Weddings are generally happy times for families to be together to celebrate. But if there have been recent losses or losses of significant loved ones in the bride or groom’s lives, a wedding without these loved ones may seem very sad. There are many ways to remember these significant individuals on the wedding day which would honor them and keep them close to the celebration without upsetting the bridal party or the guests with sad thoughts. Consider these memorial ideas for weddings:
- Plan special ways to include your missing loved ones in your entire wedding–your color scheme could include your mother’s favorite color; the musicians or DJ could play some of your brother’s favorite songs, you might carry your grandmother’s favorite flowers in your bouquet. These do not have to be announced to everyone–they are your special remembrances.
- Discuss beforehand with your wedding officiant anything you would like to do during the ceremony like lighting a memorial candle. The three of you can decide together what would be the most appropriate way to handle this.
- Feature the reading of a favorite poem or the playing of a particular song during your ceremony which is dedicated to the memory of your loved one.
- Include a message in your wedding program that briefly mentions that those family members no longer with you are being carried in your hearts on this special day.
- Dedicate a special hymn or appropriate musical selection played before the ceremony to this person(s)’ memory. Put this dedication in your wedding program.
- Have a short prayer before or at the beginning of the ceremony to recognize the loved ones who are no longer with you
- Reserve an empty chair or pew with a flower, framed photo or tentcard in honor of your loved one.
- Carry something subtle down the aisle with you to help you remember this special person–your mother’s earrings or necklace or the Bible she carried at her wedding, lace from your grandmother’s handkerchief wrapped about the bridal bouquet, a handkerchief made from a favorite shirt of your father’s or your grandfather’s pocket watch tucked in your pocket.
- Have small photo charms made with these loved ones’ photos and attach them to your bouquet or jacket lapel, make them into a locket or bracelet, or carry them in your pocket to keep them with you throughout the day.
- Have a tiny memento of your loved one–a charm, a small piece of jewelry or memorable fabric, a pin, medal or badge–sewn into your bridal gown or in your tuxedo’s inner pocket to keep your loved one close to your heart.
- Ask your officiant and wedding venue if you could do a dove or butterfly release during your ceremony, at the end of the ceremony before guests leave for the reception or at the reception itself. Doves and butterflies are symbols of unending love
- Set up a table at the reception with framed photograph of your loved ones–you might also put out a few special items that belong
- Prepare a slide show of the bridal couple’s lives for the reception, and include happy photos of them with their missing loved ones while focusing on the upbeat.