Love Beyond The Grave: Remembering Deceased Loved Ones At Your Wedding

By: Karen Sullen

Admittedly, weddings are joyous occasions. Beautiful flowers and centerpieces all placed around. Bridesmaids and groomsmen looking stunning, everything seems perfect-almost. If you or your fiancé have lost a parent or other loved one, the wedding celebration will be slightly less than perfect because of their absence. Many couples struggle with the best way to honor their loved ones at this special time without dampening the mood. I too have lost my father, and I'm sure when I get married it will be difficult enough getting down the aisle without him. But the difficulty of the task cannot outweigh its necessity. Whether you've lost a father, mother or special friend who was like a sister to you, it's important that they are honored. And here are some ways to help you do so.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

The wedding tradition of having each of these items easily lends itself to a memoriam. Include your mother's old scarf or a favorite item "borrowed" from the family of a deceased friend. Create a new bracelet from a picture or carry his favorite blue handkerchief.

Candle and Sand Tributes

The lighting of a candle in your loved ones honor during a moment of silence or while a few loving words are spoken is always a touching remembrance. Incorporating a sand ceremony as a part of your wedding can bring powerful symbolism as well by mentioning that your souls are forever intertwined with your loved ones just like the grains of sand while you pour sand into the keepsake vase.

Wedding Jewelry

Jewelry to be worn on your wedding day lends itself to plenty of options to tastefully remember your loved ones. Create a crystal charm bracelet or a locket with miniature versions of your favorite photos. Photo cufflinks and an engraved pocket watch with photo are nice ways for the groom to honor Mom or Dad. The nice thing about wedding jewelry is that it can be displayed publically or worn underneath the dress or inside the coat for a more private, intimate remembrance.

Poems and Programs

A loving dedication, poem or short story printed on the back of the program provides a subtle remembrance that all of your guests can read and appreciate. Even those who may not have known them will enjoy the reflection and the adoration. A heartfelt letter to Mom or Dad can also bring you closure by allowing you to express your feelings.

Picture perfect

Pictures of your loved one can be displayed in an array of beautiful frames hung on the wall or gingerly placed on a table with a flower or candle. If space does not permit a full collection, place them in a beautiful photo album instead. Try to choose lively photos that truly capture their personality. Turning the photos into a video tribute is another option. You and your guests will enjoy the walk down memory lane. For a more personal use of pictures, tuck a favorite photo of your Dad in the bridal bouquet, giving him an opportunity to still "walk" you down the aisle.

Seat of Honor

A chair can be designated at the wedding or reception in honor of your loved one. During the wedding, the bride can place flowers in the empty seat after walking down the aisle. Breakaway bouquets are perfect for that.

Post-wedding tribute

Flowers used in the wedding ceremony can be placed on the grave after the wedding along with a photo.

Regardless of how you choose to remember your loved one on your wedding day, the sentiment that is so eloquently captured in this poem will still be the same:

Though we are separated physically,
Love has bound us eternally.

Though we cannot see you,
We know you are here.

Though we cannot touch you,
We feel the warmth of your smile, as we begin a new chapter in our lives.