by Barbara van Look, Marketing Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
One April morning in 1999, I woke to discover that the wedding I had dreamed about since I was a little girl would never happen. My father--my beloved Daddy--had a heart attack the previous night and never recovered. That dream, of him walking me proudly down the aisle, had vanished forever.
Then we lost my mom to cancer. And I had the heart-rending realization that the place where the Parents of the Bride were supposed to stand ... was forever going to be empty.
Balancing Joy and Sorrow
Losing your parents is a profoundly life-changing experience. Their absence echoes during important milestones afterwards: graduation, the births of your children and, yes, your wedding. Balancing that deep sorrow with the joy of your wedding day can require a delicate touch.
There are a number of ways to honor and remember missing family members during your wedding:
Leave empty chairs at the front, and place a rose on each seat
Set up candles, tied with ribbon hung with beads or charms spelling their names (or "Mom" and "Dad"). Light the candles as part of the ceremony or reception.
Wear your mother's wedding dress or veil--or carry your dad's handkerchief. (You might need it.)
Add an in memoriam to your wedding program:"Today we honor those who cannot be with us, especially the bride's parents ..."
If your ceremony is taking place at the same church where they were laid to rest, the bride can lay her bouquet on their grave(s)
One of the most powerful and traditional ways to remember the missing is in the wedding jewelry--especially lockets. Lockets can hold pictures, locks of hair or other memorials. They can be worn as the bride's jewelry, added to her bouquet, used in ceremony or reception décor--even dangled from the groom's boutonniere.
I have a lock of my dad's hair set in ICE Resin®, and pictures of my parents on their wedding day. These personal touchstones fit perfectly inside a large locket that I can wear down the aisle and let me feel that my mom and dad are still near me on this happiest of days.