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woman crying at her wedding
A wedding is generally regarded as a joyous occasion. It is often a wonderful opportunity to bring the whole family together with close friends to witness and bless the start of a couple's new adventure. It is a time to eat and dance and celebrate a stage of life amid people who may occupy many different stages of life. Regardless of whether it is recent or whether some time has passed, the loss of a loved one may be felt keenly when you are getting married. In the midst of all the joy, it may be difficult to think about a loved one not being present to share the moment. With that thought, there are many ways to hold the memory of someone dear to you close on your special day. It may be important to give some thought to several factors to ensure that you are honoring a memory without overwhelming yourself emotionally.

Acknowledging Loss

The emotional intensity of a wedding day may be heightened even further in times when people may still be grieving the recent passing of a loved one. It may be natural to want to include some kind of memorial or acknowledgment of your family's loss, but it may also be very easy to be overtaken with grief even as you are filled with the happiness of the day. Do not ask too much of yourself here. The following are some suggestions for honoring a person's memory and acknowledging their absence:

  • Light a candle. This may sit at the entrance where the ceremony is to occur. A card may accompany it with the loved one's name.
  • Dedicate a part of the ceremony to your loved one. It may be a reading, or it may honor a tradition that the person would have shared or enjoyed if he or she had been there.
  • Keep a moment of silence. In many traditions, this may happen when the couple is in place together but before the marriage ceremony begins. The officiant may say a few words to indicate a start and an end to the moment.
  • Reserve a spot for someone unable to be there. Place a flower across the seat to honor their place.

At the Reception

Many receptions have a space set up to display family photos. This collection may include both the living and those who have passed. It may be a subtle and lovely way to include everyone throughout the generations. The couple or another family member or friend may decide to say a few words in memory of a loved one as part of a toast. One way to pay tribute to someone that does not involve making a speech is to opt out of the traditional party favor. Instead, make a donation in the name of a loved one to his or her favorite charity, or donate to an organization that was helpful at the time of his or her death. A beautifully printed card may be set on each table to show where the gift has been sent.

Private Gestures

It may be that any level of public announcement feels like too much, but you would still like to keep something of your loved one close as you celebrate your wedding day. Some people choose to wear a special piece of jewelry or carry something that belonged to their loved one. You may tuck a handkerchief into a pocket or bouquet, or sew a note or a small piece of the person's clothing into a dress. These may be unobtrusive mementos that help keep that person present at the event in a very private way. Remembering people who have passed may deepen the experience and joy of your wedding day.

Category: Get Ordained Perform a Wedding

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