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Katy
Beginner December 2021

Subtle ways to memorialize family members? (that isn't a photo table or empty chairs?)

Katy, on April 17, 2021 at 9:44 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 20
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FH and I have lost 4 grandparents in the last few years. I'm not one for wedding memorials, but FH was very close to his grandmother in particular, and he *really* liked the empty chair approach.



However, his family suffered the sudden, tragic loss of his uncle last summer. Our wedding is December 2021, but we're in agreement that the empty chairs will be WAY too much, especially for his aunt and cousins.



We both think the memorial is an "all or nothing" situation (include everyone, or none), and he still wants to do something. The full photo table with the popular quote feels a bit too much for me, personally. Any thoughts or tips on something more subtle?


(The goal is largely for FH to feel like the missing family members are near, and to let others know we're feeling the absence of these loved ones.)

Any brainstorms greatly appreciated!

20 Comments

Latest activity by Nic, on April 28, 2021 at 1:11 AM
  • Miya
    Dedicated August 2021
    Miya ·
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    Subtle ways to memorialize family members? (that isn't a photo table or empty chairs?) 1


    I found this on Etsy (CherishedHeritage) and going to carry my grandmothers picture on my bouquet. I wanted something more intimate and to feel like she is with me. Maybe for his grandmother, he could pin her picture to his boutonnière if having one or to inside of jacket.
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  • Katy
    Beginner December 2021
    Katy ·
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    Ah, that's lovely. I'll definitely pitch it to him. Thank you!
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  • L
    Liz ·
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    I’ve known people do displays of family wedding photos - depending on how that might sit with the aunt and cousins, it would be a way to remember family members without it being a memorial table. You could do photos of parents and grandparents only, if you wanted to mark his grandmother, without having a photo of his uncle that would be upsetting to his aunt.

    I also really like the idea of charms as something personal that you can let key people know about if you want to without it being a public display.

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  • C
    Rockstar January 2019
    Cassidy ·
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    I put stuff around the reception to represent my family whom passed. I put my great grandfathers Pinocchio on the bar. I used my great grandmothers brooch on my bouquet. I had my grandfathers race program in a frame with a picture of me and him on the gift table. And I played a song for my uncle. I hope something here sparks an idea for you.
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  • Katy
    Beginner December 2021
    Katy ·
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    I like that! It's definitely subtle, but still visible to anyone close enough to the person being remembered. Thank you!
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  • Elizabeth
    Dedicated April 2021
    Elizabeth ·
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    I'm planning to use a small sign that has the quote with only two white candles infront of it, one to represent his family and the other other represent mine. I'm still a but unsure about it though just because I have mixed feelings about Memorial tables too
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  • Katy
    Beginner December 2021
    Katy ·
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    This is a really sweet idea. I think it might be tricky for us because we have a LOT of death/remarriage and divorce/remarriage among our parents and grandparents, and it might be tricky picking which marriages to feature. 😂
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  • Katy
    Beginner December 2021
    Katy ·
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    The two candles approach definitely feels like softer one to me. I'll be keeping it in mind - thank you!
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  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·
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    Daughter included a number of subtle things to include her beloved grandparents. For example, we used fabric from her gramma's wedding gown (that my sister and I had also both worn) to wrap her bouquet stems -- daughter said it was like "Gramma was holding her hand all day." All four of her grandparents were married in the same year. Daughter found a penny from that year, FOB drilled a small hole in the penny and we tied it to daughter's bouquet. Since her grandpa passed, whenever we find a penny, we say "Pennies from heaven!" and assume he's with us, so it also had that meaning for her. Good luck! Smiley heart

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  • Katy
    Beginner December 2021
    Katy ·
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    Those sound like beautiful ways of keeping the grandparents close. Thank you for sharing!
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  • L
    Lady ·
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    I would echo suggestions to do something personal to your FI. Sew something to the inside of his jacket that was meaningful or reminds him of his loved ones. I think memorials at weddings should be small and/or personal and not flashy or obvious (that's just my opinion, obviously!) but I also feel like it's more meaningful.

    We did programs at our ceremony and I included a small note about our grandparents who weren't able to be there, etc. I also wore a ring that came from my great grandma (my deceased grandfather's mom).

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  • AB
    Dedicated September 2022
    AB ·
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    I will be sewing a piece of shirt into the underneath of my dress for my grandfather (he was like a father to me), I fear that FH's nannie will pass before we get married, she is in one of the last stages of dementia. For him, I think we will sew one of her handkerchiefs or something into his jacket. You could also do a cufflink that has writing from one of the grandparents, I have a silver bracelet that has my grandfathers handwriting that says "I love you forever Anabethy" and a locket with his picture inside. Those are some subtle ideas to honor them!

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  • Melody
    Devoted April 2021
    Melody ·
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    We are doing a single memorial candle to honor all of our lost loved ones. That candle will be on a chair in the front row during the ceremony and then moved to the gift or guest book table afterwards. The candle is customized with our colors and says, "In loving memory of those celebrating with us in heaven." It's a small thing that will hold a lot of significance for FH and I, but also won't be too in-your-face for those who either don't know the departed or knew them well and that reminder may be painful.

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  • Katy
    Beginner December 2021
    Katy ·
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    I'm with you! I'm loving the attire suggestions. They'd give him the option to even show those close to him (his brother, father), but they don't put the matter quite so front-and-center. Smiley smile
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  • Katy
    Beginner December 2021
    Katy ·
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    I really like this option, too. If we do something that is more in the public space, this is definitely the kind of solution I'm looking for. Thank you for sharing!
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  • Katy
    Beginner December 2021
    Katy ·
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    Your description of that bracelet sounds so beautiful. He has tons of notes (birthday cards, notes on school papers, etc.) from his grandmother, who played a very maternal role in his life. Maybe I'll have something made for him--I think it would mean a lot. Thank you for the idea!
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  • AB
    Dedicated September 2022
    AB ·
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    Yes, my mom surprised me for my high school graduation with it. It is very special, I will be wearing it for my wedding day too. Like your FH I have piles of letters he had written me over the years, my mom found one and used the writing "I always have your back and love you forever Anabethy" in his cursive (he always spelled my name wrong because of his horrible arthritis and it is extra special because of that). I bet you could even do it to a pocket watch!

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  • Katy
    Beginner December 2021
    Katy ·
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    I wondered about the spelling when I first read your comment! Smiley smile That's a beautiful part of the story. (Also, it's so sweet of your mom.) Definitely keeping this one in mind. Even if just as a smaller day-of gift. Smiley smile
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  • Maddie
    Savvy February 2022
    Maddie ·
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    This would be my suggestion, and something I might actually do. The empty chair thing is beautiful but can be quite jarring. My grandfather's best friend recently got remarried and had an empty chair for him at our table, and hell if I didn't find it a bit overwhelming

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  • Nic
    Beginner September 2020
    Nic ·
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    I wrapped my grandmother's pearls around my bouquet.
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