General Info, Wedding Advice

How to Honour and Incorporate Deceased Loved Ones on Your Wedding Day

Missing people we love is tough, but it’s those milestone days where we can feel it most acutely. Make them a part of your wedding day, in a way that feels good in your heart.

Your wedding day is an important day, and for many people, it’s one where we’ve pictured it in our heads many times before. Dad walking you down the aisle, your grandmother letting you borrow her necklace, or your bestie making a speech. But what happens when those people aren’t there?

If you want to hold a place for them in your day, there are ways to do so.

However, first, you need to consider the appropriateness of doing so, and how it can be done without upsetting people.

  • Some people may feel it is inappropriate. It is up to you if you respect their wishes or not
  • In some cultures it may not be acceptable, for instance, to display a photo of the deceased person
  • How sensitive is this? If the death is recent, people may find it overwhelming and it may change the mood of the day if they are mentioned by name, for instance

To avoid any problems, a simple chat with people will help to alleviate any confusion or problems. Most people are happy for loved ones to be acknowledged. There are often no right or wrong ways to do this—and if you want to mention your amazing dog or cat who has since gone to the rainbow bridge, or remember someone who was part of your life journey, do it in a way that’s meaningful to you.

Ways to Incorporate Your Loved One on Your Wedding Day

There are many ways to make sure your loved ones are part of your wedding day, even if they aren’t physically there.

Incorporate their wedding dress somehow. If you Mum or grandmother for instance, had a wedding dress that’s still intact, could you re-purpose it somehow? You could wear it as your gown (with alterations), use her veil, or maybe re-make it into a reception dress. You could also make fabric flowers for your bouquet or table centrepiece.

Include their favourite flower or colour into your wedding theme. Did they love sunflowers, or did they have an amazing rose garden? Maybe they were amazing at flax weaving, could you make flax flowers, or kete for the bridesmaids to hold?

Attach their photo in a locket or ash- infused touch-stone or glass jewellery to a bouquet or boutonniere.

Have their photograph displayed. This could be anywhere you wish- along the aisle, on a memorial table or photo wall at the reception, or maybe where you sign the register. Also consider having their photo, nicely framed, to hold in the relevant family photos.

Reserve a seat for them at the ceremony, with their photo or a possession of theirs on the seat. If they loved the All Blacks, maybe their AB’s jersey, or if they loved gardening, a bunch of flowers from their garden.

Light a candle during the service to commemorate them and acknowledge their presence in spirit. You could also release a balloon or butterflies.

Use their favourite song at some point during the ceremony or reception. While this conceivably could be part of the ceremony, it could also be woven into the playlist at the reception.

Acknowledge them in your vows, speeches, or in a toast. While it could be as simple as ‘we know that X is here in spirit, he wouldn’t have missed this day for anything’, there are also lovely quotes that can be incorporated.

‘We know you would be here today, if heaven wasn’t so far away.’

‘We think about you always, we talk about you still. You have never been forgotten, and you never will. We hold you close within our hearts and there you will remain. To walk and guide us through our lives, until we meet again.’

‘On this special day, our thoughts are with our loved ones who could not be with us. We feel your presence in our hearts.’

There are other ways of incorporating them, such as having a toast using their favourite tipple, or honouring some unusual quirk of theirs. If they loved books and you often talked about reading, you could use their favourite books as table names.

Wear a piece of their jewellery. For instance, a brooch fastener on a bouquet, repurpose your grandmother’s pearls in a headpiece, incorporated in your dress, or remodelled as modern bridal jewellery.

Wear a piece of their jewellery. For instance, a brooch fastener on a bouquet, repurpose your grandmother’s pearls in a headpiece, incorporated in your dress, or remodelled as modern bridal jewellery.

Bride with headpiece refashioned from grandmother’s jewellery. Thanks to Perspectives Photography for the image

Wear their perfume; for instance, if Chanel No.5 instantly makes you think of your grandmother.

Your Loved Ones Should Be Remembered

“The life of the dead is placed on the memories of the living. The love you gave in life keeps people alive beyond their time. ― Marcus Tullius Cicero”

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