Today I want to share some different ways to remember, and show love and honor to loved ones not able to be at your wedding. Because of all the emotion involved, this is probably one of the harder blog posts for me to write but I feel it’s also one of the more meaningful and important!
Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life and it is never easy to spend it without someone who was a big part of your life. How do I know? I experienced this myself. In 2011, one year before Josh and I got married, I suddenly lost my dad. My rock. My first love. My hero. Here one moment, and gone the next. It was the hardest and darkest moment I have ever had to walk through. While planning our wedding, I wanted my dad to still be a part. He was no longer here to physically walk me down the aisle, give me away, share a dance to our daddy/daughter song, but the little reminders and special moments we planned meant so much to me and my family.
Between my own wedding and the many I have photographed, I have seen so many beautiful ways to remember and honor loved ones on your wedding day. Here are some of my favorite ways to include the important people in your life who may not be here physically, but are kept alive by honoring their memory.
Right down front, reserve a special seat just for them. You can place a picture of them, flowers, something of theirs, really anything meaningful to you, to mark that special spot. Saving a seat for your deceased relative or friend is a heartfelt way to make sure they are every bit as included in your day as the rest of your guests. You can imagine them sitting there bearing witness to your “I do’s” as you stand before the altar.
I still wanted to feel as if my dad was walking me down the aisle on my wedding day. So with my mother on one side, my brother on the other, and my favorite picture of my daddy attached to my bouquet, I walked down that aisle with the biggest smile on my face!
I loved my wedding bouquet!!
In your bridal bouquet or centerpieces, include your loved ones favorite flower. Maybe you want to add a rosemary sprig in the boutonnieres because they remind you of Granny’s garden (rosemary also symbolize remembrance). Do what is meaningful to you!
This is a beautiful way to remember loved ones. At your ceremony or reception, set up a small area to place pictures of your passed loved ones. I have seen couples include cute painted signs from Amazon or Etsy that have a sweet phrase like “forever in our hearts” and “We know you’d be here today if heaven wasn’t so far away.”
During the reception, play your your loved ones favorite party songs! This is such a fun way to remember your loved one. Dance and smile while celebrating those special memories!
I had my daddy/daughter song planned out when I was 12. Growing up, my dad would play piano and sing “My Love” by Paul McCartney to me all the time. This was our song. He was an airline pilot so the opening line “when I go away, my heart will stay with my love” was special to us! We danced to that song at other weddings, but sadly wasn’t able to when I wanted it the most. In place of my daddy/daughter dance, I had our DJ play our song, and I danced with my brother while pictures of my father and I played on a slide show behind us. We cried, we laughed, it was such a beautiful and special memory!!!
These are some of my all time favorite pictures from my wedding day!
On your dessert table, include Nana’s special Apple Pie or Strawberry Shortcake! This is a fun and yummy way to include her on your special day and your guest will sure love it!
There are so many ways to honor lost loves ones at your wedding. Do what feels right and is special for you. Most importantly, focus on the happy, special details they loved and would get a kick out of- not the fact that they’re gone!