Attending Child's Wedding: Wedding Ceremony Response on Ask the Rabbi
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Attending Child's Wedding

My mother passed away about two months ago while on a more positive note, my son recently became engaged. Unless we delay the wedding inordinately long, it will fall out while I am still in mourning. Are there any restrictions to my participating in the wedding?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

I’m very sorry about your mother’s passing, may her soul be granted an elevation in heaven.

You can definitely attend your son’s wedding – which is considered a personal festival for you and so to some extent overrides mourning. Some have the custom to sit separately from the regular guests or to serve as a waiter. However, since the general custom is that the parents of the bride and groom sit with their children and their absence would cause them pain, many are lenient that the parents can attend the wedding as normal. You should still help a bit with the serving. (It’s better to ask your community rabbi or the officiating rabbi at the ceremony if he recommends differently.) Regardless, you should not take part in the dancing. (Sources: Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 391:3; Igrot Moshe Y.D. II 169, O.C. IV 40:16.)

Note that this ruling applies even if a person is within the first 30 days (shloshim) of mourning his parent (but not during the first 7 days of shiva).

Finally, regarding the week of sheva brachot (the festival meals given in honor of the bride and groom during the week after the wedding), you may not attend the meals except on Shabbat. This is because one may not publicly mourn on Shabbat, and the absence of the groom’s parent would be a conspicuous sign of mourning.

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