How to Celebrate a Lost Loved One at Your Wedding

How to Celebrate a Lost Loved One at Your Wedding

This is of course a sensitive topic, and needs some careful consideration.  Whoever you want to remember on your day, the decision as to how you express your love for them needs to be carefully balanced with the joy of your wedding day, and consideration of the sensitivity of others around you.

The first step should always be for the bride and groom to talk to each other very honestly and agree your preference, then to talk to family or guests who were close to the person to see how they’ll feel about your plans.   Cultural and religious differences should be taken into account, and we hope the suggestions below might help to find the best choice for you and your guests.  Above all, the purpose is to remember them and include them in your day.

What you decide to do – if anything – should reflect the personality of the person.  In the Great Barn at Lillibrooke we’ve been privileged to have an insight into the absent person by the way they’re remembered – from subtle remembrance books and photos set out in a quiet area for reflection, to a life-sized photo and full place setting at the table so they can ‘join in’ with their favourite drink in front of them and many toasts made to them!

Speeches
Probably the simplest remembrance is for the person to be mentioned in one of the speeches – and is very appropriate where it’s the parent of bride or groom.  A bride’s loss of her mother is always very poignant on her wedding day, but for her to be remembered and included is often comforting and cathartic.  Where appropriate, tasteful humour can be used to keep the tears at bay.

Remembrance Table
Setting out a remembrance book with photos and flowers is a lovely way for guests to reflect and write a personal message or a particular memory.  It’s also a lovely thing to share with those who were close after the wedding, and for the couple to treasure forever.

Dressing and Theming
It’s quite likely your loved one will have had a big influence on your tastes.  Include something special to them – whether it’s their favourite flower, colour, music, or even an activity they used to enjoy.  These can be creatively woven in to your theming in as subtle or obvious a way as you choose.

A Private Moment
Arrange a more private and intimate moment with a small number of people who were closest.  Share a quiet toast and some memories in a beautiful garden or separate area to acknowledge the person is in all your minds on this special day.

A special tipple
For someone who had a particular ‘tipple’ they were known for, especially if it was something unusual, talk to your venue about offering it at a special price on the bar and even ordering it in the person’s name.

Photos and ‘Videos’
Thinking of absent loved ones might sound sad on the face of it, but often the remembered person will have been full of life, humour, traits and quirks that made them very special to you.  Finding ways of reflecting their personality will help everyone remember the ‘real’ person rather than the sadness of the loss.  Family photos and even videos that include the person as you all remember them will bring back many happy memories.  At Lillibrooke, the Small Barn lends itself to a display of family photos, and both barns have AV systems to play digital content from files supplied, or direct from your phone.

A private token
If you’re looking for something more private, then a personal item close to the bride or groom might be the answer.  A locket with a picture of the loved one woven into the bouquet, a piece of their jewellery being worn, or even a small photo in the groom’s top pocket.  Whether you share this with others or not, they will be close to you during your wedding day.

Healing
It’s well known that talking about a loved one and keeping their memory alive is a healthy and positive thing which helps with the grieving process however long ago or recent the loss is.  Henry Scott-Holland’s much quoted poem says this beautifully.  Whatever your decision, above all, it must be right for you both and should be a celebration of the person, as well as a celebration of one of the happiest days of your lives.

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Lilllibrooke Manor is a beautiful barn wedding venue in Berkshire which has many gardens and spaces to use exclusively on your day.  We’ll be happy to help you with any type of memorial and suggest the best way to fulfil your plans within your itinerary.

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