It’s your wedding day. I totally get it. I have been there… almost 9 years ago! Emotions are all over the place and the planning process is finally coming to life. You have guests arriving who you love and are so happy they are there… you also have someone who can’t be there in person… but they are there in spirit.
My mom passed away in 2002 from Breast Cancer. I was 17. Going thorough life without a mom is so hard. Like really hard. I can’t call her just to talk, I couldn’t call her to help me in the wedding planning process, being pregnant and raising kids without her is devastating, but I have found ways to keep her alive in our hearts…. Here is how she was present for our wedding day.
For our wedding, she was all around. PJ and I were married at The Smithville Inn located in Galloway, NJ. Growing up in South Jersey, my mom brought my sisters and I there throughout our childhood. I could not wait to bring PJ to see this area when we were looking for a wedding venue. He knew how special the place was to me, and we both just loved it, it was the perfect place to have our wedding. Along with the venue, I had been gifted a necklace from my older sister the year she passed away. Today I still keep that necklace close by, but on my wedding day, I pinned it to my bouquet. I also had a pink ribbon wrapping all around my flowers in support of breast cancer awareness.
Along with Breast Cancer Awareness, instead of having the traditional boutonnières for the groomsmen. They each wore a pink ribbon in memory of mom.
Years ago, one of my favorite things to do was scrapbook! I have so many scrapbooks I have made from my high school years, and I decided to create a scrapbook with photos of my mom. I had the scrapbook displayed on a table in the reception area along with a vase of her favorite flowers, gladiolas. There was also a photo of my mom and dad’s wedding day with a framed poem.
A gift from my cousin was my something blue, which I had no idea she had made for me. She took a photo of my mom and had a pin made. This special something blue was pinned to my heart inside of my wedding dress.
My something old was also a way to remember a loved one. My sisters gave this to me once I had my dress on and it was almost time to walk down the aisle. They gave my my grandmothers (my mom’s mom) pearl ring. It was absolutely beautiful and such a special memory to have of her on my wedding day along with all the ways I remembered my mom.
One more way I remembered someone special was the table cover on the sweetheart table. This was a wedding gift by our great cousins. My great aunt who was my pops sister, was not able to be there. They gifted us a beautiful linen cloth that she stitched. This was a last minute touch that I am so glad we did. It was perfect for our table and a beautiful way to have her with us on our special day.
Now that I am a wedding photographer and I have photographed so many weddings over the last 5 years, I have seen some beautiful ways my Ali B Couples have honored their loved ones as well. Here are a few ways I have seen these beautiful touches come to life, and I am so honored I get to be there to save these moments.
Other ways to remember your loved one can be:
- Including a family recipe either on the menu, as your wedding favor, or in a frame on a table- can use this as the table numbers- table can be called their favorite foods.
- Reserve a seat
- Have a moment of reflection at the start of your ceremony
- Light a candle for them
- provide favors in their honor/ make a donation to a charity
- include them in your toast
- write a note “in memory of” in your wedding program
Also, take a moment to reflect on them alone. They are there. They are watching and they couldn’t be more proud.
When creating a memory table honoring your loved ones at a wedding reception, should you have pictures of you with your loved ones or pictures just of them?
great question! I think you can really do it either way! Some people will use a photo of the loved one on their wedding day, or an old photo of you with them, or even a more recent one of you with them. It’s entirely up to you- and these can also be mixed and matched, for example, if you have a photo of you and your grandfather, but not one of you and your grandmom you can still use the one of the two of you, and then have her of just herself, or even- gram and grandpop together…. possibilities are endless when it comes to how you want to remember them. Any way you decide will be beautiful. <3 xo