Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things you will ever experience. We always think of parents and relatives and friends as those who are present in our lives, who are present for our happiest moments such as holidays, birthdays, and weddings.
As your marriage approaches, it’s only natural to feel the pain of that loss, no matter how much time has passed since the deaths of your loved ones. This is especially true if the person was close to you and was always present in your life.
Fortunately, when you’re planning on a small intimate gathering for your elopement, there are many ways to incorporate and honor the memory of your loved ones so they can be part of your celebration.
Ways to Honor Someone During a Speech
One of the most common ways to honor a deceased loved one at a wedding is to incorporate their memory into the wedding speech. Whether you, your spouse, or another relative is giving a speech, here are some ways you can remember your loved ones.
1. Read a poem
If you are trying to find the right words to capture your father’s generosity, your mother’s kindness, or your grandmother’s humor, reading a memorial poem during your elopement might be a perfect idea. You can read a poem you wrote yourself, a modern poem, or a classic piece of poetry.
2. Toast your loved one
Another option is to offer a toast on behalf of your loved one. By toasting your loved one, you will encourage your guests to honor them as part of your elopement.
3. Read a letter from or to your loved one
If you want something more personal, read a letter from your loved one or write one of your own. Many parents write notes to their children to read on their wedding day. Do you have a letter from your parent or loved one? Consider reading it on your wedding day to remind you of their love.
If you don’t have a letter or note from your loved one, consider writing your own letter. Explain what their love to you meant and why you want them to be part of your wedding day.
You could read either of these aloud during your wedding. If you want this to be a private moment, then you can simply read it while you’re getting ready for the day.
4. Have a time of silence
An easy way to incorporate the memory of your loved ones into your special day is to hold a special time of silence. Take several moments to reflect on your own before the festivities, with your partner before the ceremony, or with your guests during any post-ceremony reception.
5. Say a prayer or share a quote
Last but not least, you can include the memory of your late loved on. You can choose to insert something that reminds you of your loved one such as a classic prayer, quote from a TV show, or lyrics from a song. Sharing these will honor the memory of your loved one and help you feel closer to them.
Ways to Honor a Loved One During the Elopement Ceremony
The elopement ceremony is a perfect place to honor a deceased loved one during your elopement. It takes a little pre-planning, but it can help you feel closer to their memory when it’s time to say your vows.
6. Leave a chair empty
If your loved one would have been among your small party during the ceremony, consider leaving a chair or space empty to represent their presence where they would have sat or stood. They may not be there with you in person, but their memory will be.
7. Light a remembrance candle
In many cultures, lighting a candle is a beautiful symbol of unity that takes place during the ceremony. As a twist on this tradition, consider lighting a candle that represents your loved one’s influence in your life.
8. Carry a memento with you
As the saying goes, you’re supposed to wear “something old, new, borrowed, and blue.” Consider wearing a memento or carrying one with you in your bouquet during your elopement. A memento could be anything from their cuff links and handkerchief to an heirloom necklace you received.
9. Honor their memory during the ceremony
Talk to the officiant and tell them you’d like to honor your loved one’s memory during the ceremony. They may provide several options such as reading quotes, passages, and other options they can provide.
Ways to Honor the Deceased During the Reception
When you elope, your reception can be a particularly intimate time spent talking to a handful of your closest friends and family, and it’s an excellent moment to incorporate ways to honor your loved one.
10. Play a song
Playing your loved one’s favorite song in the background is a subtle nod to their influence on your life. If you plan on dancing, you might consider playing this as part of the lineup or even as your first dance.
11. Father and daughter dance
If you’ve lost your father, the father-daughter dance might be pretty daunting. Consider inviting a trusted loved one, such as an uncle, family friend, sibling, or mother, to dance in his place so you can continue the tradition. During the dance, share your favorite memories with your loved one and remember that your dad is always with you.
12. Visit their grave
Depending on where you plan on eloping, this may not be possible, but consider visiting your loved one’s grave before or after you elope. You can do this before you get on a plane or when you return from your elopement. Visit the grave alone or with your spouse, tell them how much you love them, and leave a bouquet to share your joy and let them be part of the festivities.
Celebrate Your Loved One’s Memory
Remembering a loved one during your wedding day is something you’ll think back on for the rest of your life. Although the loss of a parent, close relative, friend, or other loved one is always difficult, you can honor their memory during the biggest milestone in your life.
A wedding is a time of joy, celebration, and friendship. It is also a reminder that life is short and we should live every moment to the fullest. Take a few moments to honor those you have lost during the greatest day of your life. Not only will you feel like they are part of your big day, but you will feel their love watching over you.