As Confetti’s wedding expert I have answered thousands of your letters over the years, and now I’m sharing my advice to help others with the same dilemmas.
Q: How can I remember my mother on my wedding day without feeling sad?
My mother died a couple of years ago and I wondered whether there is any etiquette I should follow with regard to remembering her on the day. I’ve been considering leaving an empty space on the top table in consideration of my mother and wondered if this was appropriate or if we should mention her in the speeches or have a photo or something. I don’t want to feel sad on my wedding day but I want her to be a part of it in some small way as she would have dearly loved to be there.
A: There are several of ways to remember passed loved ones on the day
I think it’s lovely that you want her to be a part of your day in some way. Leaving a space at the table might not be the most appropriate way to remember her as leaving a gap between two people on the table could prove to be rather more upsetting for you and your family than perhaps a joyful mention of her in one of the speeches.
There are several of ways to remember passed loved ones who can’t be with you on the day:
Choose their favourite hymn or poem, and add a line to your Order of Service explaining your choice.
Choose their favourite flower as your buttonholes or the centrepiece of the bride’s bouquet and add a note with your invitations that says something like: ‘To keep Anne close to our hearts, we ask our guests to bring or wear a yellow rose as they were so adored by her.’
Light a candle during the ceremony and dedicate it to them, or if you are having a religious ceremony, ask each member of the family to stand in front of the altar, light a separate candle from the church’s eternity candle and hold it whilst the minister offers a short blessing or prayer. Ask your minister or celebrant for more advice on this.
Have a framed photo of them and place it somewhere in the reception room or just carry it with you in a locket around your neck or in a brooch on your bouquet.
It is wonderful to remember passed loved ones at your wedding and a good idea to focus on how much she means to you rather than how much she is missed. Do what’s right for you and check that your family are okay with this too. You don’t have to make a special mention of her if you feel it would be upsetting, it could be just enough to know you have chosen her favourite flowers and carry her photo in a locket worn close to your heart.
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.