It’s been said that every girl dreams of her wedding day. While this may be true for many women, what’s truer still is that most girls, when envisioning their fairy tale-esque white wedding, picture parents, grandparents, friends and siblings watching them walk down the aisle. Sometimes, tragic circumstances prevent that from happening. There are, however, ways to make a late but beloved friend or family member an important part of the ceremony.
“One of the most innovative ways that I’ve seen a bride honour her late mother was putting her picture on a sort of dog chain tag and pinning the tag to the back of her dress,” says Mississauga bride-to-be Dianna Thomson. “She said it was a way for her to carry her mother through the ceremony. She also made sure that the photographer took close up shots of the tag, so that her mother would also be a presence in the wedding photos.”
Thomson, who is engaged to be married in the spring of 2012is fortunate her cherished friends and family are still with her. But for those who aren’t as lucky, she has this advice for other brides. “I would mention the person in a speech,” she says. “If I have a church wedding, I would ask the priest to mention the person before a prayer, or have him say a prayer for him or her.”
For some brides, the lost loved one could be honoured through a religious reading or specific prayer (perhaps the deceased person’s favourite), or a special candle that would receive prominent placement during the ceremony, reception, or both. Other brides may choose to remember a late friend or relative by including a special bouquet, or putting the loved one’s favourite flower in the centerpieces or bridal bouquet. Others may choose to read the person’s favourite poem, quote or short story during the ceremony, if the time and establishment (church, synagogue, mosque or temple) allows. Different approaches may be taken depending on whether the deceased is a parent, more distant relative or friend.
“If I lost my father, I would have my mother give me away,” adds Thomson. “If it was anyone else, I’d be sure to mention them during the ceremony, and I would be sure to include a picture of the deceased person in the slideshow.” At the same time, Thomson says that though a wedding is a wonderful opportunity to remember those who have passed, it’s mostly a time to celebrate the present.
“You want to be sure to still make a wedding about life,” she says. “You have to remember that you’re starting a new life with your husband.”