January 07, 2020
Here's how I 'showed up' for both.
By: Rebecca Haber
A few years ago, I became pregnant with my first child. I was over the moon, until I realized that my due date was the same day as my best friend's wedding. Despite the fact that we live over two thousand miles apart, I was in complete denial and was certain that we could plan around this little snafu. But the simple fact was that I was going to miss her wedding, and there was absolutely nothing that either of us could do about it. We all want to be there for the ones we love, but sometimes life has other plans. Luckily there are several ways to take part in a wedding, even if you can't physically be there.
1. Help Plan the Bachelor or Bachelorette Party
If you can't make the wedding, there's a chance you can still show up for the bachelorette party or wedding shower. If that's not a possibility either, see if you can help with the planning. Contact the Maid of Honor or Best Man and ask what tasks need to be done. You can make phone calls and reservations from anywhere, and taking some of the responsibility off of others can be a huge help. Additionally, you can make small but significant gestures to make your presence known. Find out where the group is having brunch and send a bottle of Champaign to the table. Or if you have the time, create your own wedding-inspired game for the guests to play! For my best friend's bachelorette, I created a Jeopardy-style game with personalized categories and hilariously revealing questions about the bride.
2. Make Time to Help Make Decisions
Another way to show up for your friends or family is to help with big decisions. Planning a wedding can be time consuming and stressful, so helping the bride or groom choose from the overwhelming array of options may lift some of the burden. When my best friend went shopping for her wedding dress, she had her sister FaceTime me so that I could give my opinion on the various gowns she was considering. When it came time to decide on a hairstyle, she sent me photographs and invited me to her Pinterest page. These casual moments and conversations may not seem like a big deal, but being part of the wedding process is a great way to stay present and let your loved ones know you care.
3. Create a Memorable Wedding Activity
When you can't attend a wedding, you're not only missing the ceremony, but the reception is well. You don't get the opportunity to celebrate your loved one's marriage, which can be a huge letdown. One way to stay involved is to write a speech and have someone read it aloud.
For my best friend's wedding, I had one of our childhood besties read my comical yet heartfelt speech at the rehearsal dinner and it was a huge hit. In addition, there are lots of fun and crafty wedding activities you can create and send along in your stead. Make a personalized sign-in book with photos of the bride and groom. Or my personal favorite, create your own message-in-a-bottle time capsule: label a few empty wine bottles with “One Year," “Five Years" and “Ten Years." Then provide paper and pens so that guests can write messages for the bride and groom to open on each respective anniversary!
4. Livestream the Ceremony
Watching two people vow to love one other eternally is pretty powerful. Luckily you don't have to miss out just because you can't physically be there! With video chat technology like Skype or FaceTime, you can watch your loved ones exchange their vows in real time.
Ask a friend or family member who is attending the ceremony to connect with you beforehand, then have them hold up their smart phone or tablet so you can be part of the action! I'll never forget watching my best friend walk down the aisle from the hospital bed while in labor.
It may not have been the experience we had always imagined, but thanks to technology, she and I managed to create lifelong memories without ever being in the same room.