Novotny’s Nuptial Knowledge: Remembering Lost Loved Ones

(JacekAbramowicz / Pixabay)

Your wedding is a distinct moment to spend with family and friends but unfortunately, due to tragedies some of our loved ones may not be there when the day arrives. 

Many cultures across the globe have very meaningful and surprisingly similar ways of honoring the recently departed at their ceremony, but this isn’t always the case in the United States. 

Many couples dodge the idea, afraid it will diminish the attitude of guests or be seen as unfitting. This is far from true. Honoring lost loved ones on your special day is more than appropriate and can be respectful.

Wearing a Reminder

(caren6969 / Pixabay)

One idea is keeping an item close to you. It is common for religious individuals to carry an item such as a rosary that belonged to a parent or grandparent, but this doesn’t have to stop there. 

Any item can be tucked away in a bouquet including brooches, ribbons or fabric or worn such as shoes, a veil or the full dress. This is a subtle reminder to the individual that may not be so obvious to the attendees.

A Reserved Seat

(Tory Larson / Flickr)

A classic mention very common in other countries is leaving a seat empty for the lost loved one. Usually, a portion of a pue at church and a chair at the reception are kept open for the individual. This memorial is often given a candle, framed photograph or some article of remembrance to signify to guests to not to take up that space.

Memory Tables

(George Lenard / Flickr)

Memory tables are becoming much more common practice in America. These small mementos are usually a table set close to the guest book with a lit candle in honor of the deceased. 

Accompanying the candle is sometimes an arrangement of flowers, especially if the individual was supposed to be a member of the bridal party. Photographs are also a common practice for this style of remembrance.

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Donations in Their Honor

(Miguel Á. Padriñán / Pexels)

A kind gesture can be to ask guests to make a small donation in the name of the lost loved one to an organization. Usually having a predetermined association is best. 

The chosen group could be a nonprofit the individual was an active member of, a hospital they received treatment at in later life or an organization devoted to finding a cure for whatever may have caused their death.

A Silent Moment

(The Barrel Steward / Flickr)

A gesture that is not lost in a sea of activity is to have a moment of silence for these individuals. This is often done just before the toasts at the reception. If done prior to the toasts the silence can pay homage to the lost loved one and the latter speeches can pull the mood back into one of celebration and love. 

If doing a full room memorial isn’t your favorite idea, having a handful of people step aside from the party and having a small remembrance is also okay.

The above are just a small batch of ways to remember those who have died before your wedding day. There are many more ideas out there found in various cultures around the world. 

If a memorial is something you want to have at your wedding, make sure all those who need to know to make this possible are aware. Remember, it is acceptable and respectful and not at all in poor taste to remember those you’ve lost on your big day.

James Novotny
Staff Writer

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