Somebody you consider dear has passed; how do you honor them on your wedding day without bringing everyone’s mood down a few notches?
I know this problem well. We were all missing my husband during his son’s wedding, but when the Best Man stood to honor him with a sincere tribute (which might have been a longer speech than his toast to the bride and groom!), tears—and not the happy kind!—started to flow.
No one should have to leave the reception to dry their eyes. And while this may sound harsh, your wedding is not your loved one’s memorial service. Weddings are joyous occasions, and my gut tells me that your loved ones would not want you to choose your special day to mourn.
- Place pictures of everyone who’s important to you, living or not, on a table at the reception. If you can add lots of goofy and fun pictures to the mix, it’ll become a celebration of life instead of a memorial.
- If you’re having a video montage at your reception, don’t forget you’re the star of the show. Always keep the photos light and fun, and make sure the music has an upbeat tempo.
- Is there a piece of Grandma’s jewelry you can wear at the ceremony? Is there material from her wedding dress that you can have made into a handkerchief? Can the groom wear his grandpa’s cuff links? Just the act of wearing something of theirs can make you feel closer.
- Incorporate a favorite bible verse, poem, or song in the ceremony. You can mention the significance in your wedding program, but don’t call attention to the reason during the event.
- No poems coming to mind? Simply include their name in a special note in your wedding program: “Here in our hearts we honor…” You can add a dove, butterfly, or a cross after their name, or maybe even a little note that says: “we love that we know you are here in spirit, Grandpa”
Whatever you choose to do, remember: It’s your day. You set the boundaries. Discuss your feelings with your family and anyone giving toasts and speeches (including your officiant).
The day after my son’s wedding, I took flowers from the wedding and went to the park to set them on the memorial bench donated in honor of my husband’s life. I sat there for a while, cried a little, and left the bench thinking about how Russell and Alix were on their way to their honeymoon and new life together. That made me smile.