In loving Memory…
Weddings are intended to be a joyous and celebratory occasion with our closest family and friends. Unfortunately, due to life’s grueling circumstances, there are loved ones who aren’t able to make it to our special day. Whether it’s mom, dad, sisters, brothers, grandparents, or friends, we have accumulated a few creative ideas to honor them and include them in the wedding even though they may not physically be present.
First, before you make a decision on how to move forward, consider the amount of time that has passed since you lost this person. The more recent it is, the more of an impact it will have on the overall day which might affect the type of tribute you want to make on them. Also, consider whether or not you want this special tribute to be for your eyes only or for everyone to partake in. This could alter which direction you go in as well. Your goal is to recognize this person in an honorable, memorable way rather than reliving the emotions and feelings of the initial wound.
Here are 8 ways to honor your loved ones at your wedding day.
Reserve a Seat
Reserve a special seat in the front row of the ceremony space by placing a photo of the person. Make it personal by adding a boutonniere or corsage that matches the rest of the family/bridal party. You could always make a personalize sign to place on the chair as well.
For example, “We know that you’d be here today if Heaven wasn’t so far away”
Instead of a photo, or in addition to a photo, you can use one of their most prized possessions; an item from their military uniform, police hat, dog tags, her most favorite pair of shoes she wore daily, a bouquet of her favorite flowers, or something that was distinctly theirs.
Many times the bride and groom will choose to have a moment of silence for the loved one during the ceremony. Sometimes this can be too much to bear. If you are looking to take it a step further, consider lighting a candle. It can be similar to a traditional unity candle or a special candle made for this person. Take a moment to light the candle. Invite close family to join in to integrate everyone.
Then after the ceremony you can place the lit candle in a special place. Add it to a memorial table with a bunch of their photos, place it on that beautiful grand piano (if applicable), or on the place setting on a dining table.
Some wedding locations have monumental pieces such as a grand piano. Using the top of the piano or a mantel, makes for an incredible, unique twist on a memorial table.
A more intimate and personal approach to including someone on your wedding day would be to place a photo inside a locket. You can hang the locket around your neck or attach it to any of your jewelry so they stay close to you all night.
A more creative approach would be to hang it from your bouquet, or the back of your shoes
Keen in on their Personality, Hobbies, and Interests
Was this person infamous for something? Did they always have a cigar in hand? Or maybe they had a ridiculously large coin collection everyone knew about. Were they always cracking jokes, making everyone laugh? Do something they would be proud of.
Host a cigar bar if they were avid cigar smokers. Did they always play a certain song on the piano? Have the DJ take a moment and play it during dinner. Incorporate their coin collection by filling the bottom of a few glass candle holders with coins and place it on their memorial table. If grandma was infamous for her spaghetti recipe, turn that recipe into your guest’s name cards for table assignments! Not only is it a great way to remember someone but it is creative and your guests will be thankful for the secret!
Dedicate a Page in the Program
The program can be placed on each seat for the ceremony or passed out to guests as they arrive. By dedicating a page in the program to a loved one, everyone can read and cope at their own leisure. It also makes for a great keep-sake for the guests who were close to them.
The dedication should include a photo and a brief explanation of who this person was for the guests who may not know. It can also include a great story that explains their personality, a funny moment they had with the bride and groom or a personal note about how this person impacted their relationship.
What better way to celebrate someone’s life than with a shot or a toast! Many times the venue will pass out a champagne toast for all guests during toasting time. Ask if you can change that out for scotch or whiskey or something particular that your special loved one would have loved. Instead of a champagne toast, take a group shot in honor of them.
Another option is to name a signature drink after them, or create a signature drink that mirrors something they loved.
If you have something sentimental from them, try and incorporate into your wardrobe. Maybe its lace you can make a veil out of, or fabric to make a garter. Maybe it’s something blue of theirs that you can use as the traditional “something blue.” Gentlemen, use old cuff links, wear a special tie, or cut an old shirt and use it as a pocket square. These are creative ways to incorporate a loved one without broadcasting it to your guests. It makes for a more intimate memorial to them.
This can be for the entire party or just exclusive to close family. If your wedding location has some open space, at the end of the evening, release Chinese lanterns or balloons as a group. Not only is this a very special moment for everyone but also makes for an incredible photo opportunity as well.
Use your wedding location to your advantage. If there are plenty of trees, try hanging photos to put a spin on a memorial “table.” But before you begin to make these decisions, make sure you first decide whether you want it to be an intimate memorial or something to be shared with the group.
If the loss of this person was recent, you may want to let family members and relevant people know ahead of time that you will be honoring them so they can prepare. Whatever you choose to do to honor them will be beautiful. Just remember to bring their personality into it and make it special to them. There is nothing more honorable than having your closest family and friends remember something crazy spectacular about someone! Remember, at the end of the day, it still is a wedding and you don’t want to take away from the ultimate union and celebration that brought everyone together.