Laurie asks us a delicate, important question:
Both my fiancé and I have a parent that has passed away. How do we gracefully mention them or acknowledge them? This is a first wedding for both of us and we are in our mid 40s.
Sarah K. answers:
You’re onto something. It is better to acknowledge a significant loss than glide past it. Your guests are friends and family who know that you’ve each lost a parent, and more importantly, you know. Chances are that these losses you and your fiancé have endured have partly shaped who you are, and in some small way led you to each other.
When I got married, my fiancé had recently lost a brother. We asked our minister to mention him during her remarks, which she did ever so thoughtfully. She emailed us her ideas on what she wanted to say in advance, and since we found her approach perfect, we didn’t change a thing.
Your officiant will likely have ideas as well, or you can suggest that he says something in particular.
It can be as simple as “Helen’s father passed away in 2008. He was there for all of the milestones in her life: her first steps, the 3rd grade daddy-daughter dance, her high school and college graduations, her completion of the Boston Marathon, and the birth of her son. And he is here today, alive in our memories.”
At this point, the couple can light a candle beside a framed photo of the deceased, or place a single rose beside the picture.
I’m designing flowers for a wedding this weekend for a couple who has lost several family members. We have decided on a beautiful vase arrangement of seven yellow roses, one flower to signify each lost loved one. The vase will be placed on the altar.
What are your experiences with memorializing loved ones in your wedding ceremony? Please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments.