beach.I wanted to get married on the beach from the beginning, now I get my chance to 😉

  46. Hi Chelsea,

    Thanks for your post. It’s affecting people even years after. My grandma has been in steady decline the past few years. I don’t think she has more than a month or so, when I get married at the end of May.

    I really like what you said about having bridesmaids handle the cell phone calls. May be a good idea for my mom and aunt too, and their brothers can be primary contact should anything happen. Thanks for sharing.

  47. Meagan Webb says:

    We got married on the same day!

  48. My first wedding anniversary was spent in rehabilitation from a head-on collision accident where I broke my tibia. Was so excited about this wedding anniversary that seemed to be care free until I got a call that my sister who was the “match -maker. ” for my husband and me had suddenly died on the same day we were married…..It is so hard but reading these other post let’s me know that I am not alone and that my original wedding day was filled with love and laughter where my sister was a part all smiling and enjoying the day with me…..

  49. My Grandmother(who adopted and raised me) died about an hour before my wedding. I was told during the reception. It was and is heartbreaking! I had joked with her and told her a few weeks before that she couldn’t die on my wedding day. Cancer. I can’t look back on that day with a bit of happiness even now 6 years later.

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