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Honoring deceased people at a wedding

(146 Posts)
Rose789 Thu 24-Oct-19 00:41:34

Me and dp are getting married in a few weeks.
I am wearing the necklace my mum wore on her wedding day (she died when I was a teenager) Dp is wearing his best friends watch which was left to him when he died a few years ago.
It means something to us and that’s what we have each chosen to do.
I told mil about it and she’s now came up with the idea that we should honour them publicly. Like as in leave an empty seat at the top table where my mum would have sat. Have an empty seat beside his brother (best man) where his friend would have sat.
The whole thing gives me the absolute horrors.
I’ve been to weddings before where the deceased have been a big part of the day. Including one where waiting to line up to go into the reception there were framed photos of every single family member that had died including some great great uncle who died in 1924. It was awful the brides extended family had no idea about it and several of them broke into tears seeing their grandparents photo. For the first hour it was like being at a wake.
I just think it’s such a macabre thing to do, but now I’m worried that we aren’t “honoring them properly”
Help me out here folks, any tips for gracefully remembering them without causing all my relatives to start sobbing?

DownWentTheFlag Thu 24-Oct-19 00:45:04

I think your original plan is enough.

Catonaroof Thu 24-Oct-19 00:46:32

I went to a wedding earlier this year where the bride totally owned it with her speech. Low key, no grand gestures, but half the room was in tears with her beautiful memories of her grandparents. Words mean more than gestures, I think.

And I hope you have a wonderful day!

Expressedways Thu 24-Oct-19 00:46:44

Your original plan is lovely, stick with that.

DramaAlpaca Thu 24-Oct-19 00:47:21

I was at a wedding recently where the people who the B&G would have liked to have there but couldn't for that reason were mentioned really beautifully in one of the speeches. It was very touching but not in the least macabre. I'm with you on having the horrors on what your MIL has suggested. What you & your DP want to do sounds perfect.

CalmdownJanet Thu 24-Oct-19 00:47:33

I agree with you about the seats, that would be too much! I think how you were remembering them is lovely. I work in the wedding industry and I see things like a photo of each set of parents on their wedding day, this is often by the cake or a separate simple candle at the ceremony or often the bride has a photo charm type thing on her bouquet, they seem to be really popular. But generally, like you want, people remember tastefully.

ToodlesnOOdleSAR Thu 24-Oct-19 00:47:53

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding OP.

The necklace and a watch are a lovely personal touch. And if that's what you want, then that's what you do.

As for empty chairs etc, it's not my cup of tea, but for anyone wishing to do that, of course their day, their rules.

Did you manage to say no to MIL? That it's not what you want but thanks for the suggestion?

I know some people mention absent friends/family members in a speech and sometimes do a toast? Might be a nice touch.

But don't feel you have to do anything more than what you're planning flowers

Pinkflipflop85 Thu 24-Oct-19 00:48:08

Stick with your original plan. Any wedding I've been to has had a toast to absent friends as part of the speeches which I think is lovely.

Procrastination4 Thu 24-Oct-19 00:48:21

I think what you have planned to do sounds perfect. The “empty chair” thing can look a bit sad, I think. My own daughter-in-law’s dad died a year before her wedding and she decided against the “empty chair” idea as she thought it would make her family lonely to see it. Instead she included subtle references to her dad throughout the day (his favourite flower was included in her bouquet, his favourite colour featured in her wedding decorations, a song he loved was part of a beautiful display at the reception, etc.)

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 24-Oct-19 00:48:31

Its traditional to mention significant dead people in the speeches. I think its lovely that you and your DHTB are also wearing keepsakes OP.

But that's it!
Tell your MiL "No empty seats" and definitely no photos. Your wedding day is not about death, it's about life and hope.

Midlandsmummy29 Thu 24-Oct-19 00:49:40

We had a candle burning and a frame sat next to it with wording something like “Nothing is more precious than family and friends. In loving memory of those no longer here to share our special day”. It sat on a small table to the side of our top table. It was subtle but we felt that was enough. Think it’s a personal thing but do not be forced to do something you don’t want to.

BitOfFun Thu 24-Oct-19 00:50:34

My darling dad died just two days before I got married in March. I wrapped his lucky green tie around my bouquet so it felt like he was with me walking up the aisle.

That was enough, I felt. He wouldn't have wanted me to make the day about him.

starfishmummy Thu 24-Oct-19 00:51:20

DH did a spontaneous toast to my late mother - because Dad had mentioned something about her not being there; but there was no place left for her and certainly no photos of long dead ancestors.

Aquamarine1029 Thu 24-Oct-19 00:57:23

Your soon to be MIL is ridiculous. Weddings are a celebration, not a funeral, ffs.

GrumpyHoonMain Thu 24-Oct-19 00:59:51

We had a table of photos with candles, flowers and confetti with our loved ones. But in Indian culture it’s traditional to remember the dead at weddings in that way. If it’s not usual for you then don’t do it.

Weloveoptimus Thu 24-Oct-19 01:01:24

Bitoffun that's a wonderful thing to do x sorry you lost him so near to your day.

Italiangreyhound Thu 24-Oct-19 01:01:56

Rose it's you and your partner's big day. Do what you want to do.

You could toast 'absent friend's during the day. But honestly only do what you feel is appropriate.

HicDraconis Thu 24-Oct-19 01:02:21

I wore a piece of my mother's jewellery at my wedding and my father mentioned her in his speech, with a toast to "absent friends". That was enough, what your MiL is proposing sounds completely over the top.

One of my best friends got married recently and had a photo of another friend who had recently died sitting on a side table, with a piece of cake, some flowers and a candle next to her. Quietly unobtrusive but present, which is how she wanted to remember her friend and acknowledge her at the wedding.

I think you should do whatever you feel is appropriate and whatever you are comfortable with - what you have planned sounds perfect.

Italiangreyhound Thu 24-Oct-19 01:03:37

BitOfFun I'm so sorry. Your tie idea was lovely. flowers

BackforGood Thu 24-Oct-19 01:06:52

[flower] BitofFun Must have been a real challenging time for you all.

OP - what you were thinking is enough.
I too would be horrified by what your MiL is suggesting (as, I imagine would those people the empty seats were for, if they could have been asked). Really macabre.

I've been at weddings where there has been a toast for those no longer with us, but as soon as you start mentioning some people, it kind of then becomes about 'why did X get a mention when Y didn't' so I'd just leave it at 'loved ones who are no longer with us' if you decide to do this.

BitOfFun Thu 24-Oct-19 01:06:57

Thank you, Weloveoptimus - it was very bittersweet. On the one hand it was terrible timing, but on the other, it meant that we had something very joyous to tide us over until the funeral. I spoke at that, and told a funny story about him at the service, so he didn't miss out! I absolutely adored my dad, and I know he was very happy that I was getting married to a lovely man.

Ozgirl75 Thu 24-Oct-19 01:16:14

At my best friend’s wedding, the groom had lost his mum as a teenager and in the speech he just said “I know mum would have loved to be here today”, then he looked at the bride and said “she would have loved you”.

He then managed to add in a little joke about how she would have been less impressed about the stag night or something.

Not a dry eye in the house! But it was lovely, sweet and not maudlin at all.

BitOfFun Thu 24-Oct-19 01:19:20

That sounds perfect, Ozgirl.

Italiangreyhound Thu 24-Oct-19 01:23:22

' the speech he just said “I know mum would have loved to be here today”, then he looked at the bride and said “she would have loved you”.' ozgirl I'm selling up just reading that! flowers

Italiangreyhound Thu 24-Oct-19 01:23:56

Welling up!

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