Honoring loved ones who have passed may be one of the hardest, but at the same time, most rewarding parts of a any celebration; especially a wedding celebration. Often couples come the realization their loved will not be a part of their celebration in my office. This often leads to tears. I can truly relate to these couples. In my head I knew my own father’s illness (Alzheimer’s) would not allow him to walk me down the aisle. I had always dreamed of that walk with my father. The realization of it not being able to happen didn’t hit me until I said it aloud. And it broke my heart. So I made a list of ways to celebrate/honor him, which I am happy to share them with you.
At/during the Ceremony
- Special Candle. Place a single candle for each honoree on a separate table from the other celebration candles (i.e. the Unity candle). This is an opportunity to give a family member the opportunity to participate in your celebration in an easy but important fashion. This person will be light the Memory candle at some agreed upon point in the ceremony, i.e. at the start of ceremony.
- Seats of Honor. Reserve seats in the front of your ceremony. Hang the names or a picture of those who are being honored/remembered on the seat back in such a way it can be seen easily. During the service lay a single flower or small bouquet on the seat of the chair, thus bringing attention to the person being honored.
- Family Processional. Prior to the mothers’ entrance, have pictures of those who you wish to honor brought in individually and placed on a special table or in their own seats. Do you have people you want to have a part in your ceremony but no place to put them? This is wonderful way to accomplish this quandary.
- Special Table. Place a table in a prominent space, place your loved ones picture on the table with a single candle. This should be already in place and the candle lit when your guests arrive.
At/During the Reception
- Special Table. Place a table in a prominent space, like next to your guestbook and place your loved ones picture on the table so that it is already in place when your guests arrive. Be sure to create a name card for each picture so your guests will know who your loved one is. To make it even more special write something about that person on their name card. This allows YOU to walk memory lane with that person as you write and honor your loved ones.
- Table of Honor. Set up an extra table in the front of the room. Decorate it the same as the others including place settings. Place your loved ones picture at the table so that it is where their plate would be. For one wedding, I turned the pictures throughout the evening so that they faced what was going on. For example, during the couple’s first dance all pictures were facing the dancefloor and during dinner they were facing each other as if they were talking with one another.
- Special Candle. Put a single candle for each person to be honored on a table with the Unity candle such that the honor candles surround the Unity candle. This represents the couple is supported and surround by the warmth of family love.
- Shadow (father-daughter or mother-son) Dance. If you are brave and don’t mind others seeing your emotions. Dance with only a picture of your loved one for a time. Too long would be too dramatic. Finish the song with a special relative.
It is surprisingly cathartic to include your ancients/loved ones/elders, whatever you call them, in your special day. We encourage you to be innovative in including them, then please, come back and share your ideas. Or if you are looking for ideas, feel free to contact us http://www.dreamwellc.com or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.