While weddings tend to be filled with happy emotions, they also seem to highlight the sad reality that people gone before us will not be able to attend and be part of the celebration as we wish they could. While we always miss those who have passed, on celebrations like weddings it becomes harder to ignore the fact that certain very special individuals are missing. For some it is a good friend, a parent, close grandparent, mentor, aunt, uncle, etc., but whoever it may be, the void cannot be filled. Rather then attempt to fill or ignore it, I suggest commemorating those individuals in a way that allows them to be close to your heart.
This is something I had to give much thought to when planning my own wedding as my husband unfortunately lost his father when he was 19 years old. It came to mind recently as I tearfully (and proudly) watched this now man escort his sister down the aisle 9 years later. 2 years ago I watched him give away his other sister's hand in marriage. With the planning of all three of our weddings within 3 years, each of the children commemorated their father in different ways, all of which were touching and in celebration of his life and all that he contributed to each of them. It was clear that He watched proudly from above on each of these days.
Along the years of attending weddings, I have seen many people pay tribute to those who have gone too soon in different ways and after this weekend, thought I would share some ideas with our readers. Some choose to make their memory something public, others more private,but however it is done, the important piece is to know that they are in your hearts and watching over your big day every step of the way.
-A memory candle: We chose to have a candle made and lit throughout the reception. As guests entered, they would find the memory candle lit, surrounded by flowers and a framed list of the names of those who gone before us whom we wanted to pay tribute to. Some choose to add poems, quotes, song lyrics or pictures surrounding the memory candle.
-A piece of clothing: A dear friend of ours lost her mother and on her wedding day, she had a piece of her mother's wedding dress sewn into the bottom of her own. It was a simple gesture that I found incredibly beautiful and touching. This can be done with any important article of clothing or something that was significant to that person (hankerchief, pocket scarf, etc)
-Jewelery/Other Significant Articles: Wearing significant jewelery is a way to keep them close in your heart, as is other things that were important to them. For instance, rosary beads around a bride's bouqet or something symbolic that the individual adored at the bride and groom's table.
-Pictures: Too many pictures of the deceased can be morbid, but one or two with the bride/groom can be a wonderful tribute. My sister in law wore a beautiful locket with her father's picture enclosed in it which brought tears to my eyes everytime I saw it
-A moment of Silence/prayer/reading:whether it be quietly amongst family prior to the hoopla of the big day, during the ceremony, or during a best man/maid of honor speech-it is an excellent, brief way to give rememberance to someone who cannot physically be part of the celebration.Using music, like their favorite song, is another idea that can be used.
-Programs: Many individuals who choose to have programs at the ceremony include brief dedication to someone who has passed
While these are only a few of our favorite general suggestions, there are many more ideas that we have seen other bride and grooms use that are individualized for the person who is so deeply loved. Making sure that the focus isn't on the saddness, but rather as a dedication and rememberance is key in order to continue on with the celebration of your marriage.
What other suggestions have others used, planned to use, or seen that helps to keep those who have gone before us close during the actualy wedding day ? We would love to hear.