Weddings are days that are incredibly meaningful and important to us; it is hard to have your special day if everyone you would have loved to be there can’t. Death and loss is always hard to deal with, especially when you are trying to celebrate finding your person and there are people who played key roles in your life missing. There are many different beautiful ways you can honor these people and make it seem like they are there with you basking in the love.
The first thing you need to consider when planning on paying tribute to a lost one during your wedding is how fresh the wound of losing them is and how much attention is appropriate to give them for the event. You also want to think about what they would want so you a honoring them truly in a way they, and everyone that misses them, will appreciate.
Depending on how close a loved one you lost dictates the different ways you can honor them. If you lost someone extremely close to you like a parent, sibling or friend, dedicating part of your ceremony to them is appropriate if you choose. You can have important aspects of the day influenced by them (wearing your mom’s old wedding dress, wrapping bouquets in your dad’s old ties, having your best friend’s favorite florals for décor, walking down the isle do your dad’s favorite song are a few examples).
You can also incorporate them into the ceremony by reading a favorite bible verse or piece of advice for the rest of you and your partner’s life from them (grandparents give the best advice!). You can also reserve a seat for someone that could not be there with a rose or picture of them. Depending on how long ago and important the loss was, people can have things that a parent or friend wrote to them to read on their wedding day so they can be part of it after they’re gone.
During the reception there are also many ways to honor people. The easiest, most fun way is to play their favorite song and dedicate it and a dance to them and their memory. You can also setup a picture display of some of your favorite memories with the person in the reception area as a tribute. Finally, a great way to honor someone is to donate to either a charity people setup in their honor or to a charity they would have greatly appreciated in lieu of wedding favors and leave a message in their honor at each table for people to read in their honor.