Wedding Etiquette Forum

Grooms Parents are Deceased

Hi Everyone!

I'm recently engaged and going through ceremony ideas. My fiancé's parents both passed away when he was a teenager and I've been trying to think of ways to honor them during the ceremony. Of course, not in a way that's going to leave everyone depressed but in a nice subtle way to show love and respect… I was thinking about having their wedding song as one of our songs--they didn't have one. He was thinking about having his sister and brother escorted down the aisle and sit where they would have sat. Are there any other ways they can be honored? Thanks for your insight!

Courtney

Re: Grooms Parents are Deceased

  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Let your FI decide this, as its his parents who passed. His brother and sister can certainly walk him down the aisle
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    doeydoBlue_Bird
  • Having his other immediate family in the front is nice, but not really an honor for his parents. You're definitely on the right track with subtle, so that's great. Did they have any favorite flowers? Food to serve at the reception? Colors? 

    I made a pin (you can also buy on Etsy) of a picture of H's grandparents to pin on the inside of his jacket, which he loved. 

    Mssurles
  • You could put a short note in the program about them, and/or you could light a candle during the ceremony in their memory.

    Also just make sure your FI is happy with whatever you choose.  I'm sure he wants to remember him on your special day, but you also wouldn't want to do anything that might stir up depressed feelings.  It's about finding that balance of honoring them without turning the wedding into a memorial, since I'm sure they would want their son to be joyous on his wedding day.

    SaveSave
  • I think the brother and sister idea is fine, they are next of kin and that is a subtle touch. Kerp what you do private so others aren't caught off guard. I was orphaned as a child and 36 when I married for the second time. I caught MYSELF off guard and a moment of ugly crying. FI could wear or carry a piece of their jewelry or carry a photo with him. If you guys know a couple of their favorite songs play them during the reception, especially for a fast dance. My dad was a Hank Williams fan and my.mom adored Eddie Arnold and Dean Martin. Those did NOT happen at my reception. Good luck and keep it simple and private.
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    FIL passed away 8 years prior to our wedding.  We had a church service and mentioned him, by name, in the Prayers of the Faithful.  We also mentioned him in our program along with our grandparents.  We also had a specific bouquet of flowers that was to honor our grandparents and FIL, but there was no sign mentioning what the bouquet of flowers represented - only we knew.

    You could also display wedding photos on a table in your reception place, with your parents (if they are still together), his parents, any grandparents, etc.

    Just make sure that any memorial you decide to do, FI is on board with. 
  • edited January 2014
    I attended the wedding of an ex-bf's brother several years ago. Their mother had passed away when they were teenagers. In the front row where their dad and stepmother sat, there was an empty space with a single white rose in honor if their mother. I thought it was a very understated yet beautiful sentiment.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited January 2014
    I attended the wedding of an ex-bf's brother several years ago. Their mother had passed away when they were teenagers. In the front row where their dad and stepmother sat, there was an empty space with a single white rose in honor if their mother. I thought it was a very understated yet beautiful sentiment.
    Actually, it's not understated at all-it's an in-your-face gesture of mourning that can make both those who are in mourning for the deceased very sad as well as those guests who are not in mourning uncomfortable because it's too reminiscent of a funeral.  Weddings are supposed to be happy occasions, not grief-evoking.  So this particular gesture is not recommended by regular members of this forum.

    That said, there are beautiful ways to remember the deceased:  Giving them a tribute in a wedding program, wearing or carrying something they owned or is affiliated with them, and providing food, drinks, decorations, and entertainment all allow for remembering the deceased without coming off like it's a funeral or the sequel to it.
    KeptInStitchesRebeccaB88Fran1985
  • Ditto PPs about deferring to your FI about this.  H's mom passed six months before our wedding, and his bout had a teal ribbon (she died from ovarian cancer and that is the ovarian cancer color), and we had a copy framed photos of her at the reception. Our pastor also mentioned her during our ceremony.  These were H's choices.....I gave him ideas, as he was totally hands-off in wedding planning.

    FWIW, I disagree that it is always bad to leave an empty seat.  It is a personal decision that should be cleared with the VIPs of the deceased.  H's sister also married after his mom passed and she left a seat for her mom at the ceremony (not the reception). She didn't say anything, just placed a flower in a chair as she walked down the aisle. Was it sad?  Very.  But given that my late MIL had passed a month before, everyone was grieving anyway.  Their mom asked SIL to go forward with her wedding, so she did.  It would have been inappropriate to pretend no one was grieving.

    That is kind of a unique circumstance.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited January 2014

    Ditto PPs about deferring to your FI about this.  H's mom passed six months before our wedding, and his bout had a teal ribbon (she died from ovarian cancer and that is the ovarian cancer color), and we had a copy framed photos of her at the reception. Our pastor also mentioned her during our ceremony.  These were H's choices.....I gave him ideas, as he was totally hands-off in wedding planning.

    FWIW, I disagree that it is always bad to leave an empty seat.  It is a personal decision that should be cleared with the VIPs of the deceased.  H's sister also married after his mom passed and she left a seat for her mom at the ceremony (not the reception). She didn't say anything, just placed a flower in a chair as she walked down the aisle. Was it sad?  Very.  But given that my late MIL had passed a month before, everyone was grieving anyway.  Their mom asked SIL to go forward with her wedding, so she did.  It would have been inappropriate to pretend no one was grieving.

    That is kind of a unique circumstance.

    Not really.

    This is not to say that no recognition should be given to the deceased or anyone's feelings.  Of course they should be recognized!

    But, recognizing the deceased should not drown out the happiness and joy that a wedding is supposed to evoke.  Weddings are supposed to be happy occasions-even if they take place right after the death of a loved one.

    Unfortunately, in-your-face mourning gestures like empty chairs with flowers or photos can overshadow the joy and happiness that a wedding is supposed to evoke-both for those in mourning and those who are not but are regular guests-and that can not only add to the pain of loss that the bereaved are suffering (think what it would be like for a widow/er or the child of the deceased to sit next to an empty chair with a flower), but also make those who are not in mourning feel like they've been baited-and-switched, or at the least very uncomfortable, because they were invited to a wedding and not a memorial service or funeral.

    So we advise that gestures of remembrance be kept subtle and careful, so as not to shove grief in anyone's face.

    Edited to add:  When Queen Victoria's oldest son, who became Edward VII, was married, she overshadowed the wedding with her grief for her husband, Prince Albert, who had died some 2 years before.  The grief may have still been fresh for her, but she turned the event, that everyone else wanted to be a celebration, into a reminder of death and grief, and it was unpleasant for many people, including the couple.  This is what you don't want to do with a wedding.
    KeptInStitches
  • I'm having a chair with a flower. If that offends any of my guests, then I'm sorry, but in this one instance, honestly, I'm putting myself first. I freely admit that. I miss my mom very much and want her to know that she's not forgotten.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    PrncsLisa said:
    I'm having a chair with a flower. If that offends any of my guests, then I'm sorry, but in this one instance, honestly, I'm putting myself first. I freely admit that. I miss my mom very much and want her to know that she's not forgotten.
    Given that your mom is dead, what makes you think she and your other guests wouldn't know that without a big lugubrious gesture?
  • Be more insensitive. Please.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    PrncsLisa said:
    Be more insensitive. Please.
    Read every other thread on the subject in this forum.  Please.
  • I've read plenty, thanks.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Then you should know that by taking a "I'm going to do what I want to do and the hell with everyone else" attitude, you're setting yourself up as a target for disagreement.

    Not only that, not everyone who disagrees with you is "insensitive," and your suggestion that they are doesn't show you in the best light.
  • I didn't say everyone who disagrees with me is insensitive.

    I said you were, and you are.

    Nice chatting with you. Have a lovely day.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    PrncsLisa said:
    I didn't say everyone who disagrees with me is insensitive.

    I said you were, and you are.

    Nice chatting with you. Have a lovely day.
    Grow up.
    NYCMercedes
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