Your wedding day is filled with emotional moments you wish to share with friends and loved ones, but the reality for many couples is that some of their dearest family members and friends can’t physically be there. Having to say I do without a father, mother, or grandparents adds to an already emotional day. But even if the absence of a loved one can’t be replaced, I know a couple of ways you can include them on your big day to make the difficult moments a bit lighter.
Some key moments, like walking down the aisle, the parents’ dance, or the speeches, are hard on a couple missing a loved one. But there are plenty of creative and significant ways to ensure they are still part of the celebration. And if you have doubts about including them or how this could weigh in the rest of the family, I also have a word of advice for you. I hope my experience and knowledge can help you through these tough times.
Should I include my late family members in our wedding?
One of the biggest questions regarding this delicate topic is whether you should include a late family member in the wedding. And to be honest, there is no right answer, but I will try to give you some advice. Several factors could determine if including your family member is the right thing to do, but personally, it all comes down to how you feel about it. If you start thinking about how others could feel or if it is proper or polite, you could end up doing something you don’t want, like leaving out your loved one.
So, please take a moment with your partner and dig into how you both feel about it. If it is something meaningful and you wish to honor the person you are missing, then go for it. If you have doubts or don’t feel a hundred percent sure about the matter, then leave it and revisit it as the date comes close. Give yourself time and space to think about it and decide what you feel comfortable with.
Perhaps if the passing is recent, some of your guests, especially those who loved that person, could feel overwhelmed, and the ceremony can turn into an outpouring of emotions, but that doesn’t make it wrong. If you feel like some of your close family members could have a hard time dealing with the moment, my advice is to talk to them privately, so they know you are making something special or seeking to honor that deceased loved one. This way, they can emotionally prepare to face the moment.
How to honour your deceased loved ones.
Depending on the relationship between you and your loved one, there are plenty of options to make them part of your celebration. From related wedding events to the actual ceremony and reception. And here are some ideas.
For many, a grandmother or grandfather is much more than just a relative; they are like our second parents and a key part of our lives. The passing of such an important pillar in life could be determining and leave an empty seat in your celebration that can’t be filled. If you are looking for ways to honour your grandparents, you can save a seat for them at your ceremony and perhaps place their portrait, or a white balloon you can let go at the end of the ceremony to say goodbye. A piece of jewellery can work perfectly, too; grandmas and grandpas have amazing pieces like cufflinks, a watch, earrings, necklaces, or a brooch. You can also pick your grandma’s favourite blooms and incorporate them into your bouquet or the boutonniere.
For a bride, not having her father on her wedding day means she won’t walk down the aisle holding his arm and won’t have a father-daughter dance. You can honour him by adding his picture to your wedding bouquet, making a grand entrance by holding a white balloon, and letting it go as you walk down the aisle. Say a few words, like a quote or a funny saying he had during your vows or toast.
A groom can have a meaningful piece of jewellry, a watch, cufflinks, or a picture of his father attached to the boutonnière. Giving some words about your father or requesting a moment of silence can also be amazing ways to honor him. Wearing his scent and having his picture in the room you get ready might also be ways to feel his presence.
Mothers are irreplaceable beings; their unconditional love and constant care throughout our lives are proof of it. And if you wish to honour the memory of your mom, you can incorporate elements like a piece of her wedding dress or favourite piece of clothing into your wedding attire. A picture of her on your wedding bouquet or boutonniere will bring her close to you. Saving a seat in your ceremony and placing a photo of her is another great alternative. And if your mom had amazing family recipes, what better way to honour her than by including her soulful food?
Siblings or Best Friends
Commonly the maid of honour or best men are siblings or best friends of a bride and groom, and life sometimes doesn’t let them stand by your side at your wedding. But making them part of your big day is always possible, so light up a candle, save a special seat, a glass of wine, or their favorite drink. Dance to your favourite song from your night outs and remember them while you raise your glass.
For everyone who is missing your wedding day.
If you wish to have those who have deceased present at your celebration, you can always set up a table in a special spot for your ceremony or reception with a candle and their pictures. This is a great way to honour everyone you love and miss on such an important day in your life.
I am certain you will find even more creative ways to include your loved ones, perhaps with a signature drink, wearing their sunglasses, or making a video with your favourite moments. And if you want you can also write it on your wedding program. Focus on what you feel comfortable with and enjoy your wedding day, knowing everyone you love will be there, even those who are gone too soon.