Offering Condolences at a Wedding: How to Deal with the Sad and Happy at the Same Time

Planning a wedding often takes months and can take even longer. During that time, life continues to happen. Some great things happen and some sad events occur. Most people won’t postpone their big day even if they have lost a loved one recently, but will go on with life like their family member would want them to. As the guest, you may wonder if you should bring up the passing of the loved one, and if so, what you should say. This can be a potentially awkward situation for both you and the other person.

Dealing with the Elephant in the Room

In some cases, it may be more awkward to avoid the conversation about the death of the loved one. For instance, the deceased may have been the father of the bride with plans to walk her down the aisle. When he died, she had to find someone to replace him in the ceremony, but they can never replace him in her heart. His absence will be obvious, and it will cast a shadow on the otherwise perfect day. In this scenario, it’s perfectly okay to say something like “I know you miss your dad, and I want you to know I’m thinking of him too.”

If you’re thinking about the person who is missing from this special day, chances are other people are thinking of them, too. It’s always good to share your sorrow in a short statement at an appropriate time. It can be the very words that allows them to enjoy the rest of the event.

Knowing When It’s Appropriate

Even if you feel it’s best to say something about the loss of a loved one at the wedding, you must know the right time and way to have this conversation. If you aren’t close to the family or didn’t know the deceased, it’s perfectly acceptable to say nothing. If the death happened just a few days or a few weeks ago, you can make a short comment about the loss by saying something like, “I know you miss your dad today, and I just want you to know I care.”

You will want to find a quiet time away from others to express your condolences. For those who are not aware of the situation, you don’t want to make them feel awkward. You also don’t want the family member to have to give an explanation. The best time is when it’s just the two of you. Perhaps you’re dancing together or you’re about to say goodbye for the evening.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a chance to say something appropriate for the death of the loved one. Just being at the wedding and experiencing the happy event will provide comfort and support to the person who is still grieving in the middle of this wonderful occasion. Sometimes words aren’t needed between two people who care about each other.

Suzie Kolber is a writer at . The site is a complete guide for someone seeking help for writing <a href=”” target=”_blank”>words of condolences</a>, sympathy messages, condolence letters and funeral planning resources.


Written by Andrea