“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~Helen Keller
For many future brides like myself, the thought of not having those special people I have lost with me on my wedding day is disheartening. Just like so many brides before me, I wish I could hug and kiss both of my grandfathers before I walk down the aisle. I wish I could give my grandma on my dad’s side a quick squeeze of the hand to let her know how much she means to me. Seeing two of my late cousins in the church pews would mean the world to me. However, through planning I have learned that I can still have all of these angels be apart of my special day through an act of remembrance. This is typically not any bride’s favorite part of planning, but with some thoughtful consideration and reflection, honoring lost loved ones can be a special, happy moment.
When planning how to honor the lives of those closest to you, brides and grooms should consider if they want to do this publicly or privately. This can be difficult because depending on how fresh the wound, some couples may not have had adequate time to process the loss. It’s important to find the balance between honoring those special lives while still creating an atmosphere of happiness. Couples should also think about how much attention they want to draw. While many brides and grooms have no problem publicly displaying the loss of loved ones, some believe that a personal matter like this should stay a bit more private.
Nevertheless, if you’re planning a tribute to your loved ones that is public, it is always thoughtful to share that with those who were most close with him/her and will be present at your wedding. One element to consider as you find the perfect way to honor your angels, is to think about what would be most appropriate for them in terms of their personality, activities, hobbies, and the way your relationship or connection formed. If your honoring your Great Uncle Bob who loved to keep you up until all hours of the night during family reunions with his jokes, perhaps bringing humor into your act of remembrance would be a good idea.
The team here at Hitch Studio understands and values how sensitive this stage in the planning process is so we have gathered some thoughtful ideas on ways you can remember the lost loved ones in your life that would have loved to see you walk down the aisle.
- Incorporate something into your attire
- This can be a very private and meaningful way to honor a loved one. If you have one of their old, blue shirts you can sew it into your dress so they will physically be close to your heart. Many brides have worn their grandmother’s old earrings, brooches, carried handkerchiefs, or even worn their actual wedding dress!
- Utilize an item they have given you
- Perhaps a loved one gifted you with champagne flutes or wine glasses along the way. You can easily incorporate these items into your special day. My oldest sister made her very own brooch bouquet instead of a traditional, flower one. She made it with different brooches that my grandmother had gifted to her. It was extremely special. My siblings and I only have one living grandparent left, and she means the world to us. So this past summer when one of my sisters got married she incorporated her hand-crocheted doilies into each of her centerpieces. I plan to do the same this summer at my wedding and I couldn’t be more excited!
- Honoring them in your ceremony program
- This is a more traditional act of remembrance done by many couples. You can simply dedicate an “In Loving Memory” section in your program to honor all those who have passed, but are still with you in sprit. Need help with how to word that? Here are some suggestions.
- The lighting of a candle
- This can be a candle by itself near an entryway, towards the front of the church, or on display somewhere at your venue. Considering a flameless candle that symbolizes your loved ones memory’s will live on forever.
- A photo table
- This is probably one of my personal favorites, and one I will incorporate into my wedding day. I also love going to weddings and seeing old pictures of loved ones. It’s so special! You can have a table dedicated to family wedding photos of loved ones (both living and deceased). My sister had a table like this and then displayed all of the old wedding dresses behind the table — a flash from the beautiful, love-filled past. You may even consider displaying your loved one’s favorite Bible verse or quote near their picture.
- A “cheers” in their honor
- A more public tribute to the life of someone dear to your heart is a toast in their honor at the reception. You can do this with their favorite drink, or even plan to name your “drink of the night” after them. I’m sure they will be smiling down on you all night long. 🙂
- A portion of the ceremony in their tribute
- This is another special way to honor your loved ones by simply dedicating a reading, song, or even poem to them during your ceremony.
- Your wedding favors
- Maybe you lost someone close to you due to a battle with cancer or another illness. In place of wedding favors, you could consider making a donation in their honor to an organization that supports individuals with that specific disease. Another great idea is sending all of your guests home with your loved ones favorite treat with a little note attached (that Hitch Studio can design)!
- Taking a moment of silence
- Typically a moment of silence is taken following the bride’s walk down the aisle, but you can take the time to do this whenever you wish throughout the ceremony or reception. For religious couples, a brief moment of silence can be extremely powerful as they remember those who have went before them.
- Reserving them a seat
- This act of remembrance serves as a physical tribute where many couples often place a single flower, bouquet, or an item that represents them on a seat at the front of the ceremony. You can place the item on the seat before the ceremony or make it part of your ceremony — whatever is most special to you.
- Utilize items in addition to your bouquet
- A bride’s bouquet is held close to their heart as they make their way down the aisle. By hanging a single photo or multiple photo charms of your lost loved ones from your bouquet, you will be sure to keep them close to your heart as well.
There are countless unique ways to remember lost loved ones on your special day. We understand that these tributes could never take the place of them being physically present on your wedding day, but they do serve as a reminder of how important they continue to be in your life even after they have passed. No matter what you choose it will be perfect, and those angels watching from above will guide you to your happily ever after. If you’re not sure where to start with this stage of planning or any for that matter, make sure to set up an appointment with Hitch Studio Co-Owner and Wedding Coordinator, Renee Halgerson, or purchase the Wedding Day Designer.
“There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in our hearts.” ~Mahatma Ghandi