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6 Ways To Honor Loved Ones At Your Wedding

 I know from experience that honoring the memory of loved ones at your wedding is a delicate issue.

My father died suddenly of a heart attack when I was 15. I can still remember flipping through a family photo album the day after he died, pausing to study his face and lamenting even then, "He'll miss my wedding day," which is, admittedly, a funny thought to have for a tenth grader who'd never been kissed.

In the months before my wedding, I struggled with the fact that my dad wouldn't be there to watch me get married. How could we possibly do justice to his memory without casting a sombre mood over our happy occasion? 

In the end, we honored him in a way that felt right to me and my family. Through touching speeches, private thoughts of him and talking about him with guests, his presence was certainly felt throughout the day. The morning after our wedding, my husband and I visited the churchyard and I left my bouquet on the marble slab that marks his grave. 

Regardless of who you're honoring at your wedding, it's important that you do so in a way that feels right to you and in a way that your loved one would have appreciated. Weddings are emotional to begin with and the fact that someone special can't be there tugs at your heart strings.

Here are 6 meaningful ways to include the memory of loved ones who have passed away into your celebration. 

1. Wear Something They Gave You: Whether it's your grandmother's antique ring or the earrings your father gave you for your high school graduation, wearing something that reminds you of the person is a subtle way to include them in your special day. 

2. Carry Their Photo In A Locket: It's become popular for brides to attach a locket with a photo of their loved one to the ribbon of their bouquet. This could also spark more conversation around the deceased person, since guests can open the locket and see a photo of them. 

3. Play Their Favorite Song: Whether you sing their favorite hymn at the ceremony, or do the twist to their favorite Beatles tune on the dance floor, incorporating their favorite music into your celebration is another way to remember a loved one.  

4. Make a Donation In Their Name: Was there a cause or charity that was near to their heart? Did they suffer from cancer or other diseases before they died? If so, why not make a donation in their name to a meaningful charity in lieu of favors. 

5. Raise A Toast: While the bride and groom are the guests of honor and recipients of many toasts, you could dedicate a toast before or after dinner to your loved one. It might also be appropriate to raise a glass to their memory at the end of a speech. 

6. Arrange Family Photos: Reserve some space on your guest book table to create a vignette of photos from the bride and groom's families, including pictures of relatives who are no longer with us. As guests sign their best wishes, they will be reminded of the important people in your lives who couldn't be at your celebration.  

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