For those who have lost a loved one before their wedding, it can be a bittersweet time. The excitement of getting married can be tempered by the sadness of not having that special person there to celebrate with you. It can be especially hard for a bride who will not have her father there to walk her down the aisle. Something that can help is to find ways to honor the memory of your loved one during the wedding.
Remembering a departed family member at your wedding requires that a careful balance be struck. You want to find a way to do it that is upbeat, so you do not turn a joyous occasion into a somber one. If you think that a particular gesture would be depressing for your guests, choose a different one. Also take into consideration the feelings of any wedding guests who were also close to the departed; it might be a good idea to let them know your plans in advance, so they are not overcome with emotion on the wedding day.
There are many lovely ways that a loved one can be honored. One bride I know held her wedding on the birthday of her beloved grandma. Carrying on traditions from a parent or grandparent’s wedding would also be a very appropriate form of remembrance. You might choose to carry a replica of your grandmother’s bridal bouquet, or have a piece of lace from her wedding gown sewn into the hem of your dress.
If you have the bridal jewelry worn by a family member, you could incorporate it into your outfit without having to do a complete vintage look. For instance, an inherited pair of pearl and platinum earrings could be paired with more contemporary bridal jewelry created from sterling silver, pearls, and Swarovski crystals. It would make an affordable coordinate to the cherished heirloom.
I have also seen couples choose a special motif that reminds them of their loved ones. Butterflies are one good example that could be used throughout the wedding. Customs honoring and celebrating the heritage of the departed are another wonderful idea. If the groom’s father was from Scotland, all of the men in the wedding party could wear kilts in his family tartan. If the bride’s mother was a born and bred Southerner, a reception featuring all of her favorite recipes would be a fitting tribute.
Other suggestions are to light a special candle in remembrance during the ceremony, or to do the first dance to the same song as the loved one did at his wedding. You could also display a picture of that person at the reception; a wedding picture would be particularly nice. If you choose to go with a photograph, limit it to one; too many images of the departed will make your reception feel more like a wake. Another beautiful tribute would be to wear a locket with your loved one’s picture inside. Although it may initially seem like a good idea, avoid issuing the wedding invitation in the name of a deceased parent. Only the living can invite guests to an event, and frankly, it would set too sad a tone for the whole wedding.
Any loss of a cherished person is difficult. Their absence will be most strongly felt during special occasions, such as holidays or at a wedding. Tastefully paying tribute to that person is a lovely way to honor their memory and include them in your special day.