When it comes to honoring deceased loved ones at your wedding, there are lot of wonderful ideas out there! It’s beautiful and important to remember those who have left us- but how often do we wish we’d done that more when we could have told them to their faces?! How can you demonstrate your affection and gratitude to living family on your wedding day? I’ve been brain storming for some awesome ideas for honoring family at your wedding. No tears allowed unless they’re happy tears!
Parents and Grandparents pour so much into raising their children! Only now am I just beginning to get a glimpse of their dedication. Raising children is the most emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting calling I could ever imagine. It will be so difficult to one day trust their hearts and lives to someone else! I have no experience as a grandparent, but I see my parents’/ in-laws’ sacrifices, and I remember how much my grandparents gave me (time, teaching, wisdom, hard work, selfless playtime, constant prayers, financial investment, and thoughtfulness, for instance). So… all of this work and it seems to get left behind when children start a family of their own. If ever there were a time to lavish your gratitude, sentimentality, love, and appreciation on the ones who raised you, it’s now!
Dig into your life story to find ways of honoring your folks- it’ll be so much more personal than any suggestion i can give you! However, I’m providing a few of my favorite examples to get your creative juices- and maybe your mascara- flowing.
1. Include Them in a Special Prayer
They’ve worn out their knees praying for you since before you were born; honor them with the privilege of one of the most important prayers of your life! Remember, despite popular thought… you’re not just marrying your spouse, you’re joining their family too (whether you like it or not). Make this a group effort to seal a bond between all of you.
2. Write a Word Picture
I am a firm believer in writing down my feelings; by extension, photography helps me paint “word pictures.” Sometimes it’s easier and more striking to show your memories rather than verbalize them. Find a significant picture of you and your parent(s) from your childhood, show it to your photographer and see if it can be tastefully recreated as a surprise for them.
3. Include Generations
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are families. Show the rich history behind your story by including multiple generations in the picture.
4. Tear-Worthy Trinkets
Etsy is overflowing with fantastic gifts! Groom to bride’s mom, bride to groom’s mom, son to mom, daughter to father… so many great ideas, so little time! This image isn’t mine, but I wanted to show you what I gave my dad for Christmas a few years ago; he always used to tell me stories about a little, green turtle. (Mancornas has wonderful, “manly” gifts and it was so much fun perusing his shop!)
5. Love is a Dance
Don’t make the mistake I did of skipping out on daughter-father, mother-son dances! If for some reason, this just isn’t a possibility for you, then honor them by having a family only dance right after yours (your parents dance with each other, his parents dance together, the grandparents dance together, fill in missing partners with another important family member, etc).
6. Give Your Family the First Look
First look, for good reason, is becoming a huge deal! It’s such a special time for the bride and groom. Consider providing a first look for your family too. The reactions, emotions, and memories are priceless! It will break their hearts in all the good ways.
Again, make everything as personal as possible! Invest a little extra time in your loved ones on what is one of the biggest days of their lives too! One day you (and they) will be grateful for the memory. Oh… and be sure to bring some good, waterproof mascara for all the ladies present!
P.S. Even if you have a rocky relationship with your loved ones, it’s still important to realize they are part of who you are (perhaps it’s a decision you made to end a negative pattern under which you suffered). Check out these subtle, but thoughtful touches about announcing your engagement, and delegating property on your big day.