How to honor loved ones at a wedding without it being awkward

Guest Blog Contributor | James O'Neill with Fyerfly Productions

When a family comes together to celebrate a marriage, it is time to reconnect with the members of your clan, and to celebrate with the newlyweds. Emotions are high, pulling at the heartstrings, and happiness and love fills the air.  For some folks at the wedding, and maybe even the newlyweds, they may wish to recognize the remembrance of a lost loved one. This can definitely put a sour note on the special moment, or may even create an uncomfortable setting for some guests. So, our staff has been asked how we recommend making it less awkward to acknowledge our lost loved ones.

Photo: INIJE Photography 

#1 Ceremony tribute: Heritage testament 

Quite a few clients I have worked with, enjoy the idea of making comments during the ceremony, acknowledging the passing of a loved one… and we are all for including it in your ceremony!  Here are some more ideas… Think about your heritage and where your family originated from. Let say you have recently lost your father… Was he Scottish? Maybe African or Irish? Do they have any traditional ceremonies that they practice at weddings? As a personal reference, when I married my wife, we decided it would be important to honor my father who had passed away a few years before our wedding day. He originated from an Irish family, so we did a little research throughout the family, and of course some researching on Irish wedding tradition.  We ended up honoring my Irish background, and representing my father on our wedding day with an Irish Knot Ceremony. It was short, fit into the ceremony well, and only me and my immediate family knew about the representation instead of every guest in attendance. This may also be fun for you to learn more about your background as well as your spouse’s.

 

#2 Reception tribute: Father/Daughter Mother/Son dance tribute 

The next creative way to ensure that you can represent and remember your loved one on the wedding day is to be able to utilize the “Parent Dance” in the reception.  This may seem like a more obvious time to celebrate the life of a loved one, but take the opportunity to make sure this is special for yourself. Think about an old song mom or dad used to sing around the house. Or maybe even the song mom used to tuck you in at night… It may sound a little weird at first, but think about it. You will always remember your mom singing that classic love song, maybe your dad playing something on the piano… Or even screaming a song in the car, and you in the back seat thinking they were crazy. Make it personal, make it something that brings back a memory for you!  It won’t feel awkward for other people, because they are thinking it’s a sweet tender moment for you. So make the selection for YOU, to remember that special someone!

#3 Private moment after Family photos before reception to celebrate life

Our last way to honor a loved one is an idea that is sure to give you the emotional time you may need on your special day. We have seen it only a few times, but it really is surprising why we haven’t seen it more often. Having a private 5 min moment with your new husband/wife, along with your immediate family.  This is specifically for you to enjoy and no one else. Typically this takes place behind closed doors, and will consist of a quick prayer, exchange of a memory, or just to receive a quiet hug from those that are close to you. This keeps people from feeling uncomfortable from the cryfest at the altar and gives you the peaceful quiet time to remember those that aren’t able to join you. This is much more of a private option, then in the middle of your love filled ceremony.

In closing, there are many options out there that you can choose to celebrate the life of a loved one. Without it becoming uncomfortably awkward for your invited wedding guests.  Number one, being a ceremony tradition that represents your family’s heritage or background, showing love to the entire family and their loved ones. Number two, is to choose a special song for the Father/Daughter or Mother/Son dance that is one filled with memories. Dance with your brother or sister or other family members to remember your fallen loved one, but make sure that song brings back memories for you. Finally number three, create your own special ceremony behind closed doors, to make sure you recognize that family member that wasn’t able to join you on the big day. This option can be done just after your family photos, and right before the reception doors are opened. May your family and your friends enjoy spending time with you on one of the biggest day of your life.