Wedding Etiquette Forum

Father passed away

My father passed away last march and I will be getting married next June. 

How do I politely tell every one this with out making it A: a big deal B: over shadow other things C: still keep him in our memories on the day.

Anyone got any ideas?!

Re: Father passed away

  • I put a note about my father on the program and that's it. The last thing I wanted to be doing on my wedding day was reliving my grief over my father's passing, so I made it very small and subtle.
  • I didn't want to make my wedding a memorial to my mom.  So I did very subtle things.

    My wedding colours were red and black.  My mom's favourite colour was red. 

    During photos, my sister and I each released a red balloon for my mom.  That was nice.

    We almost chose a Bon Jovi as our wedding song - she loved bon jovi. 

    I included her on our invites.  Instead of saying mr. and mrs. mandy's parents invite you to the marriage of their daughter or whatever... the invites said

    MandySmear
    daughter of mr. joe blow and the late mrs. jane blow
    AND
    Perfect husband
    son of mr. and mrs. john and sally smith

    have choosen to join their lives together bla bla bla
    date
    time
    place


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  • First of all, I'm sorry :(

    I would assume that the people you are close enough with to invite to your wedding will know that your father has passed away so I don't think you have to worry about telling people and that being a big deal.

    On the day of, it's really up to you.  I'm of the mindset that those who have passed wouldn't want us dwelling on that on what should be a day of celebration.  If you want to remember your dad more privately, you could wear something to remember him or have something tied into your bouquet.

    If you want to acknowledge him publicly, you can place a rose on a chair, put a note in the program, or I think I've seen people do memorial candles/tables with photos.
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  • I put a little message in the back of the programs honoring my grandpa who passed away before we were married.  I also made sure to include a few white roses in my bouquet since those were his favorite flower.  I was going to tie his wedding ring around my bouquet to walk down the aisle, but I didn't manage to get it from my grandma in time.
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  • Our invites were worded as Mandy's were both to include my mom and to avoid having any of H's friends/family who might not know say something about how lovely my "mother" (step-mother) looked since I thought that might upset me. Other than that, on my wedding day itself, we didn't do anything specifically in memory of my mom - I wore a pearl necklace she passed down to me, but I probably would have worn that if she'd been alive too. More than that just didn't feel right to me, but PPs have given you suggestions if it does feel right to you.
  • I've always been really fond of the idea of putting something in your bouquet to remember a loved one...like a certain flower of a certain color or whatever. That way he can be with you as you walk up the aisle. 
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  • I recently lost my father also, actually four days before my orginal wedding day needless to say we are rescheduling for this coming june. what i think im gonna do to keep him close on my special day- im going to take a picture necklace, one of the ones you can put  a picture in- and get it attached to the stem of my flower boquet with ribbon. that way he is still in my hand while going down the isle and its minute enough. As far as my guest i agree with above comments- if they are close enough to you to be invited then they should already know about the passing of your dad.

  • Our pastor suggested having a candle at the front for anyone we'd like to remember, if we choose to do something like that.

    Sorry to hear of your loss.

  • I had planned on pinning one of my dad's medals from his days as a fireman into my skirt, but I forgot. One of the only regrets from my wedding. However, I did ask Mr P to please wear my dad's watch, and he complied.
  • Most people list their parents in the program, so you could put:

    Parents of the Bride
    Mrs. Jane and the late Mr. Stephen Smith

    Some people also have an "in memorium" note on the back of the program saying something about honoring those who cannot be here in person to share our special day with us, etc. Including Stephen Smith, father of the bride, Virginia Jones, grandmother of the groom, etc.


    Neither my husband nor I have any living grandparents (his dad's mother actually passed away 6 weeks before our wedding). We decided not to put anything in the program or do any kind of memorial, but it was still an emotional day. Personally, I thought about my grandmother a lot on my wedding dad, and I know my dad did too, because he talked about it with me. So no matter what you decide, I guess I'm just saying that your dad will be there with you. Good luck.
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  •  My father passed away very unexpectedly about 6 months prior to my wedding.  I didn't want my Dad to be "forgetten" at the wedding but I also didn't want to make it a big huge thing either - if I had too much that I knew I wouldn't be able to handle it and I didn't want guests to feel uncomfortable.

    I did the following: My sister bought me a little charm that I put my father's picture in and attached to my bouquet.  I had a bouquet of forget -me-not flowers that I carried down the aisle and left in an empty chair for him.

    In our programs, we included a small section in memory of our loves ones that were not there, in special remembrance of my dad.  I included a small picture of him, along with a short little poem.

    We played a few of his favorite songs at our wedding.  During toasts, my husband gave a "thank you" toast to all of the guest for coming and make a short remark about my Dad and how he would have loved the party.

    It sounds like a lot, but it was very subtle and didn't make a somber mood at all.
  • I'm sorry for your loss--I know it's not easy to plan a wedding without someone so important to you there.  However, I don't think you need to let people know; those closest to you are likely aware. 

    I didn't want our wedding to be super sad, but it was a really emotional day for me without my dad. For the wedding, I chose to have my brother walk me down the aisle--I couldn't bear the thought of walking down alone, and he was really touched that I asked him as a stand in for our dad. I also left a chair empty at the table with my immediate family in his honor, but I didn't mark it or make any special announcement about it, and I'm not even sure it registered with most people, which is fine. I also made sure the DJ played some AC/DC because it was my dad's favorite :) I didn't find out until a few days after the wedding that both my uncle and my brother carried a picture of my dad in their pockets that day as well. Little things, but I really felt like part of him was there with me.
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  • I am so sorry to hear of your loss and that he won't be there to walk you down the aisle.  I think you have some great suggestions above.  I would definitely consider doing some of them, and I would say more than one wouldn't be bad either.  

    My favorite ideas - a note in the program, the locket on the bouquet, and I would suggest having a photo of your parents' wedding day displayed.  When my cousin was married, they also had a ton of photos of her with her father in the slideshow and it was just great to reminisce about him.  
  • I thought about leaving a chair open for my grandpa, but I knew that if I saw it in the front row, it would completely undo me knowing that he should be there and then I'd be a big sobbing mess of a bride. 
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_father-passed-away?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:39f74136-8e87-42e0-8168-adffe13b8f67Post:942fcfa9-8b69-4c63-a3ae-1220676c5b46">Re: Father passed away</a>:
    [QUOTE]I thought about leaving a chair open for my grandpa, but I knew that if I saw it in the front row, it would completely undo me knowing that he should be there and then I'd be a big sobbing mess of a bride. 
    Posted by NuggetBrain[/QUOTE]

    <div>This. It was hard enough. </div>
  • The most subtle, and technically correct per etiquette way, is to leave your father off of the invitation, and include him in the program.

    Mrs. Bride Mom Last
    requests the pleasure of your company
    at the marriage of her daughter

    Miss Bride Middle Last
    to
    Mr. Groom Middle Last
    son of Mr. and Mrs. Groom Dad Last
    yadda yadda yadda


    Program:

    Parents of the Bride
    Mrs. Jane Doe and the late Mr. John Doe

    Having them on the same line and joined by "and" lets people know that they were married at the time of his passing.  You really don't need to do more than that.

    I lost my grandfather 1 year to the day before our wedding.  He was an avid needlepointer, and one of the last pieces he did was a blue bookmark, which I had my florist include in my bouquet.  I carried it as my something blue, and in memory of him.  I didn't care if anybody else saw it - that was really just for me.  He also grew roses and would float them in small bowl vases all over their house, so we did three vases like that on each table as part of the centerpiece, and it meant a lot to my family that was close to him. 

    It's really about finding the very basic, very simple elements of him that you want to remember that day, and including them.  You can tie his wedding band to the handle of your bouquet.  Use fabric from a tie he wore often to make a bouquet wrap.  Incorporate some decorative element he liked into your centerpieces.  Think of the very simple things he did or enjoyed, and go with that.


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  • Elysia, I am so sorry for your loss.  As everyone has said, there are many ways to include your dad on your wedding day.  There are very traditional ways to word the invitations when a parent has passed - check out any Emily Post Wedding Etiquette and the wording should be in there.  There is also a candle holder that has a saying about the flame burning for those not with us today.  Check out Oriental Trader or the Wedding Accessory Superstore online to find that.

    My finance's only brother was killed in a car accident a few years ago.  They were close and there is really no on else who can take his place as best man.  Our wedding website and our programs will say Best Man - In Memory of Brian Martoncik.  His boutonniere will be on an empty chair and my sister, the Maid of Honor will walk alone in the recessional.  My sister, who was in Brian's class in school loved the idea and even said, "Don't worry Kate, I will stop and pick up his boutonniere as I walk down the aisle, then I won't be walking alone."  People who don't know Brian might not get it, but it isn't about them - it is about honoring his brother in a way that my fiance and I are comfortable with.
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  • I know some people don't like the idea of having memory candles or leaving a seat open because they don't want to be sad on their wedding day but my fiancé and I don't feel like that.  We are having 2 memory candle (one for my mom and one for his best friend who should have been a best man).  Before the ceremony my sister/matron of honor and his other best friend/Best Man are gonna light the candles.  I also plan to have a memory charm on my bouquet...  I haven't figure the charm out completely yet but it will probably have a picture of her and something purple incorporated in to it.... 
  • We're doing an in memory favor; his dad's favorite candy with a small note that he is in our thoughts.
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