In memory of Norah. That’s what my tiara meant. For my Las Vegas wedding ceremony, I chose a tiara with rhinestone butterflies. I’m not normally a butterfly kind of girl. But these butterflies meant something to me.

My fiancé’s aunt had died the year before we wed. She was an integral part of his family, and her vivacious life continues to inspire my groom and his siblings to this day. Her favorite symbol was butterflies.

bride sitting on grass
We don't have to forget. We can choose to memorialize and remember.

I knew my fiancé was upset his aunt couldn’t be at our wedding in a physical sense. But that didn’t mean we couldn’t keep her spirit alive in this special time.

Six months before my wedding, I asked my fiancé’s sister about an idea. An idea about butterflies and a tiara and a momento. His family would immediately be able to recognize this symbol, without asking the additional guests to mellow out their joy on such a celebratory day. His sister agreed. The plan was birthed.

Six months later on June 6th, I walked down the aisle with butterflies in my hair.

Brides, if you’ve lost someone you love, you don’t have to ignore that fact on your wedding day. Whether you’ve lost a parent, sibling, close friend, or relative from your fiancé’s family, you can acknowledge their importance in your life and their memory on your special day.

To start thinking of the best way for your wedding, consider these memorial ideas. Then customize these thoughts, or feel free to design your own ways to remember.

1. Wear Something Special: The bride’s mantra encourages “something borrowed.” So go for it. Wear a piece of jewelry that belongs to your loved one, or select a new piece of jewelry that symbolizes your loved one to you.

2. Add a Charm to your Bouquet: Select a charm that can fit a small photo of your loved one, or choose a charm shape to reflect your loved one’s interests. Ask your Las Vegas wedding florist to attach it to your bouquet’s ribbon for a subtle memorial. After the wedding, you can have your flowers preserved or simply keep the charm.

3. Include a Phrase on the Wedding Program: At the base of the wedding program, recognize the person (or people) whom you love who could not be with you. Keep it straightforward and simple with a single line, or include a short poem to acknowledge the important roles of your loved ones in your life.

4. Engrave a Vase and Add River Rocks: Purchase a vase engraved with your loved one’s name and “In Loving Memory.” Then fill the vase with polished river rocks. For each rock you place in the vase, recall one special memory with your loved one. Place the filled vase in a special place at your ceremony, such as a table near the altar.

5. Set Aside a Chair: Before the ceremony, select a chair from the front row. Next affix a flower and a card with a meaningful phrase, such as “Reserved in memory of,” and your loved one’s name. Then you’ll have a tangible way to look out at your guests and remember everyone in attendance, even those loved ones present in spirit.

Brides, while these ideas are designed to help you find your way to remember, please know it’s okay if you aren’t ready to include a memorial in your special day. For some brides, the grief is still too fresh. But if you’re ready, be creative and include a way to remember. At your wedding, you’ll likely think of your loved ones you’ve lost. Celebrate their lives as you celebrate this new step of marriage in your life as well.

Ask your photographer to capture these special additions, and invite your family or fiancé to help you with ideas. Together you’ll create a unique and memorable moment at your wedding to memorialize the people whom you love and who loved you too.

Author: Allyson Siwajian © 2012

Photograph credit: Jamison Frady of Quiet Art Photography © 2010 (Used by permission.)