As loving, exciting and joyous as your wedding day is, sometimes, it comes with a bit of sorrow as we think about the special people we've lost who won't be there in body to celebrate with us.
At least, this was the case on my wedding day.
My mom was my very best friend, and the two of us often dreamed of the day I'd finally say "I do". Sadly, she passed in 2015; three years before I met my soulmate.
My groom and I decided to honor her - among other loved ones - by saving a seat in their honor.
We used sunflowers and daisies as our flowers, but also included white feathers on the sign as we like to think that finding white feathers is a symbol that our angels are near us.
What follows are a few of our other favorite ways to honor those we miss on our big day.
These photo charms are a lovely way to "walk down the aisle" with those you miss. For this bride, we added the charms to her bouquet, but you could easily customize them as a necklace, charm bracelet, or pin.
These particular DIY charms were purchased from Etsy and personalized by the groom with pictures of the bride's loved ones. (Used with permission from the bride.)
Photo charms aren't just for the ladies! For example, a charm can be attached to the groom's boutonniere, as shown in the image below from Etsy.
Had Covid not halted my plans for a formal wedding, I had intended to purchase these customized cufflinks for my groom in memory of his mother. What a lovely way to carry that memory with him on the big day! This particular photo was taken from Etsy.
Fabric Sewn Into Wedding Dress/Formal Tux
If you are purchasing your bridal gown or groom's tux, this is another beautiful way to incorporate your memories of a loved one on your wedding day.
You can either print a photo of your loved one on fabric and sew it into the undergarments, or incorporate a piece of their favorite shirt into the lining of the coat.
This sentimental gift is lovely in that it retains it's usefulness long past the wedding day! Not only can you carry a treasured memory on as you walk down the aisle, but this gift is sure to be cherished year round!
Many brides and grooms choose to light a candle in memory of those who can't be there on their special day. It's a meaningful and symbolic way to pay tribute to our loved ones.
We are in love with the beauty and simplicity of this little candle set, which is available on Etsy.
If you're a fan of simplicity, a sign may be the right way for you to honor your loved ones who are gone, but not forgotten.
We found this little poem on Etsy and just knew we had to include it amongst our favorite ideas.
Readings, Songs & Moments of Silence
Some may choose to include a reading during the ceremony, or play a special song that was especially meaningful. For example, my mom and I had always dedicated "Wind Beneath My Wings" to one another, so my father and I chose to dance to her song in her honor at my wedding.
This can be especially meaningful if the departed you want to honor actually wrote something meaningful that could be included on the big day. Perhaps they penned a letter to you with words of wisdom, or perhaps they were a singer that especially loved performing a certain song.
Another idea is to incorporate a moment of silence in honor of those who could not be present, although some couples may choose to veer away from this idea because the silence may be awkward for some guests.
We've saved this one for next-to-last because there are simply so many options to choose from!
What better way to honor your loved ones in heaven than by having a photograph of them? These can be displayed in frames, clipped to a memory board, strung from a garland, hung from a memory tree - you are only limited by your imagination.
For one of our brides, we used framed photos to reserve seats at the ceremony in honor of her father, mother, grandfather and uncle. Those same photos were later placed on a bookcase in the reception venue, so that their memory was present every step along the way. (Used with permission from the bride.)
Possibly the most common of the wedding memorial traditions is to include a memory table. We've saved this trend for last simply because there is no right or wrong way to do it! You can include photos, candles, flowers and signage, family heirlooms, pieces of writing or art, or any other tributes that you wish to have present.
Some couples choose to use a simple table with a table cloth, others bring in antique tables, while others still may choose to incorporate a piece of furniture such as a shelf, a credenza or a simple nightstand.
No matter how you choose to honor your past while preparing for your future, we think this is a terrific tradition that we hope to see carry on for many years to come.