Post # 1
Hi ladies, I was hoping ya’ll could help me find a way to honor my deceased MIL at our wedding. She passed away when my fiance was 17, long before I met him. I really want to do something tasteful to honor her, but also something that doesn’t change the mood of the wedding or make it seem like we’re being a little overdramatic. My fiance had a very complex relationship with her, so I don’t want to make it too over the top since some of the people from my FIL’s side might wonder why we’re not being more appreciative of him (he had full custody even before she passed, for a myriad of reasons too complex to post online). I thought of having his grandfather (her father) carry a picture of my fiance and his mother down the aisle to start the procession, or having him dance with his sister to one of his mom’s favorite songs. What are some other ideas that you have done or seen done?
Post # 2
steph5565: I would leave this up to your DH. I had the same situation, and DH was adamant that he didn’t want to do anything because it was too sad. He didn’t want it brought up at the ceremony, and he didn’t want to dance with someone else during the mother/son dance. I didn’t pry, because it was his choice. He was very close to his mother, so it was hard for him and whatever would have been done would have been something for him to get through. Had it been one of my parents, I would have done something, but I respected his choice. It’s not the type of thing that should be arranged by a well meaning bride because people deal with these things differently. I also did not know my MIL before she died, so I think my planning of a memorial to be carried out by her family members would have been overstepping.
Post # 3
steph5565: I’m going to be honest, unless this was your FI’s idea, I’d skip it entirely. You shouldn’t be the one making a big deal about “wanting to honor her” at an event that has nothing to do with her, it isn’t her memorial, it is your wedding, and she wasn’t your mother she was his. If he wants to do something (and brings it up on his own) go for it and absolutely do whatever he asks, but unless he does I’d stay out of it.
Post # 4
I think the decision has to come from your fiancé but I really don’t know if a wedding is an appropriate time to have a memorial to your MIL. I understand that you want to make it special. I too lost my father as a teenager and the thought crossed my mind to do something also during my wedding but a wedding is between you and your fiancé and your future, not his past.
Why don’t you do something simple like wear a locket or bracelet with her picture in it or use afavorite flower of hers in your bouquet. That way it’s personal to the both of you but not over done for everyone else ?
Post # 5
Well, since you used the word “complex” two times, I would say it is not necessary. I’ve attended very few weddings where deceased were honored in any way, and even then, it was just wedding day photos of grandparents, or a memorial section in the ceremony program.
I’m sorry, but carrying a photo down the aisle, as part of the processional seems morbid, to me.
Post # 6
Thanks everyone for the replies! I get your point about no “surprise memorials”, but my fiance definitely wants to do something – he’s just not sure what. When I say complex, I mean that they had their difference and she had some mental illness issues that she was working through. My fiance had just begun to mend their relationship when she passed but he talks of her fondly and we have pictures of them all over the house. I just don’t want something with like 82 harpists and 1000 balloons floating away for all of the reasons ya’ll mentioned. That said, my fiance is a super sentimental guy (we always joke that I’m the man in the relationship because I hardly ever cry, hate rom-coms, and the like, whereas he’s very sensitive). Maybe a candle lighting at the beginning? We also thought of taking my bouquet to her grave the day after the wedding which is perhaps a better homage to her. It’s such a delicate balance between honoring tradition and turning it into a memorial!
Post # 7
My FIL passed before our wedding. I had framed pictures of my hubby and him along with candles and flowers set up on the table where the wedding favors were and it was beautiful. Also, it was a total surprise to my husband and he loved it.
Post # 8
Have you considered getting a separate “in memory” bouquet? I’m doing that, and leaving a seat open with a sign saying “This chair is left empty in memory of those who cannot be with us today.”
FI and I both agreed we don’t want to actually list names, but it was a nice way of honoring MIL, as well as grandparents who can’t be with us, without making anyone upset.
Post # 9
We put 4 white roses on the altar in a small vase for our grandparents that couldn’t be with us (3 of mine and 1 of my husbands), and a note in the program saying the flowers were in memory. This was just next to the big altar arrangements
Post # 10
My DHs mother died 2 years before our wedding. We had a picture of her at the top of the room and at the start of the ceremony we took a moment to light a candle for her before starting the ceremony proper. I also had roses included in the bouquets as they were her favourite flower.
Post # 11
Both of DH’s parents have passed away within the last few years. To honor them, I made a photo collage and we set it out, before the ceremony started, on two chairs in the front row. When DH was walking to the altar, he stopped to place a rose on each chair and give his parents a kiss.
Post # 12
Both of my parents and FI’s mom have passed away. Also my grandfather and his grandfather as of today. I had pictures taken with our grandpa’s in my dress so those will be displayed at the reception along with my parents wedding pic and a pic of his mom. His mom’s favorite thing was seashells so they will be abundant. I really like the idea of him and his sister dancing to her favorite song!
Post # 13
We did a moment of silence for people at the ceremony. My father died 6 years ago, and the officiant just said his name as someone we would like to remember and take a moment of silence for. I had quite a few compliments on it, actually, as it was tasteful, but not overdone as there is friction with family since his passing.
Post # 14
steph5565: I recently went to a wedding where the bride honored her grandma by placing her symbolic wedding invitation on one of the ceremony chairs, and a pink rose. It was in the front two and very sweet. The bride also arranged a memorial table to honor her near the programs. There were several photos of her, but the best part was that she included her grandma’s wedding album and original newspaper wedding announcement from 1950. Lastly she mentioned her in her thank you speech Basically saying that she knows her grandmother is there in spirit. I thought it was a really sweet and elegant way to honer her grandmother.
Post # 15
AllieLaLa: holy crap that made me cry!
OP, We’re doing the same thing as AllieLaLa, but also placing 5 white roses in front of the picture to represent each lost one. I think it’s super sweet to want to honor your fiance and his mother like that.