Memorial Help?

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AJLM Posts : 49 Registered: 11/18/08
Memorial Help?
Posted: May 6, 2010 9:08 PM

So I need some help/ideas. FHs father suddenly passed away this past Friday. FH and I have talked about the wedding since then, as well as the parents and siblings, and everyone wants to continue with the wedding as planned. I want to do something to honor FHs father but have no idea what to do. We had talked about doing a memorial arrangement for the grandparents which are deceased but decided no matter what we did it will be depressing to some extent. I would love to do something to honor his father but don't want to do something that is going to be depressing for everyone since it is so fresh.

Does anyone have any ideas or has been through something similar... or even input on whether I should do something or not?



auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Memorial Help?
Posted: May 6, 2010 9:42 PM Go to message in response to: AJLM

Dear AJ,

I'm so sorry to hear about your FH's loss.

What to do about the wedding?

On the one hand, you want to remember FH's late father, especially since his death so was recent.

On the other hand, you want the wedding to be a joyous occasion. It's a wedding, not a memorial service.

Here is my suggestion. Ask the officiant to say a few words about FH's dad's absence just before the ceremony. Then, move on.

"Ladies and gentlemen, before we get started, I'd like to say a few words about Joe's father. As most of you know, Joe lost his father less than two months ago. This is a happy day for both families, as Joe and Mary join their lives together, but bittersweet with the recent tragic loss. We firmly believe that Bob is here with us, in spirit. Bob loved Mary and was looking forward to welcoming her into his family as a new daughter-in-law.


Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today..."

Thus Joe's family knows that his father is remembered by the happy couple as they say their wedding vows, and others present are clued in to the whereabouts of the groom's father. Hopefully, that will prevent foot-in-mouth disease. "Hey, Joe, where's your dad? Is he out getting drunk?" "Um, no, he died two months ago."


myras Posts : 396 Registered: 2/26/10
Re: Memorial Help?
Posted: May 6, 2010 11:52 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I agree with AOTB. A wedding is a joyous occasion, not a memorial service. I'm not fond of empty chairs with roses, lighted candles with a picture, or anything else that moves attention away from the joy of the day. It would be lovely for your FH to wear or carry something of his father's--his ring, a handkerchief, his tie, a small photo in his pocket--anything that serves as a private and personal reminder. In addition to the officiant saying a few words, it's perfectly fine to mention his Dad in a welcoming speech--but,keep it light and upbeat. "How Joe would have enjoyed this. He was always first on the buffet line and last on the dance floor (or whatever fits)." You also could play and dance to one of Dad's favorite songs. You don't have to make what you're doing public. You and your FH (and probably MIL) will know, and that's what counts.


MrsCP3 Posts : 456 Registered: 4/21/08
Re: Memorial Help?
Posted: May 7, 2010 12:07 PM Go to message in response to: AJLM

I am so sorry for your loss, I can't imagine the pain your FH is going through.

I don't really have any suggestions for you, but I did want to bring up something that you may not have thought of, that happened to me.

My grandfather passed away a little less than a month before our wedding. On the wedding day when the florist brought everyone's flowers, there were two grandfather boutonnieres, one for my dad's father and one for my recently deceased mom's father. A month before my wedding, telling the florist my grandfather passed away was the farthest thing from my mind. It never in a million years occurred to me to cancel his boutonniere. My mom and aunt and I had a little cry over it, but then we re-foucused our thoughts to the wedding and went on getting ready. My aunt actually carried the boutonniere, which was fitting because she was especially close to my grandfather, and she helped sooo much with the wedding but I didn't really have a way to officially recognize her. Plus, I thought it was kinda cool to have a physical representation that my grandfather was there, looking down on us. However, when my aunt sat down next to my grandmother and she asked why my aunt had the flower, my aunt told her what had happened and my grandmother finally cried for the first time since my grandfather passed. This was about 30 seconds before I walked down the aisle. Luckily no one told me that until I got back from the honeymoon, but I really do wish that we would have thought to tell the florist beforehand so that my grandmother wouldn't have had to go through that.

I also was in a good friend's wedding a couple of years ago, and his dad had passed away a few years earlier. I guess no one thought to tell the photographer, because when they were doing family pictures, he called for the groom's father and kept asking people where he was because he was needed for pictures. It was really uncomfortable.

My point is, be sure all of your vendors know, otherwise it could add to an already painful situation.





VšnTillBruden Posts : 353 Registered: 1/16/10
Re: Memorial Help?
Posted: May 7, 2010 1:10 PM Go to message in response to: AJLM

Normally, I agree with AOTB and Myras on topics like these, but for once, I am going to have to disagree. The idea of mentioning him directly during the ceremony, especially if the ceremony is being held in a church, would make me (as a family member, guest, or even the bride) feel like I was flashing back to the funeral, particularly since it will have been such a recent memory. If OP is comfortable with him being mentioned during the introduction, before the ceremony begins, then more power to her. But I personally wouldn't be comfortable with that if it were my own wedding, despite how much I love my boyfriend's father & mother.

I like what one PP said about her MIL's cosmos. It's a very subtle reminder of her that anyone who knew her was familiar with, and anyone else who didn't know her is spared that sinking, guilty feeling - "Oh, poor John, having lost his dad so young" instead of "Oh gosh, does John look handsome in his tux. And his new wife, she's just a delight!" If you don't have something like a drink recipe, maybe consider one of these ideas:

  • As one other PP said, have your FH wear something that belonged to his father.
  • If there was a quote your FFIL said often, or a favorite bible verse, or anything of that nature, perhaps you could print it somewhere on your programs? It's subtle, but anyone who knew him will immediately recognize it.

Best of luck, OP, I'm terribly sorry for your loss.

Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I need it the most. (Swedish proverb)


MrsBiery Posts : 56 Registered: 6/8/07
Re: Memorial Help?
Posted: May 7, 2010 6:32 PM Go to message in response to: AJLM

WOW!!!!!!!!!! This post brought back so many memories of a few years ago. Months before my wedding I lost my father unexpectedly, as well. Also my DH lost his grandfather, who raised him, earlier in the year. It was hard to figure what to do as well, but we, like you, decided to continue with the wedding (my father passed in May, married in September) While planning we found some memory vases on Oriental Trading ( We then took the vase to a place to be engraved with the persons name and dates on it. We had our florest make bouquets of simular flowers to what was already used. We placed a vase with each of their names on the side they would have been sitting on. PM me if you have any questions or if you need to talk because I do the feeling of what you are feeling. I also have pictures but not posted online so if you want to see how they turned out.
Another way that my mom and I honored my dad, during the reception, was that we had a Mother/Daughter dance, so maybe you could have one of his favorite songs play during the reception. Have it dedicated to him.


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