Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Deceased mother of the bride

My mom passed away a little over a year ago. I am having a hard time coping especially when planning mostly around boys who don't understand or have no opinion. Any suggestions from brides who have been there would be appreciated. How do I honor my mom throughout the wedding?

Re: Deceased mother of the bride

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I'm very sorry for your loss.

    As PPs have said, it's important to keep balance and not treat your wedding as a memorial service for your mother.

    But there are ways you can remember her at your wedding.  You might give her a tribute in a wedding program, wear or carry something she owned, or decorate, serve food or drinks, or play music that she enjoyed by way of remembering her.  But I'd avoid anything too overt like empty chairs or place settings with photos and/or flowers and moments of silence during the ceremony, because that could call too much attention to the reason why your mother isn't there.
  • I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother. I like what previous posters have said about possibly wearing something of hers, like a favorite piece of jewelry, or carrying a memento in your bouquet. One bride I knew carried a locket with her dad's picture in her bouquet. It was something only she could see, so as not to upset the other guests, but this way she also felt like he was still walking down the aisle with her.

    In my church, when someone in the congregation has passed away, a single white rose is placed on the altar in a vase by the communion bread and wine before the services have even begun. Congregants do not have to see it placed there; it's simply already there when everyone arrives and folks know what it means. (We do the opposite too: a single red rose is placed on the altar if a baby has been born.)

    It's nice and subtle. If the grieving family wants the deceased mentioned by name during the service, then the pastor announces who passed away and asks for us to keep good thoughts for the family during our call to prayer. If not, then no biggie; the family just has a mention in the back of our paper programs for that day's service instead.

    Maybe you could do something like this? Wouldn't require a picture or a lot of attention called to it, but you would know what it was for.
  • I'm sorry for your loss as well.  My father passed away a few years ago and I've been trying to come up with some creative ideas to include him in our special day was well.  One thing I particularly liked was doing a memorial candle at the ceremony and/or reception.  I plan on putting a short prayer on there which will be recited during the ceremony as well. If you google it some examples should come up.  Putting something in the program to that effect would be nice as well. Wife Kitty - I love the single flower idea.  It seems really special.

    At my brother's wedding my dad's oldest brother gave a speech and we had a moment of silence. He said some very nice things to the effect that my dad would have loved my sister-in-law... I thought it was a really nice thing to do.  Maybe you have a aunt, sister or brother who could do something like that.  

    At the end of the day - you need to do what feels right for you.  It's a big thing to not have your mom there for something like this.  You shouldn't worry about whether it will kill the mood, you should worry about whether it will make you feel more connected to her.  Whatever you decide is the right choice!  


  • edited March 2013
    i'm sorry for the loss. my mom passed away a little less than 2 years ago and it has been tremendously emotional planning everything without her. my godmother and MIL and bridal party and even my FI have been extremely helpful with every aspect of the planning, but it's not the same.
    to answer your questions, i plan to wear earnings that were hers to the wedding. also, i am having a big vase of flowers at a table by the door which i will know are for my mother but i'm not making a big display out of it.  some have suggested to wear her perfume, though i don't think i will do that. i will also write a memorial section in our program and include her and other relatives who have passed.
    i also hired a day of coordinator to do the things that moms typically do (field any calls, put out fires, etc) on the day of.
    good luck.
  •   At the end of the day - you need to do what feels right for you.  It's a big thing to not have your mom there for something like this.  You shouldn't worry about whether it will kill the mood, you should worry about whether it will make you feel more connected to her.  Whatever you decide is the right choice!  
    Posted by jdblnn[/QUOTE]

    I agree with this.

    I am also in the midst of planning my wedding without my mother around and it has been HUGELY emotional.  I've read many things that say not to do something to overshadow the day, don't make it like a funeral, etc.  I think these are good points, but you have to be ok with things at the end of the day.  Wearing something of hers or having a piece of her jewelery sewn into a secret spot on the inside of your dress or on your boquet are some suggestions.  I've also heard of a single rose being placed on a chair or near an altar.  If you want to have a moment of silence during your ceremony, do it.  Respectfully, I'm just not in agreement with the thought that this is an absolute no-no.  

    My FI lost his father when he was 14 and at my wedding, it will be just over 3 years since I've lost my mom, so both of us are struggling a bit with how to honor them and strike a balance.  Our officiant has also been really helpful giving us some suggestions.  Another good resource for me has been 2 of my girlfriends: one who lost her mom and another who lost her dad before they got married.  The main thing I've gotten from both of them is that it's different strokes for different folks.  Talk to your immediate family about what you're thinking you'd like to do and see what they think.  Ultimately, you have to be comfortable with what will be done (or not done).  It's not easy to figure out, either - I'm right there with you!

    My heart goes out to you and I hope you figure out what you think will honor your mother appropriately and what will bring you peace and joy on that day.  When I get really sad, I try to remember that she wouldn't want me to dwell and she'd tell me to focus on the joy.  *hugs*


  • We got married later in life. We have both lost our fathers and my mom is too old to travel. So it was just MIL there. We had wedding pictures of our parents on a table to honor them. But nothing that resembled a memorial. We had an antique theme for our wedding so the old wedding pictures fit in well. The antique candelebra we used for the unity candle ceremony was given to my grandparents for their wedding 99 years before ours.
  • I am so sorry for what you're going through! I agree with all these great suggestions. My sister got married last year and my mom passed away while we were both in high school so there were a lot of the aspects of the planning process that were hard for us. I hope you can find some good family or friends who can help you through the junky stuff (and all the fun stuff, too!). Maybe your mom had a close friend who would like to help out? Or a sister or cousin? It may seem strange to ask women you might not be especially close with for help but we found that the sisterhood is a strong thing and my mom's friends and family were so glad to be able to be there with us. 

    I know, for my sister, she needed more than a name listed or a candle placed somewhere in the room so we did a lot of little things. She altered and wore my mom's dress, I got her a locket for her bouquet with a picture of my mom in it, and then we wrote up a little note for the back of the wedding program. I made sure to make it not too heavy, it joked about how my mom would have hated most of the wedding choices except for the big one- my sister's husband- who my mom would have adored.
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