5 ways to honor a loved one on your wedding day.

Getting ready on your wedding day without the ones that were, and still are, closest to you is difficult. My mother passed away in 2016, and I was married to my long term partner in 2019. We never really planned on getting married so I never really considered how I would feel not having my Mom there when I got married.

Once we started planning and set a date, it really set in that my Mom wasn’t going to be there to see me get married. I struggled up to the day. For me, it wasn’t so much about showcasing her memory in a space or publicly announcing to my family that she wasn’t there, but just something for me to feel she was close. Honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to have a reading or a table in her memory. I felt that it would be to much for me to handle.

My mom was a very organized person. She kept all my baby books, report cards, elementary school art, ribbons, YOU NAME IT! It’s in a box. When my mom passed, I found that she kept every card from her baby shower! Can you believe it? Thirty-three years she held on to those, moving them around from place to place. I found a bonnet in this box with a poem from the recipient. Once I read this, I knew this was the thing I would keep with me to keep her close on my wedding day.

I didn’t tell anyone until after the ceremony. I shared with my Moms’ sisters, who are now like mothers to me, and we all shared a moment. We shared the moment, and moved on through the day. And for me, that was all I needed. That was probably all I could stand. After all, the day was really about my husband and I, and our families celebrating our long term and short engagement, and finally being married.

I’m not a sentimental person usually, but your wedding day is an emotional day, a celebratory day, to share with the ones you love. When they can’t be there, your heart aches. Having a little something, a safety blanket if you will, seems to ease the ache a little.

If you aren’t as lucky as I to find a little gem in the bottom of an old box, here are some ideas I would like to share that would be a great way to commemorate those whom you have loved and lost.

1. Jewelry:

fThis is a great way to keep that person close to you on your special day. A watch, cufflinks, necklaces. You don’t have to wear this as part of your outfit if you have something else planned. Keeping in a pocket, in your bouquet, your hair, or even in a picture frame, is a great way to keep that person close to you on your wedding day.

Picture credit: @TheKnot.

2. Ceremony Reading:

This isn’t something I see a lot but I have performed ceremonies where the deceased is mentioned during the ceremony. Even just mentioning that as you celebrate that you would like to pay tribute to their memory and that they are with you in your hearts and in spirit is a great way to share a moment with your new partner to remember love lost and love gained.

3. Saving a seat:

This is much more popular. Keeping a seat open with a sign that is reserved for the special person. Some people use pictures of the loved one and dress the chairs with flowers. Some people use candles or use personal items that you have held onto. A hat, jacket, their favorite flowers. This option allows for a lot of creativity and you can really make it special.