Your wedding day is an exciting, happy, emotional and joyous occasion, but it is also completely natural for it to be tinged with a little bit of sadness.
Losing someone important to you, no matter how long ago it may have been, can make a big impact on you on your wedding day. It is an occasion that you would have loved for them to share with you, for them to see how happy, loved, and in love you are.
To honour, remember and celebrate the importance of those who are no longer with us, there are lots of lovely, fun and creative ideas that you can incorporate into your wedding ceremony.
1. A designated chair
Saving a seat for your loved one is a beautiful way to show and remind yourselves, and everyone present, that they are there with you on your special day. There are lots of lovely ways to do this, with a reserved sign and their name, with a photo of them, or an item of theirs placed on the chair, such as a cap or jacket placed over the back.
2. Lighting a candle
Lighting candle is well known for being a beautiful, soothing and healing practice. This is exactly why it makes a wonderful ritual to symbolise your loved ones who are no longer with you. Lighting a candle at the start of your ceremony, and letting it burn throughout the duration (placed inside a hurricane vase, jar or candleholder if necessary), acts a metaphor of their presence.
3. A reading
Choose a poem, extract from a story or a reading that you reminds you of them, or one which they loved or is associated with them. For example, perhaps your grandmother read fairy tales to you when you were young and you want to mention her – use a line from one of the books she read to you, one which talks about love, family, strength or finding your happy ever after.
4. Their favourite song
There are a few occasions during your wedding ceremony when music can be added – of course the entrance of the bridesmaids and the bride (these can be broken up into two songs) and when you exit as a married couple for the first time, but you can also add in music whilst you are signing your certificate, as you have photos taken before or after the ceremony, or at any time that you wish! Your ceremony can be done your way, you could take a moment to listen to their favourite song just before you say your vows, or while you are performing a symbolic ritual such as a Sand Unity ceremony.
You can use photos in many different ways, a cork board full of polariods, a picture in a frame or your ceremony table, or clipped to strings or fairy lights to decorate an area, encompassing them in the beauty of your day and allowing them to be a part of it.
6. A letter to them
Okay this is quite an emotional one, but so touching. Writing a letter to the person, or people, you have lost, is a beautiful and sentimental way to show how much they meant to you.
You may choose to read it out during your ceremony, or you could create a memory box of them with photos, trinkets or anything you may have of theirs to keep.
Or, maybe you want to symbolically send the letter to them, you could attach it to a lantern or balloon and release them into the sky (please make sure these are environmentally safe versions!) or, create a paper aeroplane and launch it off into the wind.
7. A story or a joke
This is a great option that can be used in an emotional, educational, funny or anecdotal way – or a mixture of them all! Telling a story about your loved one/s, the way they were with their partner, a lesson they taught you or an example of their funny/romantic/silly/caring ways, will put a smile on faces and allow you to think of them in the present tense, so that you can envisage their spirit present with you on your wedding day.
Or, maybe they simply had a favourite joke that they loved to tell at gatherings, a classic knocl-knock joke that reminds you of them would be a funny and light-hearted way to break the ice at the beginning of the ceremony and a way to acknowledge them that you know they would love.
8. Wearing items of theirs
Be it jewellery or accessories, i.e. a watch, broch, hairpiece, cufflinks; or using parts of their clothes or their own wedding outfits to incorporate into your own, this is a touching way to remember your loved ones without having to mention them if you don’t feel it appropriate or too emotional to do so.
9. Take a drink
Did your friend love Jack Daniels? Or your Uncle had a penchant for tequila? Have some fun and raise a toast to them by taking a shot of their favourite liquor. This can be done as a couple at any time during your ceremony (although near the start is a good idea so that you can help ease any wedding day nerves at the same time!), OR, you could do a group shot, with some members of your family/friends who were close to them too, or everyone present! Here’s to remembering that special person in your life.
10. Charity donation
Giving a charity donation either to a cause which is associated with the people in your life that have passed or simply to one that has meaning to you, is a moving and positive way to cope with their loss. By raising money for the charity can also be a cause worth celebrating, you could announce your aim at the beginning of your ceremony, or even on your invitations, and announce the final count or how much you earned during your reception toasts.
..your loved ones would want you to be SO happy, and without any sadness on your wedding day. So try to remember them in a positive way and let your love for them, and their love for you, give you strength and guide you through your day as if they were present with you. Because they are, in your thoughts and in your hearts.