With so much joy that comes along with planning a wedding for me, and many brides like me, there is an undertone of sadness. See, my older brother Mario passed away in 2010. He was only 35. Three and a half months out from our wedding, I get more and more excited about the big day, but more and more anxious about the one question I hate having to answer. How are we going honor Mari?
It’s always hard to have significant celebrations when someone isn’t there to share in the celebration with you. Weddings are no different. As beautiful as these events are – the celebration of two lives joining to form one – I can’t help but feel a little melancholy. The one person who would be through the moon excited for me isn’t here to share this moment with me.If you are like me, and you are pondering what to do to recognize someone who is so special to you, but has unfortunately passed away, don’t worry. There are ways we can include our loved ones and keep the spirit present.
1.) Save a seat.
During the ceremony, reserve a seat in the front row in memory of your loved one. You can place their picture in the seat, their favorite flower or even a sign with their name on it. This is a visible gesture that lets everyone know your loved one will not be forgotten.
2.) Request a song.
During the reception, make a request for the D.J. to play your loved one’s favorite song. Anyone who knows my brother knows he loved Jamiroquai. Oh, we’ll definitely be playing some Jamiroquai at the LeJeune wedding in MayJ.
3.) Make a donation.
I’ll never forget what my friend did when she got married that brought me to tears. On the back of our seating cards, there was a line that read, “In lieu of gifts, we are making a donation to the Medical College of Virginia.” I immediately busted out in tears. You see, my brother was a liver transplant recipient and was treated by the incredible physicians and nurses at MCV. To know, without telling me, that my friend made the donation in his memory, as well as in honor of another one of her family members, humbled me to tears. For any bride and groom looking for a way to honor their loved one, preserving their memory by giving back to something that meant so much to them is an awesome way to do it.
4.) Write them a letter.
What better way to capture your feelings and thoughts than by writing a letter to your loved one on your wedding day. In general, writing a letter is a great way to get all your thoughts out in the open and bring life to your feelings that day (which will be all over the place). Take it a step further and memorialize that moment by framing the letter.
5.) Capture them in pictures.
Let your photographer know you want to capture your loved one in pictures for that day. Bring a favorite picture of them, their favorite article of clothing or something with their name on it. Let your photographer capture that item in pictures for the day.
So, let’s face it. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy. Especially during holidays and special occasions, however; you can find ways to uplift their memory and reflect back on their life with joy and not sadness. How have you chosen to remember your loved ones?