Losing a parent or loved one is one of the hardest things you will ever experience. We always think of parents and relatives as those who take part in our celebrations and occasions like holidays, birthdays, and weddings.
As your wedding approaches, it is normal to feel the pain of this loss, no matter how long it’s been since you lost your relatives or parents. This is especially true in the absence of a close loved one who was always present in your life.
Fortunately, whether you are hosting a small intimate gathering or a big party with everyone you know, there are many ways to incorporate their memory into your special day.
WAYS TO HONOR THE DECEASED DURING WEDDING SPEECHES
One of the most common ways to honor a deceased loved one at a wedding is to incorporate their memory into the wedding speech. Whether you, your spouse, or another relative is giving a speech, here are some ways you can remember your loved ones.
1. Read a poem of remembrance
Poetry helps put words to the feelings and experiences that identify us. If you are trying to find the right words to capture your father’s love, your mother’s warmth, or your grandmother’s wisdom, reading a memorial poem during your wedding might be a perfect idea. You can read a poem you wrote yourself, a modern poem, or a classic piece of poetry.
Keep in mind that this could get emotional. It’s best to print it, write it, or place it somewhere visible so you have the entire poem with you when it’s time to read it.
2. Toast your loved one
Another option is to offer a toast on behalf of your loved one. By toasting them, you will encourage your whole family, friends, and guests to honor them on this special day. Better yet, consider toasting with their favorite drink to honor their memory.
3. Read a letter from or to your loved one
If you want something more personal, read a letter from your loved one or write one of your own. Many parents write notes to their children to read on their wedding day. Do you have a letter from your parent or loved one to you? Consider reading it on your wedding day to remind you of their love.
If you don’t have a letter or note from your loved one, consider writing your own letter. Explain what their love to you meant and why you want them to be part of your wedding day.
You could read either of these aloud during your wedding. If you want this to be a private moment, then you can simply read it while you’re getting ready for the day.
4. Hold a time of silence
An easy way to incorporate the memory of your loved ones into your special day is to hold a special time of silence. Simply take a few moments to quietly reflect on your own before the festivities start, with your partner during the ceremony, or with your guests during the reception.
5. Say a prayer or share a quote
Last but not least, you can include the memory of your late loved one in your wedding speech through prayer or a quote. You can choose from anything that reminds you or your loved one such as a classic prayer, quote from a TV show, or lyrics from a song. Sharing these with your guests will honor the memory of your loved one and help you feel closer to them.
WAYS TO HONOR A LOVED ONE DURING THE CEREMONY
The ceremony itself is another perfect place to honor a deceased loved one during your wedding day. It takes a little pre-planning, but it can help you feel closer to their memory when it’s time to say your vows.
6. Leave a chair open
Your loved one would have been sitting in the first few rows during your ceremony, so why not leave a chair open to represent their presence? They may not be there with you in person, but their memory will be. Leaving a seat in front is a way to remember that your loved one is looking down on you.
7. Light a memorial candle
In many cultures, lighting a candle is a beautiful symbol of unity that takes place during the ceremony. Two candles are traditionally lit to represent both families or people, then a single candle is lit to represent the married couple. As a twist on this tradition, consider keeping the family candles lit to honor lost loved ones, or lighting a candle to represent loved ones that have passed away.
8. Write a message in the programs
If you plan on printing a program that details the events for your wedding day, this can be a perfect place to write a message in honor of your loved one. If you want to honor a loved one, write a short tribute. It can be as simple as mentioning their name with the words “remembering” or “In remembrance.”
9. Carry a memento with you
As the saying goes, you’re supposed to wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” Consider wearing a memento or carrying one with you in your bouquet during your special day. A memento could be anything from their cuff links and handkerchief to an heirloom necklace you received.
10. Honor their memory during the ceremony
Talk to the officiant and tell them you’d like to honor your loved one’s memory during the ceremony. They may provide several options such as reading quotes, passages, and other tributes that they have read in cases like this.
WAYS TO HONOR THE DECEASED DURING THE RECEPTION
When it comes to the reception, it’s usually the less formal part of your wedding celebration. You often spend this time talking to friends and family, and it’s a great time to incorporate some ways to honor your loved one.
12. Play a favorite song
Playing your loved one’s favorite song is a great way to start the party. When you play this song the first time you dance or as part of your playlist, you’re sure to keep their memory close.
11. Father and daughter dance
If you’ve lost your father, the father-daughter dance might be pretty daunting. Consider inviting a trusted loved one, such as an uncle, family friend, sibling, or mother, to dance in his place so you can continue the tradition. During the dance, share your favorite memories with your loved one and remember that your dad is always with you.
12. Create a commemorative presentation
Consider sharing slide shows, videos, and memories of your loved one. You can play this so your guests view it with you or simply play it in the background. When creating such a presentation, include photos of you and your loved one, family photos, and special memories of your time together.
13. Visit their grave
Last but not least, you can visit your loved one’s grave after the ceremony or reception. You can do this before the day begins, the day after your wedding, or even right after the wedding. Visit the grave alone or with your spouse, tell them how much you love them, and leave a bouquet to share your joy and let them be part of the festivities.
CELEBRATE THE MEMORY OF YOUR LOVED ONES
Remembering a loved one during your wedding day is something you’ll think back on for the rest of your life. Although the loss of a parent, close relative, friend, or other loved one is always difficult, you can still honor his or her memory during the biggest milestone in your life. Incorporating their memory into your ceremony and reception along with the above tips is a special way to feel close to your late loved one.
A wedding is a time of joy, celebration, and friendship. It is also a reminder that life is short and we should live every moment to the fullest. Take a few moments to honor those you have lost during the greatest day of your life. Not only will you feel like they are part of your big day, but you will feel their love watching over you.
By guest blogger, Sherrie Johnson. Sherrie is a writer at JoinCake.com, an end-of-life planning website with free resources and information on how to honor loved ones’ final wishes.