Weddings are joyous. Festive. Fun. Exciting. Happy. Hopeful. Full of Love. And so many more words that could take up this whole blog post. It's why I love photographing weddings above all else. They truly encompass every human emotion in one incredible day.
But amidst the celebration and happy tears, there are often some sad tears as well. It's impossible not to think about the loved ones who are no longer with us and on this special day we miss them even more fiercely than the days before.
Through the years of doing wedding photography I have seen many special ways my couples have chosen to honor the dearly departed. I'd like share a few of my favorites as well as some more ideas you may want to consider for your own beautiful tribute.
Pin their photo to your bouquet
This is a lovely way to honor your loved ones and keep them close to you on such a special day. This dear bride in the photo above lost her father and having his photo on her bouquet was an amazing way to still have him with her as she walked down the aisle toward her husband to be.
Sew a photo of your loved one into the lining of your dress
Sometimes a bride or groom may want to feel that their loved one is with them but keep it private and only for them. Perhaps keeping a photo or letter in a secret place inside your dress or tux pocket, shoe, hairpiece, etc. is just the way to do honor their memory.
Have a moment of silence
And in other cases, a couple may want to include all of their guests in remembering. Talk to your officiant about speaking on their behalf and include a moment of silence before the ceremony begins.
Set up a memorial table
Another great way to include your loves ones lost is by setting up a table with photos, quotes, picture albums, candles, letters, anything that shares a part of those who can't be with you in person. This is especially a good choice if there are multiple people you're missing on the big day and want to make sure they all get a special mention.
Invite them anyway, they are there in spirit!
No matter what your faith is, know your loved ones are with you. All you have to do is want them to be there and their spirit will be there. Serve them up a drink, lay out their boutonniere, leave an empty chair for them. Invite their memory to join the fun because you know they wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
Make a charitable donation in their name
Make your donation in the name of the dearly departed. Leave a beautiful card at each place setting explaining the donation and how much your family member or friend is dearly missed. This will be much more meaningful than any other little gift you could give.
Include their favorite flowers in your bouquet
If you know what special flower made your loved one smile brightest, let it light up the room by putting it in your bouquet. You could also use flowers or even a single flower in their favorite color to make them a part of your big day.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
Jewelry, a blue handkerchief or necktie, a wedding ring you could make into a bracelet or necklace, a love letter, veil, there are many things that could have been left behind that could fit these categories. Whether you choose to use this tradition or not, it's still so special to include something personal from your loved one as part of your wedding day attire.
Ceremony program tribute
This is a very sweet and simple way to pay tribute to those we wish could be with us. Add an "In Loving Memory" section to your ceremony program.
When trying to choose the perfect way to honor your loved ones at your wedding, consider how recently they passed away, who else may you want to talk to or include in the decision, and how public or private you want the tribute to be. And just know that the person or people you are missing would want you to have the happiest most amazing day of your life!