Your wedding is a special day to spend with friends and family but unfortunately due to the tragedies of life some of our loved ones may not make it when that day comes. Many cultures across the world have very strong and common ways of honoring lost loved ones at their wedding, this isn’t the case in the west. Many couples avoid the idea all together afraid it will dampen the mood of guests be seen as inappropriate as it’s not a common thing to do. This is far from the case honoring lost loved ones on your wedding day is more than acceptable and can be handled in a manner that is both respectful and appropriate.
Wearing a Reminder
This method can be one of the most subtle and most meaningful depending on how it’s done, in some cases no one will ever know without you announcing it. This is a great way of keeping the memory of this person close to you throughout the day. The memento can be something small as cufflinks or a pair of earrings to a wedding dress itself. Superstition dictates having ‘something old and something new’, this item being something more meaningful makes it all the more important.
In Tribute of
Still a small second but taking the time to include in your program a small mention of your lost loved one in the form of a small moment of honor. Short, simple and respectful; “In Loving Memory”. This method is not as subtle as wearing a small memento but is just as valuable and respectful when honoring lost loved ones and gives guests who knew this person a brief moment in their honor as well.
A Reserved Seat
If the loved one was supposed to be a guest at the wedding and even if they were not setting an empty seat at the ceremony and/or reception is a soft touch yet a great moment of honor. To keep this seat vacant placing a large photograph or memento in their honor with a large message “In Loving Memory” possibly designed by your calligrapher or yourself will remind guests to be respectful and keep the seat free.
A Memory Tables
It is common in the west to light candles in the honor of lost loved ones as a symbol that their flame will live on and this is a practical and beautiful way of honoring lost members at your wedding. Setting a small table at the entry way or near the cake table with a candle and a photograph of the departed is a simple and elegant representation of love and honor.
Donations in Their Name
A more touching and beautiful action would be to offer guests the chance to make a donation for a cause that meant something to the departed in lieu of wedding gifts. The chosen organization can be a nonprofit they worked for, a cause they represented every day or a group dedicated to curing or spreading knowledge about the potential ailment that may have taken their life. If you choose this way of honoring be sure to thank guests for whatever they contribute.
A Silent Moment
A much more sobering approach is letting guests be a part of the memorial by having a moment of silence at some point during the speeches by maid-of-honor and best-man. This can be a much more bold approach but does not need to take away from the mood of the guests. If you don’t feel comfortable making an announcement in the middle of the receptions, having a small moment where a few chosen guests step aside, even leave the reception hall briefly and release balloons or light candles in the memory of those past.
The above are just a handful of ways that you can honor the passing of loved ones at your wedding day. At the end of the day it is all up to you and your partner what route you want to take if any when taking the time to bring important loved ones into your day. Remember this is your day, who you honor is all up to the both of you and is not unpleasant in any way but respectful and appropriate for you as a couple.