Annie Lane

Dear Annie: My son and his fiancee are getting married next month at the courthouse in the city where they live. Due to their feelings about COVID-19 and the travel involved (they live in another state), family is not invited and they will only have their two attendants.

They plan on having another ceremony for family and friends in 2022.

How are other families handling situations like these? I never thought I wouldn’t be invited to my son’s wedding. He is acting like it’s not a big deal, and I’m trying to respect that. But I’m a little hurt.

Do we give them their wedding gift now or wait, or do both?

 — Sad Mom

Dear Sad Mom: My congratulations on your son’s marriage and my sympathies that you can’t be there in person to see it officiated. Perhaps your son could set up his phone to stream a live video from the courthouse that you and other friends and family members can watch to feel more part of the ceremony. As for the wedding present, it’s entirely up to you to give one now or wait until the friends-and-family ceremony.

As hard as it will be not to be there in person that day, keep in mind that your son doesn’t want you to be there precisely because he cares about you. And he’s wise to be cautious. There are many instances of weddings, even relatively small ones, becoming hotspots for COVID-19 transmission. Take the Texas wedding in June at which at least 12 people were infected, including the 76-year-old grandfather of the groom, who ended up in the emergency room with double pneumonia, and the stepmother of the groom, who missed the births of two grandchildren because she was sick and quarantining.

Then in August, there was the Maine wedding that resulted in at least 170 cases and eight deaths. (None of the people who died had attended the wedding, but they had each been in contact with someone who did.)

While a handful of people at the courthouse would pose less risk than a large reception, it’s still a risk. Plus, small guest lists have a way of multiplying: If they invited you, then they’d have to invite the bride’s parents, too. Then the grandparents and siblings might want to come. And so on.

Of course, it’s a huge disappointment that you won’t be there when your son is legally married. Looking at the big picture, though, you’ve raised a conscientious young man who has found the love of his life. In a bleak year, that is blissful news.

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