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Ask the rabbi Family and Society Year of Mourning for Parents

Wedding during Mourning Period

Question
I plan to get married in November which is 9 months after the buriel of my grandparents. Can my parents attend the wedding. Being that my fiance is 40 and risk for pregnancy goes up, we do not want to delay the wedding, however, my mom says she will not be able to. I don’t understand how she can visit me in Florida from NY on vacation, go out to dinners, watch tv, however not attend a wedding celebration of her son.
Answer
Shalom, Mazal Tov! May you be blessed to build a house of blessings, love and Torah. Many times, the emotional side of mourning makes it difficult for people to accept the halachic rulings - and when we add the many customs and superstitions that surround mourning, the problem is even harder. I imagine your mother is having a hard time with the death of her parents. May I suggest that you get her (or your) Rabbi to gently talk to her about attending your wedding, as a respected third party might be of help here. In connection with the law - one who is in the year of mourning may attend the wedding of their children. This is the accepted halachic ruling, and as such there is no room for parents not to participate in this very special moment of their children's lives. The parents have a unique part in the mitzvah of bringing joy to the bride and groom. This includes the Chuppah and the wedding feast, even if live music will be played. (See Mourning in Halacha, Rav Goldberg, 25,17. See Aruch HaShulchan, Y.D. 391,10. See Igrot Moshe Y.D. 2, 171. See Gesher HaHaim 21:8:11). There is a discussion as to whether they may sit and eat normally, or whether they should move around the hall and not eat in a fixed place, or perhaps help serve in some small way. You should discuss these opinions with the Rabbi who will be performing the wedding. I have seen quoted that the souls of the departed relatives also attend the wedding of their family, in a spiritual sense. This might be of some comfort to your mother, as she should know that by attending your wedding she is not in any way "insulting" her departed parents - but rather joining with them to bring joy and blessings to the new couple. Again - Mazal Tov.
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