– Ask a Real Bride – How to Honor Loved Ones You’re Missing on Your Wedding Day

It’s never easy marking milestones without our loved ones. But because weddings are such family affairs, the absence of a parent, grandparent, or sibling can be especially difficult.

That’s where the @askarealbride followers come in!

The @askarealbride Instagram page is a place where brides, mothers of the bride, bridesmaids, and wedding guests can ask questions and weigh in on wedding etiquette hot topics. And last month, I received this question from a follower and shared with the group:

We’re looking for ways to honor our late parents throughout the day. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I keep falling short of ideas!”

Our brides responded with a flood of ideas that could work for parents, siblings, and grandparents, too! Whether you’re looking for a grand gesture or a more private tribute, I hope you’ll find an idea that works for you!

Carry Them With You:

memorial locket on wedding bouquet

“My cousin had a little locket on her bouquet with my grandparents’ photos in it.”

“My friend’s brother passed, and she had a small photo of him on a charm wrapped around her bouquet.”

“[My husband] wore a pin inside his suit jacket with his mom’s picture.”

“I wore a piece of jewelry that belonged to my husband’s late mother. It was my ‘something old.’”

“I asked my florist to wrap my grandmother’s handkerchief around my bouquet!”

Make sure you let your photographer know about any special details so they can capture a picture!

Incorporate their Favorite Things:

“My fiance’s late mother’s favorite color was blue, so we are doing blue bridesmaid dresses and flowers. It’s made me feel more connected to her throughout the stages of planning and picking those things. I also love the idea of looking around the day and seeing her impact by being surrounded by blue!”

“For my late dad, we’ll be serving his favorite dessert at the wedding.”

I love these sweet and subtle tributes. You could mention them in your program or menu so all your guests know, or keep these details private. It’s up to you!

Honor them in the Ceremony:

Honor them in the Ceremony

If a friend is officiating your wedding (or a professional who is willing to incorporate personalized details) you could ask them to mention your loved ones that are no longer here. You could also have a favorite poem or Scripture read in their memory.

If you’d prefer a more symbolic tribute, here are a few ideas from our real brides:

“My husband and I are lighting a candle together to honor my late father at the very beginning of the ceremony, like having his presence there. I know I’ll be too emotional with any direct mention of him, so it’s meant to be a discreet but meaningful gesture. We’ll let the right people know its meaning ahead of time instead of announcing it in the moment.”

“We had a pinwheel placed in front of the groomsmen at our outdoor wedding. Everytime the wind blew, it was a reminder of my fiance’s late father–we felt like he was with us! We had a little explanation in the program explaining the significance.”

“I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of ‘My Girl’–my dad’s favorite song.”

For more ideas on coping with your dad’s absence at your wedding, check out this article. I hope it helps!

Remember Them at the Reception:

While some may think of the reception as the festive portion of the evening, you can still carve out meaningful moments to remember your parents!

memory table sign

“We had a memory table with the largest display being photos of my husband’s late father. [For the mother-son dance], my husband and his mom danced to his dad’s favorite song. It was an intense moment with a lot of tears, so we planned with the DJ to have a more uplifting song come on after. We were grateful to have that moment all hugging and crying together listening to his favorite artist. It felt like he was there with us!”

“I went to a wedding where the groom’s mother had passed in the year prior. His father made a grand entrance to the reception holding a framed photo of her, and then placed it at the family table.”

“When it was time for the traditional mother-son dance, the groom took to the mic and said a few short words, and then asked anyone who was there with their mother to come up and share the dance all together. It was mostly cousins, aunts, and family friends. It was incredibly touching and her presence was definitely felt by making such a unique display happen!”

Have a Question for our Real Brides?

Let me know what topic you’d like us to tackle next! And if you’re interested in learning more about etiquette, gift-giving, and celebrating in style, be sure to subscribe to the RegistryFinder GiveIt blog for weekly posts on wedding etiquette, bridal showers, wedding trends, and of course, wedding registry guidelines and tips!

Questions in this post are received from followers of @askarealbride. Questions may be edited for spelling, length, and grammar or to remove sensitive information. However, we are careful not to alter the intent or content of the question.

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