If you’re like me, you’ve probably dreamt of that moment when your dad walks you down the aisle to give you away. Many people get to live that dream, but unfortunately for others, that doesn’t get to happen.
I’ve done many weddings where parents, grandparents, and other loved ones couldn’t be there on a couple’s special day. There are many ways you can keep their memory alive and honor them so that they can still be a part of your day.
Set up a memory table full of photos and trinkets during cocktail hour and the reception. I know all my couples who do this enjoy looking back and having that piece of their loved ones represented on the wedding day.
Wear a piece of them throughout the day. I had one bride who wrapped her grandmother’s necklace around her bouquet and then a butterfly pin for her aunt. Another bride of mine put pictures of her dad on the bottom of her shoes so he could walk with her down the aisle. In one of my first weddings, the bride had her dad’s pallbearers take turns dancing with her during the father-daughter dance while she wore a pair of his Crocs. You can light candles during the ceremony, leave an empty chair, have a moment of silence, or play a special song and invite those who knew them to the dance floor.
For those parent dances, you can skip them altogether or choose another parent or relative to dance with. I’ve seen a mother-bride dance and even a sibling dance.
Have another parent do it for those of you who are missing someone walking you down the aisle. I have seen people walk themselves down the aisle and even have a trusted friend walk them to the altar. At another wedding, the bride chose her uncle (specifically her dad’s brother) to walk her down the aisle.
Some other ways to honor people are reading a letter that they wrote you or writing a letter to them and reading it during the speeches or in private before your ceremony. If you’re up for it, a very intimate way to honor your loved ones is by visiting their grave after the ceremony or reception. I did this with one of my brides since it was just up the street from the church.
Whatever you plan to do, know you are not alone in missing a loved one at your wedding. However you choose to honor them, I believe they will be with you in spirit as you and your partner tie the knot. They wouldn’t miss it for the world.