Post # 1
My mom passed away last week. It wasn’t totally unexpected—she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s about five years ago, so I knew what the ultimate outcome would be—but I still feel as though I’ve been hit by a truck.
I’ve only been engaged for a little over a month, and haven’t really been able to begin planning a whole lot because she wound up in the hosital mid-April. Obviously, this whole ordeal makes my planning feel a bit bittersweet, just imagining all the things I’m going to miss out on that I always wanted my mother to be there for.
Anyway, I’ve been searching around for ways to have my mom included in the ceremony. I already have a few ideas.. I will wear her pearls, I will attach a charm of hers to my bouquet, and my fiance and I are planning on scattering her ashes there (NOT at the venue, NOT during the wedding or during any wedding-related events whatsoever—but privately somewhere just outside town, because we are getting married in the town I was born in that she always wanted to move back to). I still feel like that’s somehow not enough. I read in a few places online about keeping a chair empty for her, and perhaps placing flowers there, but I’ve also read a bunch of comments on those ideas from people who called them “creepy” or “sad,” and I also don’t want my wedding to feel like a memorial service.
Has anyone else had to do this, or does anyone have any other nice, creative, subtle-ish ideas? Personally, I don’t mind the empty chair idea, but I realize it might be sad to turn around after the ceremony and be reminded yet again that she’s not there, not to mention that I don’t want to bum my guests out. Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated 🙂
Post # 3
@laustin85: so sorry for your loss.
my father passed away 2 years ago and my FI’s father passed away 15 years ago.
we are jewish, in a jewish ceremony you get married under a chuppah (canopy). we are using both of our father’s talits (prayer shawls) as the canopy covering.
Post # 4
For my husband’s father that had passed away, and our grandparents, we included a nice reading during the service and section in our program. It was nice to acknowledge them but was short enough to make sure that it didn’t make our wedding sad or like a memorial.
Post # 5
I’m so sorry for your loss. I am praying for you and your family!
Post # 6
@laustin85: I am very sorry for your loss. 🙁
My father passed away a year ago, and so I will be doing certain things to honour him, as well. We are doing the empty chair with his photo and a little card/framed poem. Honestly, you can honour your mother any way you wish, and the people who call it “creepy” or “sad” likely haven’t experienced the loss of a close loved one.
I am going with the “unspoken” details because I don’t think I can handle readings/songs in his memory (and that will feel more funeral-like to me).
Post # 7
I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine losing my mom. My best friend’s mom has this, and is not expected to make it much longer. Because her mom was so sick, she was not able to attend her daughter’s wedding. It was very hard for my friend, but she did some nice things to include her mom.
She wore her mom’s earrings. She put out framed photos of her parents and grandparents from their wedding, as well her FI’s next to the guest book. It was very nice to see all the wedding photos out.
The biggest thing she did was choose pink flowers. Apparently the color pink is gratitude. She had a vase of pink roses behind the “altar” (was a beach wedding, so it was table) and the officiant made a few remarks during the ceremony that the bride was thankful for the person she became due to the love and nurturing of her mother. She said that all the pink flowers and pink in the wedding were a way to honor and thank her mom. There was also a note in the program, and the favor was a donation to an Alzheimer’s Foundation.
Thinking of you at this difficult time.
Post # 8
@laustin85: I’m so sorry for your loss.
I think what you’re doing is plenty. I’m not a fan of the empty chair idea. Your wedding is about your wedding. Remember your Mom in ways that are meaningful to you.
Post # 9
I’m so sorry for your loss **hugs** I think your ideas of wearing her pearls, and using her charm on your bouquet are lovely ways of remembering her spirit. 🙂
Post # 10
I am so sorry for your loss.
Post # 11
so sorry about your loss sweetie.. *big hugs for you*
Sorry, I don’t have any experience about that but in my opinion, I wouldn’t use the empty chair, it would make me realize even more that she’s not there and It’d make me even more sad..
how about you just bring a picture of her, the picture of her with the biggest smile you can find!! cos I’m sure that’s how she would feel at your wedding.. HAPPY!! =)
much love and prayers for you and your family xxxx
Post # 12
@laustin85: I’m so sorry for your loss. My mom passed away after a long illness 4 years ago. Like you, I knew it was coming eventually, but it was still shocking when she actually passed.
My family always has “altars” set up at wedding receptions. It has pictures of everyone who has passed away. It’s a nice way to fill space with something meaningful.
I will be cutting a heart out of one of mom’s blue shirts and sewing it into the inside of the bodice of my dress for my “something blue”. I will probably wear her pearls as well. I’m using succulents and calla lilies because they were both her favorite. I like the empty chair idea. At my parents’ wedding mom took flowers to Mary (Catholic tradition) and pulled out one of the roses and gave it to her mom. I might do something similar, but place it on “her” empty chair.
Post # 13
I just wanted to say that I am incredibly sorry for your loss. Xo
Post # 14
I’m so sorry. I lost my grandpa to Alzheimer’s, and I know that it’s a rough experience.
I don’t think it’s creepy to include an empty seat for your mother, I think it’s really touching. I had a friend who did a table of old family photos at the reception (I think it was the guestbook table). She included wedding photos of both sets of parents, childhood pics, photos of relatives who couldn’t be there, etc., which I thought was a great idea.
Post # 15
I have no advice, but wanted to say that I am sorry for your loss and will keep you in my prayers.
Post # 16
I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m not sure about the empty chair idea, I haven’t seen it done. However, at my cousin’s wedding, the bride’s father had passed away. The officiant made reference to her father during the ceremony, and included a reading that the bride picked with her father in mind. They also did a toast during the reception to “all our loved ones who couldn’t be here today”. Try not to make any decisions right now though, when the hurt is so fresh. Give yourself some time to heal.