Should I attend my son's wedding?


My son is getting married in December. Despite his upbringing and Catholic school education he fell away from the Church. His relationship with his best friend (attended the same Catholic schools) and his fiance is totally morally reprehensible. They have been living a “manage a trois” for 3 years. I do not doubt that the “sharing” will continue after the civil ceremony. The best friend will be the best man at the wedding.

Listening to Catholic radio I hear situations where callers are told they cannot be the best man or maid of honor in Protestant wedding or in weddings where a Catholic is marrying outside the Church. This is because the positions of best man and maid of honor act as the official witnesses to the marriage. The callers are told that they can attend the wedding as a guest. In some situations the callers are told not to attend the wedding but that it would be OK to attend the reception.

I am totally repulsed by the life my son is living. If I do not attend in some way, however, I know I will loose all contact with my son and any future interaction to influence him to change his life to the better. (He has a will of iron.) If I attend only the reception it would look very strange to all attending, especially to my ex-husband. He does not know of his son’s lifestyle and I would have to tell him my reason for not attending the wedding ceremony.

My daughter told him months ago that she would “be busy that day”. This has brought him to tears and is upsetting him dearly. I am afraid that she is being too staunch in her stand and should at least attend the reception. Not attending in some fashion would mean a permanent split between them.

What should I do? What should my daughter do? All opinions woudl be appreciated.


I wish the Bishops would definitively answer this question for Catholics. I think it would be a great act of mercy for them to do so.

If there is an authentic teaching on the subject of attending these kinds of “weddings”, someone please point it out to us.

Personally, I would not attend, I would tell the other parent exactly why, and I would tell the groom exactly why.


You are not an official witness. You are his mother. Your son and his fiance are marrying each other in terms of their limited vision. Although they are not exchanging vows according to canonical form, they will still be married in a certain sense. By skipping the wedding and reception you could cause resentments that might last for years.

A day may come when your son will want to return to the Church, and that desire could be influenced by your love for him in spite of his mistakes. Your absence will mean rejection of his ‘marriage’, and he may feel disowned. Something tells me he is aware of your disapproval as he should be, but I think you should be glad for him that he is going from playing house to making a commitment of some form. Stop moralizing. Invite them over for supper. Go to the wedding. Go to the reception. Welcome his wife into the family as your daughter-in-law, and leave their reversion up to God.


I think you should go. Not because you condone what he has done, not because you feel you have no alternative, but out of love for your son.


Good morning, Shouva.

I don’t have any advice just yet but I do have a question. Are you saying that your son, his fiance, and friend are having an intimate ‘ménage a trios’ relationship? Do all three share the same bedroom or just share the same house?

I’m a little surprised that if this was an intimate relationship of three, that two would marry and leave the other person odd man out. And why bother getting married if they are only going to break their vows?

I think I’m missing something here.


Is there any person here who thinks that this marriage, later brought before an annulment tribunal, would not be instantly judged null?

So, they’re not really exchanging vows of marriage at all. They’re play acting.


I am a mother of a grown son and I would definitely attend. I’d tell him privately about your concerns and disappointment in some of his choices, but isn’t true Christianity about love, acceptance and forgiveness? To me, not attending the wedding would really upset your son AND your new daughter in law. What about when children come. Do you want to be left out of their lives too? You don’t have to approve, but you will regret it someday. Would you rather be right or be in your son’s life?


I would go out of love for my child, i wouldnt however give them a present and would not help pay for the wedding.

I supect that you son and his friend and his fiance are sharing a house-not a bed. I have a niece who is doing the same thing -they rent a room to a male friend. no big deal IMO…


Welcome to the slippery slope.

“you don’t want to cut ties with him”
“You don’t want to be out of his life!”
“What about when grandchildren come?”

So, you sign on to be a passive witness to every depravity.

Now, they want to come visit and all share a bedroom. What do you do? You don’t want to be “out of his life”, do you? So you let them do whatever they do in your house.

Now, they need some money, they ask you for a loan. You don’t want to be “out of his life” so now you’re paying for them to live like this.

Now they join a new-age spiritualist group. They want you to come to a baby-dedication-ceremony, where they ask Gaia to bless their child. Well, you don’t want be “out of his life”…

Instead, consider that you’re not doing his soul any good by being a mute witness to his sins. You may be actually doing good by standing up to it, clearly articulating your objection, and then praying mightily for him.


I think what you’ve got to remember is that there is no ideal way of reacting when someone behaves wrongly. In fact that is almost a definition of wrong.
If you attend the wedding you are condoning his behaviour, if you don’t you are judging it, but you can’t necessarily keep up very high standards yourself, so maybe that is hypocritical. Either way you lose.
Personally I would say “I don’t think this is a real marriage” and not attend. I think in the long run it might make things easier for him. But ultimately we in the forum cannot really tell you what is right.


Shouva, I just searched your posts and I see that you asked about this kind of relationship last October. It does indeed sound like a true ‘ménage a trios’ situation.

This is my opinion, and my opinion only, but I wouldn’t attend the wedding or reception. In my eyes, this whole thing is riddled with future implications, especially for a child that could come into the picture. If I was the mother, I couldn’t in my right mind even give the slightest bit of acceptance. That is how strongly I would feel about something like this. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t be in my son’s future but that I can in no way advocate that type of behavior.

But I am not you, and only you can decide for yourself what is best. This is truly a pickle and I pray that you come to a decision that gives you peace.



I guess for me, you might want to tell him and maybe her your reservations about their situation. It is not your decision to make, but certainly you can say if it is good or not. I’d go, and not be cold about the whole thing, as if your only doing a favor for him by being there.

Situations are not static, people can change. You never know what the Holy Spirit is doing in a person. He may not have a lot of good Cathlolics or even other types of Chrisitians in his life. I don’t think you’d want his lasting impressions of Catholism as “Puritians who go to bed scared there are people out there having fun.” The best aplogia tends to be the one where someone can look at you and think, how do I get what she has.

It sounds like he does have some desire to have acceptance by his family, otherwise I don’t think he would have been as upset at your daughter. You don’t have to condone it, but being there might be enough to let him know you care. Chances are things will go bad at some point in time in the marriage, what marriage does not find it’s trouble at some point in time? You might be able to bring a good influence at that time. Plus if your too strong willed, chances with him being strong willed, even if he does conclude you might be right, it’ll take a very long time for him to show it, and might even do otherwise to spite you.

What else can I say, pray and try to bring a joy to your life, that he might find more attractive than the path he is on right now.


Are you certain of their sexual relationship, or are the 3 just sharing living space?

I was aware of a couple who shared their house with a 3rd male renter, but there was definitely no sexual relationship involved. It was simply a couple renting space to a friend. Of course, to those who did not know better, it might have appeared strange, but it was definitely on the up and up.

It would seem strange 2 would ‘tie the knot’ and leave the 3rd out in the cold if indeed they were having a sexual relationship.


Hello again, Shouva. I’m sorry to keep peppering you with questions and I promise that this will be my last. Since it sounds like your son and his best friend go way back to childhood, do you know the best friend’s parents? Have you spoken to them about it? What about the fiance?

I just can’t see everybody jumping on the band wagon about this. One doesn’t even have to object for religious reasons only. There are plenty of other objections that people can have.


You cannot abandon a child. As a mother or father, you have a life-long committment and you cannot walk away from it.

Always be there for your children, no matter what. Who knows what the future will bring, how their hearts may change? You want to be there when that happens.


I could never condone my child living in a state of sin. As much as I might love them, I love their immortal soul even more, and to condone and validate an activity which results in the state of mortal sin, would be (in my mind) sinful itself.

I know this is not a popular stance, but I just feel very strongly that validation of the lifestyle (how can you appear as mother of the groom and NOT be seen as validating) is not doing him any favors.

You are not saying you have turned your back on him - you are saying that you do not support, agree with, or condone his lifestyle choice. Just because you do not show up at this event does not mean you have left him. Only that you are trying to live the example that EVERY parent should live for their children.

I wish you the best with this. I’m sure it won’t be easy, regardless which direction you choose to take.

(Oh - and to Jimbo2 - if the situation is as she describes, how do we know any subsequent grandchildren are even his?)



(Oh - and to Jimbo2 - if the situation is as she describes, how do we know any subsequent grandchildren are even his?)

That’s true.

Personally, seeing the attitudes toward sex prevalent in youth culture, I think we are going to see a lot more of this in the decade to come.


I don’t see how we make things better by abandoning our children. Did not Jesus associate with tax collectors and other “undesirables?”


How is not attending this event “abandonment”??? It is living the proper example and giving a clear message of where you stand on the issue. That’s all. No where did I ever suggest or even hint at abandonment and totally giving up on him. To the contrary - living the good example and staying in his life is exactly what one would WANT to do! But validation of this event is NOT the way to do that.



We’ll never resolve this. The Bishops know (at least I hope not ALL of them are catatonic) that people are suffering making these decisions, they need to help us. Of course, if the teaching came from the USCCB, who knows if it even resembles authentic Catholicism? That’s mostly a group of busybody liberal lay-people anyway.

Where’s Bruskewitz when you need him?

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