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Damon
Just Said Yes December 2020

Memory Table, How to say no?

Damon, on March 24, 2020 at 9:33 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 20
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My mom wants a memory table for her parents. It's been years since her last parent passed and every family gathering since has turned into a pseudo funeral.



How do I politely tell her no to the memory table idea?
I think she already suspects my inclinations since she's asking my Fiance how we will set ours up, before running it by me. (Assumptive close)

20 Comments

  • Chrysta
    Super November 2020
    Chrysta ·
    • Flag
    I would simply tell her that you want the focus of the day to be about life & love, and seeing the faces of those you lost could potentially make you sad/upset, etc. on what should be one of the happiest days of your life; and that those who are not with you in person will be with you in spirit. There is always the option of bouquet picture charms as well - they are small and inconspicuous, and you could have your photographer take a photo of them so your mom feels they were represented at the event.
    • Reply
  • Emily
    Expert August 2020
    Emily ·
    • Flag
    Would it get in the way of your day to let her do one? If you didn’t want a table you could always put something on two chairs/seats for them! Maybe if you don’t want a designated table have a picture of you with them somewhere amongst your tables with pics, etc.
    • Reply
  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    I think if you could offer up another more subtle solution it would be nice though but I totally hear you - you don’t want the mood to be so somber at your wedding.
    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    I’m completely with you on avoiding physical memorials at weddings. I know some people are into them and that’s great, but it’s okay to not want a permanent fixture at your wedding to remind everyone about who isn’t physically there. Maybe you could compromise with photo pins on your bouquet or songs that remind you of your loved ones?
    • Reply
  • C
    Dedicated April 2020
    Cindy ·
    • Flag
    I love the discrete signs that a part of heaven is here today. Maybe a candle, but anything else is a mood killer IMO.
    • Reply
  • Karla
    Devoted February 2020
    Karla Online ·
    • Flag
    Is there another way to honor them? I wasn’t keen on having a memorial table, but made sure to honor our late grandparents in other ways such as: we got married on my husband’s late grandmother’s birthday and included a birthday shoutout on our program, “In Loving Memory” section in the program, played a snippet of my husband’s late grandfather playing the violin, served both of our late grandfathers’ favorite desserts in honor of them.Memory Table, How to say no? 1

    • Reply
  • Kendra
    Devoted July 2020
    Kendra ·
    • Flag
    I agree with the rest of the ladies. Maybe find another alternative that is less subtle...perhaps light floating lanterns, reserve X number of seats during the ceremony, have some sort of sand or candle ceremony before you say your vows



    • Reply
  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Champion March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    If you don’t want one, just say you won’t have one.
    • Reply
  • Shania
    Devoted September 2020
    Shania ·
    • Flag
    I think offering an alternative is the way to go. Maybe suggest reserved seats for them during the ceremony or maybe a sign on an easel acknowledging the ones that couldn’t be there? Just so she feels they are at least being recognized
    • Reply
  • Cecilia
    Dedicated January 2021
    Cecilia ·
    • Flag
    I would suggest adding other details to incorporate parents. They have a lot of ideas in Pinterest (locket of pictures) on her bouque, or a flower (significance), colors etc.


    Both my fiance and I were close to our grandparents and we only have my grandma left on my side of the family. We just wanted our wedding day to be a celebration of the start of our family together. They will always! Be with us. Honestly, sitting down and speaking to her 1 on 1 is the best part.
    Honesty and communication are key
    All the best!!! You got this!
    • Reply
  • Kate
    Devoted October 2020
    Kate ·
    • Flag

    Since she is your mom, maybe consider a compromise with her. Tell her that you want love & happiness to be the focus of your wedding day. A lantern, bouquet photo charms or even just a candle with a frame next to it that says in loving memory, are subtle ways to feature the celebration of those who have passed on before us.

    Weddings are definitely not the time to be celebrating someones life or a time of sadness for that matter, and I completely understand where you're coming from. However, I'm sure your mom always thought her parents would be around to see her daughter get married

    • Reply
  • T
    Devoted May 2010
    Theresa ·
    • Flag

    If you want to compromise instead of just saying no, I'd go with the bouquet pin idea. Or, if you're the male part of this couple (sorry... not sure if Damon is a female name, too), get photo engraved cufflinks. I have a feeling from your description that your mom is looking for a place to hang out and tell everyone who walks by how sad it is that her parents couldn't be here, and how much they would have loved to see you get married... don't give her a place to do that. Lanterns, candles, tables, all give her somewhere to sit around and be forlorn. Don't let her do that. Wearing something small and inconspicuous would be a good compromise, and would free her up to enjoy the day with other people, instead of a table.

    • Reply
  • C
    Beginner July 2020
    Chloe ·
    • Flag
    I feel like her attention should be on you that day, and not on her parents. I debated having a table like this for my fiance's mom, and my grandpa. But because we want to be sensitive to his Dad's new wife, decided against it. I am instead putting a heart locket with her picture inside his coat so its more for him anyways.
    • Reply
  • Jasmine
    Dedicated September 2020
    Jasmine ·
    • Flag
    Are you have a guestbook? Maybe where the guestbook is have photos of your FH and is family on one side and your family on the other. With your family side have a photo of your grandparents. Just try and honor them anyway you can.
    • Reply
  • Alyssa
    Expert June 2020
    Alyssa ·
    • Flag

    Why not have your officiant offer a moment of silence "for those of us that we know that would love to have been with us here today"? That way it's acknowledged but not the focus of the day.

    • Reply
  • Florida Marlins
    Expert October 2017
    Florida Marlins ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    This! Look, they had funerals, this is a happy time focusing on happy times and the future. Plus, many people get wigged out at seeing deceased relatives. Stand up to her. Now.

    • Reply
  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    • Flag
    As these were your grandparents, and the death was not in recent months, it might be something for 2 sentences at the bottom of your program. Just say NO to a memorial table. Nicely, but non-negotiable. It is not mom's wedding. Nor a memorial time for your mom to do.
    • Reply
  • Holly
    Savvy March 2021
    Holly ·
    • Flag
    I would be honest with her, and let her know that remembering losing those loved ones on the happiest day of your life, won’t make you happy.
    Though, there are subtle and elegant ways of acknowledging those loved ones without creating an memorial alter at your wedding. You could set aside two chairs for them during the ceremony with an item that represents them (like a hat from a favorite sport team or a chord from their alma mater). You could also have your mother wear a special corsage so that she can remember them at this special time without prompting everyone to do the same. Maybe you feature a special recipe of theirs on your dessert buffet with a note, “Grandma’s apple pie.”
    This is tough one! But there are a few resolutions. Good luck! Memory Table, How to say no? 2

    • Reply
  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    • Flag
    I think carrying memento pins or pictures is nice if you want to remember you parents. But I don't think it will be what your mom wants. Doing this at every gathering well past a year, usually has an attention seeking component for the widow or surviving child. Your mom wants everyone coming to her with condolences after they see it. The other people who have seen this repeatedly now are likely edging away, thinking it is creepy . As you say, it depresses everyone and they don't know how to respond. It has gone to a point of being inappropriate. So rather than do anything to appease your mom, this is time to say, no more. Maybe she needs grief counseling. A place she can safely talk out her feelings. Hubby has an aunt who has worn widows black, no jewelry but her wedding ring and a locket of her husband's hair and picture that she pins to the front of her dress or black jacket when she goes anywhere with other people. Where others wear a pin or coursage. She calls them her widow's blacks. Her husband died in Vietnam, a soldier. Life stuck in one place. Your mom needs to put this away and move on. Now and then get out a photo album, or visit a grave, but not suck in attention from others at parties . If you do as others suggest, do it for you. Don't tell her. Next thing you know, she will start carrying mementos everywhere and explaining them. You, do what feels good for you. She needs to be told to stop it and move on. Or get help to do it.
    • Reply
  • Angel
    Devoted August 2020
    Angel ·
    • Flag

    Ooooh, that's a tough one. Obviously you don't want to upset your mom or be insensitive about the subject. But if she does that at every family gathering... that's a problem. I'm a super straight forward person so I would just tell someone no and move right along. You can always offer an alternative though, there's other ways to honor family members that are no longer with you as some already mentioned.

    • Reply

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