Wedding 911

Honoring my deceased infant sister at the wedding?

Wasn't sure what category to post this in, but since it's a sensitive subject I figured this was a good place to start.

I really want to honor my baby sister at my wedding in July. She passed sometime during my mom's third trimester due to a heart complication. I was only five at the time, and while she did live for a couple of hours after the c-secrion, I was never blessed with the opportunity to meet her or even lay eyes on her in person. Even though I was so young and it was almost 20 years ago, I have always felt very sad about her passing and very connected to her. Especially knowing that she would have be standing with my other sisters as a bridesmaid, I want to make sure that she is remembered.

Here are the problems I am having with this. Obviously, infant death is a very tragic thing and I want to honor the spirit of her memory and who she is to me without making people very sad or upset. So tact is definiely an issue.

The other thing is that I don't have any photos of her alive. I have seen a lot of great ideas for memorializing loved ones with photos, but I feel that her casket photos are very personal and sad, and don't represent her in a joyful way.

I am planning on having silver pendants made with her initials on them for my mother and sisters to carry on their bouquets and for my father and brother to wear on their boutinierres, and I am going to wear opals which are her birth stone. But those are both things that are for me/family and I want something that will be noticeable for our guests as well.

I've seen a lot of great ideas for those who have lost their own children, but many of them don't translate well for a deceased infant who is a sibling, so I don't really know where to go.

Any help much appreciated!
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Re: Honoring my deceased infant sister at the wedding?

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I agree with PPs. Any memorials at a wedding really need to be subtle and private. The flower idea mentioned above and your opal idea are good ones. What should be avoided is broadcasting to the guests that these gestures are in memory of your sister, because your wedding needs to be a happy occasion. You don't want to evoke grief or loss for your family or any discomfort for your guests.
    [Deleted User]
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I fully agree with what others have said. However: 

    What kind of ceremony are you having? In a full Catholic mass, it's not uncommon to include memorials in the prayers. Because I've fallen off the church-going wagon I can't remember the proper name of this section of the service.  "For the members of this congregation, let us pray. For the sick and the poor, let us pray." Etc. "For those who could not be with us today, including [bride's grandmother, FI's cousin, bride's sister, etc], let us pray."

    I did attend one non-religious ceremony where the bride and groom lit a candle "in memory of those who could not be with us, including [bride's childhood best friend and groom's father]."

    I wouldn't specifically draw attention to an infant's death, but generally honoring loved ones not in attendance isn't uncommon, I don't think. 
    ________________________________


    MairePoppy[Deleted User]
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited January 2015

    Have you discussed the pendants with your family members? I'm not sure how they, especially your parents, would feel about carrying a reminder of their loss for all to see. Each of us has a right to grieve in our own way.

    I would stick with a private dignified memorial. The opal earrings are a lovely idea. If you want to do more than that, how about making a donation to Easter Seals, March of Dimes or a local charity that helps mother and babies? If you want, you can mention in your program that 'In remembrance of Little Sister, a donation has been made to XYZ.' If you decide to do this, give a heads up to the immediate family members so they aren't caught off guard. Of course, you could also just make the donation, privately.


                       
  • Cheezley said:
    Wasn't sure what category to post this in, but since it's a sensitive subject I figured this was a good place to start. 

    I really want to honor my baby sister at my wedding in July. She passed sometime during my mom's third trimester due to a heart complication. I was only five at the time, and while she did live for a couple of hours after the c-secrion, I was never blessed with the opportunity to meet her or even lay eyes on her in person. Even though I was so young and it was almost 20 years ago, I have always felt very sad about her passing and very connected to her. Especially knowing that she would have be standing with my other sisters as a bridesmaid, I want to make sure that she is remembered. 

     Here are the problems I am having with this. Obviously, infant death is a very tragic thing and I want to honor the spirit of her memory and who she is to me without making people very sad or upset. So tact is definiely an issue. 

    The other thing is that I don't have any photos of her alive. I have seen a lot of great ideas for memorializing loved ones with photos, but I feel that her casket photos are very personal and sad, and don't represent her in a joyful way. 

    I am planning on having silver pendants made with her initials on them for my mother and sisters to carry on their bouquets and for my father and brother to wear on their boutinierres, and I am going to wear opals which are her birth stone. But those are both things that are for me/family and I want something that will be noticeable for our guests as well

     I've seen a lot of great ideas for those who have lost their own children, but many of them don't translate well for a deceased infant who is a sibling, so I don't really know where to go. 

    Any help much appreciated!
    To the two bolded - Why do you want to do something that will be noticeable for guests? I really think you should consider that question. Why do you want to bring the death of your sister that happened over 20 years ago to the attention of your wedding guests? Why isn't it enough to carry the silver pendant and wear the earrings? I truly do not mean these questions to sound cold, but more as something for you to ponder. 

    The reason I bring these questions up is because infant death is, as you say bolded above, extremely tragic. If you bring this up, people will be saddened and upset. I can almost guarantee that. She was honored at her memorial and you are honoring her by carrying something meaningful. Let it rest at that.
    I would ask these identical questions. It is not that I'm unsympathetic, I understand grief and loss very well. But why the need to share this grief with your guests? 
    Your private tributes should be enough. 
  • A private moment with your mum and or dad or any other close family in my eyes giving her a special thought in my eyes is the classy right way I know how u feel about wanting to honour her but you need to think about your parents and whether it would be too much
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think your wearing opals is adequate. That way, your sister is close to you during your wedding and you're not asking family / friends to do anything that would be awkward and draw unnecessary attention.
  • loveislouderloveislouder member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited January 2015
    My fiancé and I are having candles lit by all 4 of our parents before the guests arrive for the ceremony, and then having one candle at the reception for everyone we've lost. No one will know except for us because, as @CMGragain‌ said, weddings aren't the place for memorials. ETA: One remembrance candle total at the wedding, not one for every person we've lost.
  • edited June 2015
  • Have you discussed the pendants with your family members? I'm not sure how they, especially your parents, would feel about carrying a reminder of their loss for all to see. Each of us has a right to grieve in our own way.

    I would stick with a private dignified memorial. The opal earrings are a lovely idea. If you want to do more than that, how about making a donation to Easter Seals, March of Dimes or a local charity that helps mother and babies? If you want, you can mention in your program that 'In remembrance of Little Sister, a donation has been made to XYZ.' If you decide to do this, give a heads up to the immediate family members so they aren't caught off guard. Of course, you could also just make the donation, privately.



    I'd skip putting it in program.  It's not really private anymore if you do this.  

    And, just in case this sparked the idea of doing a donation in lieu of favors, bar, etc., please read the thread on that and reconsider.
  • I am so, so sorry for your loss and I think it's very honorable of you to want to give a portion of your special day to you baby sister. A few years ago, my mother attended a wedding of a couple who had lost a child at birth while they were engaged. After they said their vows, the officiant said something like "The couple would now like to take a moment of silence to remember one who is no longer with us, their infant daughter, Haley." and then while everyone was participating in the moment of silence, they lit a memorial candle for her. This was a sweet touch that allowed guests to participate. I was thinking of doing something similar at my own wedding, as my fiance had a baby brother who died at birth.
    fitvegan
  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Maybe you could also have a pretty engraved candle for her set out at the reception or something? Simple and small.
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    ohannabelle
  • edited January 2015

    I am so, so sorry for your loss and I think it's very honorable of you to want to give a portion of your special day to you baby sister. A few years ago, my mother attended a wedding of a couple who had lost a child at birth while they were engaged. After they said their vows, the officiant said something like "The couple would now like to take a moment of silence to remember one who is no longer with us, their infant daughter, Haley." and then while everyone was participating in the moment of silence, they lit a memorial candle for her. This was a sweet touch that allowed guests to participate. I was thinking of doing something similar at my own wedding, as my fiance had a baby brother who died at birth.
    What? WHAT??????!
    Unless his parents specifically asked you to do this (and they should not) why are you even considering this?
    I promise you, if anyone had the nerve to open my wounds by staging a memorial to my son without my express request and permission, I would be something beyond furious. The night would be ruined for me, and I would be devastated and horrified and furious. Did I say furious? Also furious.

    If a future daughter in law even suggested this to me, I'd be enraged at her nerve. My pain isn't a fucking "sweet touch" for your wedding, because you saw it at another wedding. 

    It isn't your place to do this. Frankly, it isn't even your place to suggest it. You're soooooo far out of line that I'm shocked. Disgusted. 

    You think it's a "sweet touch" and nice for "guest participation?" 
    WTF? Really? Unnecessarily bringing a long ago tragedy to a happy occasion? Opening a twenty year old wound in public? Have you considered how a guest might feel, if they had suffered a similar tragedy?

    No. Just no. Your wedding is not a place for you to make maudlin and self indulgent displays of grief that was never yours to begin with. It is not in any way appropriate to the occasion. If you care that deeply, make your prayers and tributes in private. If that isn't adequate for you, I suggest that your desire for expressing loss is less about loss, and more about show. You are using someone's tragedy like a prop in a show. No. No. No. 



    ETA: TLDR- Condensed Version: The decision to honor anyone by memorial at a wedding should only be suggested or implemented by the closest immediate family members of that person. It is not the bride's place to suggest memorials for the groom's family, or the reverse. Not all family members might appreciate it, and care should be taken not to intrude on another person's feelings. Annabelle goes all PTSD at the very idea, says furious about 40 times, done. 
    Wel,, I'd call my FIANCE whose BROTHER was the one that died a close immediate family member, wouldn't you? Not to mention, I never said whether or not I'd asked his parents' permission. And the OP is saying she has already DECIDED to make her sister a part of her day,and presumably has told her family that she is, so if she does, this is a way she can do it quickly and without making a huge spectacle. You don't have to bite my head off you know. Everyone feels differently about these sorts of things. Not everyone lives in fairy tale land where they can have a wedding that has no sadness involved. Weddings, thought happy, are almost always bittersweet occasions, since there is usually someone who the bride/groom wishes could have been there. As far as your rude sweet "touch" comment: I don't think either I or OP is trying to take away the pain- but parents aren't the only ones who suffer when a child dies. Siblings suffer too. Everyone processes grief differently. For you, it might be something that would be totally unacceptable. For another family, they may choose to celebrate the life of the deceased and wouldn't see it as "opening an old wound" because it is something the family has always been open about.  P.S. Flipping out and cussing on these boards is a way to get kicked off. I'll be reporting you.It's very inappropriate. You could have easily expressed your disagreement without being rude. 

    Edit: Also, you might want to consider that different people are different religions. In my religion, for example, it's quite common to light a memorial candle at an occasion, happy or otherwise, for a deceased family member. I've definitely been to more than one wedding, christening, etc. where such a thing has been done.
    fitvegan
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I am so, so sorry for your loss and I think it's very honorable of you to want to give a portion of your special day to you baby sister. A few years ago, my mother attended a wedding of a couple who had lost a child at birth while they were engaged. After they said their vows, the officiant said something like "The couple would now like to take a moment of silence to remember one who is no longer with us, their infant daughter, Haley." and then while everyone was participating in the moment of silence, they lit a memorial candle for her. This was a sweet touch that allowed guests to participate. I was thinking of doing something similar at my own wedding, as my fiance had a baby brother who died at birth.
    What? WHAT??????!
    Unless his parents specifically asked you to do this (and they should not) why are you even considering this?
    I promise you, if anyone had the nerve to open my wounds by staging a memorial to my son without my express request and permission, I would be something beyond furious. The night would be ruined for me, and I would be devastated and horrified and furious. Did I say furious? Also furious.

    If a future daughter in law even suggested this to me, I'd be enraged at her nerve. My pain isn't a fucking "sweet touch" for your wedding, because you saw it at another wedding. 

    It isn't your place to do this. Frankly, it isn't even your place to suggest it. You're soooooo far out of line that I'm shocked. Disgusted. 

    You think it's a "sweet touch" and nice for "guest participation?" 
    WTF? Really? Unnecessarily bringing a long ago tragedy to a happy occasion? Opening a twenty year old wound in public? Have you considered how a guest might feel, if they had suffered a similar tragedy?

    No. Just no. Your wedding is not a place for you to make maudlin and self indulgent displays of grief that was never yours to begin with. It is not in any way appropriate to the occasion. If you care that deeply, make your prayers and tributes in private. If that isn't adequate for you, I suggest that your desire for expressing loss is less about loss, and more about show. You are using someone's tragedy like a prop in a show. No. No. No. 



    ETA: TLDR- Condensed Version: The decision to honor anyone by memorial at a wedding should only be suggested or implemented by the closest immediate family members of that person. It is not the bride's place to suggest memorials for the groom's family, or the reverse. Not all family members might appreciate it, and care should be taken not to intrude on another person's feelings. Annabelle goes all PTSD at the very idea, says furious about 40 times, done. 
    Wel,, I'd call my FIANCE whose BROTHER was the one that died a close immediate family member, wouldn't you? Not to mention, I never said whether or not I'd asked his parents' permission. And the OP is saying she has already DECIDED to make her sister a part of her day,and presumably has told her family that she is, so if she does, this is a way she can do it quickly and without making a huge spectacle. You don't have to bite my head off you know. Everyone feels differently about these sorts of things. Not everyone lives in fairy tale land where they can have a wedding that has no sadness involved. Weddings, thought happy, are almost always bittersweet occasions, since there is usually someone who the bride/groom wishes could have been there. As far as your rude sweet "touch" comment: I don't think either I or OP is trying to take away the pain- but parents aren't the only ones who suffer when a child dies. Siblings suffer too. Everyone processes grief differently. For you, it might be something that would be totally unacceptable. For another family, they may choose to celebrate the life of the deceased and wouldn't see it as "opening an old wound" because it is something the family has always been open about.  P.S. Flipping out and cussing on these boards is a way to get kicked off. I'll be reporting you.It's very inappropriate. You could have easily expressed your disagreement without being rude. 

    Edit: Also, you might want to consider that different people are different religions. In my religion, for example, it's quite common to light a memorial candle at an occasion, happy or otherwise, for a deceased family member. I've definitely been to more than one wedding, christening, etc. where such a thing has been done.

    Is this your FI's idea, or yours? Annabelle was saying that the idea/suggestion shouldn't have come from you, because it's not your place to decide for your fiancé or his parents how they grieve.

    IF it was your fiancé's initial idea or suggestion: Has he consulted his parents? Because they definitely need to know ahead of time that you're doing this, and if they tell you they'd rather not have it, then you two need to honor that. If it's something they'd rather not think about at the wedding, then your FI needs to do his own grieving privately instead of forcing it on his parents and all the guests.

    [Deleted User]
  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I should add that I really am terribly sorry that this happened to your family, and I understand the grief, even though I've never experienced it myself. I hope my post didn't come across as cold-hearted. I was just trying to explain why I don't like memorials at weddings. 

    I understand why people feel they need to have them, but I don't understand why that is. This seems to be a recent trend. My family/friends never did anything like this until a few years ago, and now that they do, it's like everyone feels they HAVE to.

    I blame Pinterest.

    fwtx5815esstee33
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