It’s the most important day of your life and all your loved ones are there to support you…almost.
If people you love deeply have passed and cannot attend your wedding except in your heart, how can you recognize them in your ceremony? It’s a very personal decision, but you are not alone. Here are a few ways others have done it.
For some, simply naming loved ones in the introduction of the ceremony feels right.
- Calling attention to the surroundings, such as blue skies, warm sun, the love of family and friends, and then naming those who are here in spirit, is a beautiful way to set a reflective tone and create a sacred space for your union to take place.
- As an alternative, ask the officiant to give thanks for the blessings of those who could not be physically here, and then name them aloud.
If there’s something that was special to your loved one during their lifetime, find a place for it within the ceremony.
- If your loved one had a favorite poem, author, movie, or play, use it as a reading, explaining its significance before you begin.
- If a specific flower had meaning, use a bouquet of them as aisle markers and explain them in the program or in the introduction.
- A treasured or important possession of the loved one could be set out in the ceremony space. A firefighter’s helmet, a folded flag of a veteran, or a baseball glove of a devoted fan are beautiful items that speak volumes.
- Wear a piece of their jewelry.
- A picture of the person is a powerful way to bring them into the space. On a table, altar, chair, or in the arms of a member of the wedding party, the sweet smile of the person you love can be comforting.
- As an alternative, place a picture in a small locket and pin it to your dress or the ribbon around the stem of your bouquet.
Technology: Use technology to connect you and your guests to the loved one’s spirit.
- Create a short slide show of pictures.
- Play a favorite song.
- Record parts of a letter, email, or journal expressing the thoughts of your loved one in lieu of a reading.
The owner of a production company recently mentioned to me that he often does video recordings of people who cannot make it to the wedding. He had visited a nursing home where the bride’s grandmother lived. He recorded her expressions of love for the couple, and three days later, she died. Imagine how important those words were in light of her passing.
If you are not sure about the best way to honor your loved one at your ceremony, speak to your officiant. Use the experience and knowledge of your JP to make your special day perfect in every way. Doing something unique for those you have loved and lost will only make your day more meaningful. And then, you might find a sign that they are there in spirit: a rainbow, a sunbeam through the clouds, a butterfly lighting on your hand or simply a warm and knowing feeling in your heart.
- More ideas to incorporate beautiful memories of loved ones in Little Gifts of Love
- Another article, Writing a Ceremony with Meaning
- The article, Wedding Ceremonies that Unite and Heal helps find the words when a loved one has passed or is estranged
Find your perfect JP at findaJP.com
Cindy Dumont is a Justice of the Peace in North Hampton, New Hampshire.