Forget-me-nots and other subtle ways to honour a loved one at your wedding ceremony

Meghan Markle’s wedding bouquet included forget-me-nots, Diana, Princess of Wales’, favourite flowers. Prince Harry had handpicked them. I was quite moved by this detail. A subtle, gentle, heartfelt and truly personal way for Harry and Meghan to honour Harry’s mother.

 

Honouring a continuous bond

When you are getting married you would like to be surrounded by the love of the people most near and dear to you. If one or more of these people are no longer alive, including them in a symbolic way can be a beautiful way to honour the continuous bond you have with them.

How you’d like to do this is a very personal decision. For some couples, a public tribute feels right whereas for others a more subtle or private option suits them best.

It’s important to find the right level of comfort, and to what extent you would like to publicly pay tribute.

Some people worry that mentioning someone who has died will dampen the mood. People who have known this person will probably feel sadness, but, more importantly, they will also feel joy and love for what this person has meant to you. However, it’s important to find the right balance as you don’t want grief overpower the day.

Getting married is an important life-event, and acknowledging that the day may evoke a range of emotions will add to the meaning and authenticity of the unique love you’re celebrating.

 

Do what feels right for you

Before you decide how to honour the person who has died, it’s good to consider the following:

  • What is your comfort level? What will make you (and other people who were attached to this person) overly emotional and what won’t?
  • How private or public do you want your tribute to be?
  • How would the person you are honouring feel about this? What would suit them?

If you consider to do a public tribute inform people who were also close to the person ahead of time so they can prepare.

Personally, I prefer a subtle way of honouring a loved one during your wedding ceremony. An empty chair with a photo of the deceased might work for some, for me this would put too much focus on that person’s absence, rather than their presence in love and spirit.

 

Ten examples

Here are some examples of honouring a loved one during your wedding ceremony, from private and subtle to more public.

 

1.   Say a silent prayer or do a meditation before the ceremony

2.   Keep a wedding flower and lay this after your wedding day on the person’s grave or another place that reminds you of them

3.   Add the person’s favourite flower(s) to your buttonhole or wedding bouquet

4.   Wear a piece of jewellery or accessory that belonged to the person

5.   Carry a family heirloom with you down the aisle

6.   Add a small photo of the person to your wedding bouquet

7.   Light a candle during the ceremony in remembrance of the person

8.   Remember them with a few words at the start of the ceremony

  • For example, by sharing what they would have said or done if they were here

9.   Read a text or play a piece of music that reminds you of them

10. Include the person in a symbolic ritual. For example:

  • Add a colour to your sand ceremony to symbolise your ongoing unity with them
  • Include a ribbon in your hand-fasting ceremony to symbolise their continuous bond with you
  • Include their favourite food or drink in a blessing ritual to symbolise their presence

 

How have you honoured someone dear to you during your wedding ceremony, and how did that feel? Or, if you are planning your wedding, what are your thoughts?

Share your comments below!

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