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10 Ways to Honor a Lost Loved One at Your Wedding

Bride surprising groom with first look at mother's gravesite Photo Credit:

My husband and I were so fortunate and blessed to have had both sets of parents present for our wedding; it literally gives me chills to think about that day having happened without them by our sides. And while most of our grandparents had been gone for years by the time we got married, we hoped that we could honor their memory in subtle ways. I attached my Nana’s ring to my bouquet, and we included a heartfelt inscription in our wedding program about our dearly departed family members and how much we wished they could have shared in our day. These were tiny tributes, of course, but ones that meant something to us.

And for newlywed Nick Norwood, the most meaningful part of his wedding day last Fall was his first look with his now wife, Shyanne. Not just because he got a first glimpse of his gorgeous bride, but because she included his late mama in the special moment. And we’re crying, hard.

A little over a year before Nick and Shyanne planned to marry, Nick’s mother, Dorothy, passed away. He could barely handle her absence at his brother’s wedding (which happened in the not-too-distant wake of her death), telling Yahoo Lifestyle that seeing a yellow rose and an empty chair reserved for her at the ceremony was gut-wrenching. He hoped that by the time he and Shyanne said ‘I Do’ he would be able to revel in the day without getting swallowed up in grief, but as their wedding day loomed, he confided in Shy that missing his mother was hitting him especially hard, “I was like, ‘I just wish my mom was a part of it somehow, one way or another.”

Nick Norwood and Shyanne Norwood Crying During First Look at Mother's Gravesite Photo Credit:

It was then that Shyanne realized just how devastating it could be to get married without one of the most important people in your life there for it. She had never lost a parent, so she struggled with understanding at first, but as soon as she got it, she knew exactly what her guy needed.

Aided by her own mama, Shyanne made sure Nick was out of the loop on the deets of their first look. And on their wedding morning, she instructed her mom to blindfold her soon-to-be Mr. and shuttle him to the cemetery. He had no idea where they were until he removed his blindfold, took a look at his girl, and teared up knowing that his mom was there to watch over it all.

Amazing, right? Nick still hasn’t gotten over the feels, and he posted about it the other day, welcoming tons of comments from thoroughly-moved Redditors.

So, it got us thinking about some of the sweetest ways we’ve seen couples pay tribute to those they’ve missed on their wedding days - and just know, you can’t do it wrong. Any+every memorial is worth mentioning!

In your flowers. 

Wrapping a wedding bouquet with a photo of your lost loved one Photo Credit:

Whether you decide to work your family member’s favorite flower into your bouquet or your reception florals, or put their photo in/on your bouquet wrap, this bloom-focused feature is 🙌. You can find beautiful lockets for bouquets and boutonnieres at Keepsakes by Katherine

In your something borrowed.

Bride wearing her mother's jewelry Photo Credit:

Do you remember playing around in your mama’s jewelry box? Draping her jewels all over you while you played pretend ‘bride?’ Well, what better way to embrace your something borrowed than with an heirloom piece of jewelry from your forever fashion muse.

Bride spritzing perfume on wedding morning Photo Credit:

That includes her favorite perfume, too… a bride can’t say ‘I Do’ without a spritz of her mama, Aunt, cousin, best friend’s signature scent.

In your front row. 

Honoring deceased family members in the front row of your wedding ceremony Photo Credit:

Just because your loved ones aren’t there in the flesh, doesn’t mean they still can’t steal those front row spots to your vows. 

Wedding memorial sign for ceremony Photo Credit:

Whether it’s with a framed photo or sweetly-scribed signage, it’s significant either way.

In your walk down the aisle. 

Wedding memorial shoe charms for the bride Photo Credit:

Forget colored shoes, unless they were your loved one’s favorite shade, and instead consider a shoe charm. These little tokens are super sweet and the perfect thing to accompany you on that all-important walk. Take your father, mother, grandparent, etc. down the aisle with you.

In your ceremony or reception decor.

Wedding memorial lantern for ceremony Photo Credit:

Candles are incredibly ceremonial and really just stunning for a wedding scene. We love the idea of setting up a lantern-lighting moment, either before the ceremony, during, or directly following.

Wedding memorial picture bar Photo Credit:

And a photo memory table or bar will never be forgotten. You can even ask your guests (those closest to you and the friend/family member who has passed, in particular) to bring a photo with them in lieu of / or in addition to a card.

In your toasts.

Wedding reception toast Photo Credit:

Yes, champagne certainly works for well wishing, but any spirit will do! Your loved ones will be there in spirit, so have your MOH/Best Man toast you with his or her favorite sip (an Old-Fashioned, perhaps, or maybe an elderberry spritzer?). You can take the opportunity to toast them yourselves, as well!

In your fare. 

Bride and groom cutting the cake at beer hall wedding Photo Credit:

One of the most creative ways to celebrate those who are no longer with us is to incorporate their loves into festive food and bev for everyone to enjoy. Maybe you gift guests with edible favors using an old family recipe? Or how 'bout that wedding cake? One of my friends and her husband honored her late father in [literally] the sweetest way possible…

Bride and groom's wedding cake table - cakes say 'We're tight" Photo Credit:

From The bride herself

“My parents got married at City Hall back in the 80s, then had lunch with friends at a bar. They ordered two sheet cakes from an Italian bakery that read "We're" "Tight," which my dad always used to say to my mom. For our wedding -- where we served lunch at a New York City beer hall -- our good friend Heather baked and decorated two sheet cakes reading the same thing. It was really special and the cakes were delicious!”

~ Jess and Morgan L. 

You might also like:

How To Have A Beautiful Fall Wedding With A Pop Of Yellow (it included a sweet bow-tie bar in honor of the bride’s late father)

Honoring Lost Loved Ones At Your Wedding

TMW Your Late Father Says He’ll Haunt Your New Hubby

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