Re­mem­ber Me

Hon­our­ing Loved Ones in Wed­ding Cer­e­monies

My Wedding - - WEDDING | CEREMONIES - By St­eff Moore

Your wed­ding day will be one of the hap­pi­est mo­ments in your life, but you may be strug­gling to deal with the fact that a re­cently passed loved one won’t be there. Whether it’s a par­ent, rel­a­tive or close friend, plan­ning your wed­ding day with­out them can make the whole thing seem sad. How­ever, it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to ded­i­cate a part of your wed­ding cer­e­mony to hon­our­ing their life – if they can’t be there in per­son, at least al­low them to be there in spirit.

The dif­fi­culty comes with think­ing of a way to hon­our the de­ceased, with­out your day turn­ing mor­bid. Af­ter all, you want peo­ple to cel­e­brate with you, not dwell on the loss of loved ones. When I work with cou­ples who want to re­mem­ber loved ones, I sug­gest sim­ple, un­ob­tru­sive ways to hon­our their mem­ory with­out de­tract­ing from the spirit of the day.

If the de­ceased per­son would have played a prom­i­nent role in the wed­ding, such as a par­ent or close friend, you might like to des­ig­nate a chair for them at the front of the room. Af­ter you’ve walked down the aisle, you could place your flow­ers on the chair as an of­fer­ing.

You could place a pic­ture of the de­ceased on the wall in the cer­e­mony venue, or on the ta­ble or al­tar. Choose a lively photo that cap­tures their per­son­al­ity – show them the way you like to re­mem­ber them. If you find the idea of promi­nently dis­play­ing pic­tures of dead rel­a­tives or friends too overt, you may like to use small photo charms – pic­ture frames about the size of postage stamps, tucked dis­creetly into your bou­quet – al­low­ing you to en­joy the pres­ence of your loved ones through­out the whole day.

If you’re print­ing or­der-of-ser­vice pro­grams for the cer­e­mony, you could in­clude a ded­i­ca­tion to your loved one – per­haps a poem, or sim­ply a note ex­press­ing your love for them and how much you’d have liked them to be there. You could list them as an hon­orary grooms­man or a “guest from heaven.” Af­ter the wed­ding, this pro­gram be­comes a beau­ti­ful re­minder of your me­mo­rial.

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony it­self, you might light a can­dle or in­clude a prayer, me­mo­rial poem or mo­ment of si­lence for the de­parted. Your cel­e­brant could say a few words about the de­ceased and the role they had in your life. When deal­ing with such a sen­si­tive topic, it’s im­por­tant to choose a cel­e­brant you trust and feel com­fort­able with. A me­mo­rial should be spe­cial and re­flect your feel­ings and ex­pe­ri­ence, not just a few words from a “script”.

Al­ter­na­tively, you could save your trib­ute for the re­cep­tion, per­haps ac­knowl­edg­ing the de­ceased in your speech, or plac­ing pho­to­graphs or al­bums along­side the guest­book. Some cou­ples like to set up a pro­jec­tor to show pho­to­graphs from their re­la­tion­ship at the re­cep­tion – you could in­cor­po­rate pic­tures with spe­cial mean­ing to you.

There are many ways to re­mem­ber the dead with­out bring­ing down the mood of your wed­ding day. It’s up to you to de­cide if you want a me­mo­rial and the best way to do it. What­ever you de­cide, it has to res­onate with you and speak to your own ideals and be­liefs. Re­mem­ber, your loved ones are look­ing down on you and smil­ing! Happy Plan­ning! St­eff St­eff Moore is an Auck­land-based mar­riage cel­e­brant spe­cial­is­ing in al­ter­na­tive wed­ding cer­e­monies. Visit her blog at http://goth­icwed­ding­plan­ner.com for a feast of weird and won­der­ful wed­ding in­spi­ra­tion. Con­tact her on st­eff@goth­icwed­ding­plan­ner.com.

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