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Somewhere in the middle of wedding planning, my mother made a suggestion that caught me slightly off guard.

“So we have to find a pretty candle so that we can acknowledge your grandmother and grandfather at the wedding,” she told me one day as I was putting together a Pinterest board for centerpieces and other wedding-related decor.

I’m not going to front, I was left speechless and slightly freaked out for a moment. I’m not sure if this makes me a horrible person, but the thought of paying tribute to my late grandmother and grandfather had never crossed my mind. I hadn’t even realized that honoring late relatives at weddings was a thing until she mentioned it.

Out of all of the weddings I’ve attended, I only recall one bride mentioning a late loved one. Her father passed away that year, and she said that her brother would be standing in for her dad during the father/daughter dance. The tribute seemed to make sense, and it fit perfectly into what was already happening at the wedding. But setting aside a time specifically to honor deceased relatives was a new concept for me.

In passing, I mentioned my mom’s suggestion to my coworkers, and they revealed that this is actually common practice. Almost everyone had examples of a time when a bride or groom had a family member pay tribute to a late relative, and one colleague even expressed that she had plans to pay tribute to her late grandmother when she ties the knot.

Now, my mama is the Queen Bee, and what mama wants, mama gets. So if she wants to honor her late mom and my dad’s deceased father at my wedding, then I guess that’s just what we’re going to do. However, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have my reservations. Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely close to both my grandfather and my grandmother, and when they passed away, I was devastated. But I do wonder if lighting candles in their honor will cast a morbid shadow over the ceremony, or if mentioning their names will make guests who knew them sad.

Pinterest has some charming and subtle suggestions for honoring late relatives like photo pendants and bouquet charms,  so perhaps my mother and I can explore some of those options until we find something that we’re both comfortable with.

What are your thoughts on acknowledging lost loved ones at weddings?

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