Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life and it’s never easy to spend it without someone who was very special to you. That’s why deciding on how to honor a deceased loved one at your wedding is something you’ll want to put extra thought into. You want to remember your friend or relative with a meaningful gesture or dedicated moment on your wedding day-you just don’t want to make your wedding feel like a funeral.
We spoke to wedding planners to find out how to incorporate the memory of your loved one without dampening the joy of your big day. Honoring a loved one who’s passed is completely personal-it’s a private moment for others, a display table for some, or an ode in food or music choices to some. There are different things that are more popular, but when it comes down to it, do what feels right for you two. Whether that’s displaying photographs throughout the ceremony, dedicating a specific time during the day for a moment of silence, or leaving a seat empty for them during the ceremony, do whatever resonates with you and your relationship to your late loved one.
Focus on the happy, special details they loved and would get a kick out of-not the fact that they’re gone. Here are eight ways to include the important people in your life who may not be here physically, but are kept alive by honoring their memory.
Reserved A Seat In Their Honor
Wall recalled how one of clients paid tribute to her late grandfather, One of our favorite ways to honor someone was honored his memory by giving him a spot up front at the ceremony. 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. And you can imagine them sitting there bearing witness to your “I do’s” as you stand before the altar.
Make A Note In Your Ceremony Program
Inside your program is a fitting spot to write a sincere message that everyone will read, while still keeping the ceremony itself very joyful.
Add An Heirloom To Your Bouquet Or Dress
Adorn your bouquet or its ribbons with a locket, photo pin, handkerchief or another small but sentimental trinket that once belonged to your loved one.
Share A Favorite Pastime Or Memory
Seeing some of their favorite things will bring a smile to your face, but also gives your guests the opportunity to learn more about your loved one. Incorporate loved ones’ favorite candies into your favors, or go the extra mile with an activity that brings them to mind. Feature a special toasting station with Grandpa’s favorite bourbon and cigars.
Display Family Photos
On our guestbook table, we created an installation of framed photos of all of our grandparents and both sets of parents pictured on their wedding days. This is a great, joyous way to honor family members-both living and deceased.
Incorporate A Special Flower
Add a rosemary sprig to the boutonnieres or place setting because they remind you of summer days spend in Granny’s greenhouse-rosemary also symbolizes remembrance-or include your grandmother’s favorite flower in your bouquet.
Play A Song
Pick a tune that meant something to your loved one, or reminds you of him or her. One former groom honored his late mother by walking the processional to a Beatles song.
Bake A Loved One’s Favorite Dessert
Chuck a traditional cake in favor of serving your grandmother’s famous chocolate chip cookies or peach cobbler.
If photos or favorite recipes are too personal to display on your big day (we totally get it), consider donating to a cause they supported in their honor in lieu of a wedding registry or wedding favors. If you choose the latter, display a sign at the reception.
No matter what you choose to do, take this advice to heart: Focus on the happy, special details they loved and would get a kick out of-not the fact that they’re gone. Instead, make sure they are actually very present in the day.
originally posted on brides.com by Jillian Kramer