A Wedding Guide for Grievers: Tips for Remembering and Coping

Holidays and Special Days / Holidays and Special Days : Litsa Williams

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With save-the-dates covering my fridge, it is becoming hard to deny that wedding season is upon us. Though most people who think about weddings probably don't jump right to thinking about grief, most people who think about weddings probably don't write a grief blog.  Lucky for you, around here just about anything makes us think about grief.

After a loss, no matter how many years have passed, significant life events are reminders that the person we have lost is not there with us. For our wedding, we may have always imagined that our mom would be there for wedding dress shopping, that our best friend would be our best man, or that our dad would walk us down the aisle.  When that person isn't there, there absence is a deep and constant reminder of our pain.  The most joyous of events become bittersweet.

We have written in the past about coping with weddings after a death, but our words of wisdom are scattered all over the blog. Think of today's post as one-stop-shopping for your wedding-after-a-death needs.  Click on any of the images below to check out our tips, tricks, and creative ideas for remembering your loved one on your wedding day, and some tools for coping to boot.  Whether you are the one getting married after a death or supporting someone who is, we hope some of our ideas will help.

Wedding Dress Shopping Without Mom
wedding dress shopping without mom

Your Wedding After a Death: Remembering Loved Ones at Your Ceremony.
Your Wedding Day After a Loss

Your Wedding After a Death: Remembering Loved Ones at Your Reception.
wedding after a death reception

What should I give as a wedding gift to someone who lost a parent?
wedding gift lost a parent

Wedding Journal Activity for GrieversYour wedding after a death journal

  The First Family Wedding After a Death
wedding after a death first family

Have some great ideas for remembering loved ones at a wedding or coping with grief during wedding season? Leave a comment to let us know!  

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for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
real-life book!

After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible, real-life book!

What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.

You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books:

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17 Comments on "A Wedding Guide for Grievers: Tips for Remembering and Coping"

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  1. cc  May 19, 2023 at 11:46 am Reply

    My dear husband collapsed on a plane jet way while on vacation, due to 3 blood clots entering his left heart artery. He was resuscitated and lived for 17 more days (a blessing, as all of our family flew to that Florida hospital to say their goodbyes), but passed away in hospice; he had only 10% brain activity. My husband had just retired as a pastor of our church 2 weeks earlier.

    Two months later, our son was married. My son and his bride had a photo memory table at the wedding reception. My husband’s photo was right up front, and the boutonniere he would have worn at the wedding was carefully placed by his picture. Also my husband was to give the blessing over the meal; so to honor him, I spoke the blessing prayer from my heart.

    God provides the strength to do things, that we thought we could not. I was happy to be able to publicly honor my husband on that wedding day.

    Take time for yourself before the wedding. I isolated two days prior, to just live in my grief and prepare my emotions for the wedding weekend ahead.

  2. Emily  December 29, 2022 at 10:32 am Reply

    I lost my brother when I was 18yrs old, back in 2005, a week before my high school graduation. With the exception of my family and one close family friend, everyone in my life had never met by brother Daniel. Two years ago (2021) I was getting married and I knew I wanted him as part of my wedding. I bought fabric sunflowers (a flower I associate with him) and bundled them together and had them sitting on a pew, just as if he were in that spot. It was little act and very few people even knew about it and yet it gave me a lot of comfort

    • Litsa  January 1, 2023 at 7:00 am Reply

      Ahh I love this idea <3

  3. Dana  October 5, 2019 at 1:16 am Reply

    My daughter is getting married in 2 days. We lost her dad 6 years ago after a 3-year battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. We had journaled his experience on CaringBridge and I happened to be looking back on some old posts last week and found where he had said, “Tell Katie how sorry I am that I won’t be here for her wedding. Tell her I love her and I’m with her in Spirit.” (She was only 20 when he died.) When I read this I got the sudden idea to have a charm engraved with his words – “I am with you in Spirit. Love, Dad.” I was fortunate enough to find a place to get it done quickly. We actually ended up with a nice heavy silver keychain (big enough for all those words) to attach to her bouquet with his special message. We are also attaching his wedding ring for the day. In addition to memory candles. It’s so difficult to blend the happiness of the day with the sadness of missing her father, but I’m so thankful to have found his words. Of course, finding those forgotten words is key. I do not believe in it coincidence. Hugs for all going through this experience.

  4. GaryB  August 10, 2019 at 1:57 pm Reply

    The hardest thing I had to do was be at my daughters wedding while my beautiful wife was recovering from surgery for lung cancer that had spread to her brain.
    We got that shocking diagnosis 2 days before the wedding after we drove downstate NY from Buffalo. It was just in October 2017 we had our first daughters wedding in Buffalo and we were so excited and proud of #2 so soon after!
    My wife obviously could not make it and I had to “power on and through” while knowing she was recovering but also knowing her terminal cancer gave her 2 months to live at best!
    I spent my daughters wedding in a complete daze and fog thinking of all going on and to go on-everything but the wedding itself. I smiled and I gave a few laughs and tears but I was dead man walking.
    To not have my wife with me -my 38 year soulmate life reason for living- we had just retired!
    To have gone through with the wedding broke my heart but I had a daughter to at least put a “show” on for her. I did my best and it would make me happy if just one day I could hear “Dad that night you were my hero” because God knows what I was going through but tried my best to stand tall and proud for her and for my poor wife.
    I always tell people my wife passed on August 9 2018 but I had passed June 7th when we received the shocking diagnosis on a routine Dr. visit turned very wrong.
    Its quite the shortened story here but there is my wedding / grief contribution.

  5. Louann Waters  May 23, 2019 at 12:05 pm Reply

    I am photographing a wedding on Saturday of a beautiful young lady I have watched growing up.
    I knew her father well. He was killed tragically in a car accident today, 2 days before the wedding.
    I am devastated for her loss. They were very close. I too very emotional and it is going to be tough capture the day sensitively.

  6. Undangan Pernikahan Unik  December 12, 2018 at 4:15 am Reply

    This is the right site for anybody who wants to find out about this
    topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue
    with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that has been written about for decades.
    Wonserful stuff, jusst wonderful!

  7. Desain Undangan Pernikahan  November 12, 2018 at 1:10 am Reply

    Iquite like reading through a post hat will make people think.
    Also, tthank youu for allowing me to comment!

  8. Undangan Pernikahan Unik  November 6, 2018 at 8:35 am Reply

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  9. Kevin@Event Planning Long Island  May 19, 2014 at 2:19 am Reply

    Unique topic you have chosen and expertly accumulate the information. I love the way you represent the information. My daughter’s wedding was 2 months after my husband, her dad passed away. She asked me if she could have his wedding ring worked into her bouquet, just for the ceremony. She also walked in with her groom. They decided if they were “going into this thing together, then that’s what they were going to do!” It was perfect.

  10. Karen Capucilli  May 1, 2014 at 10:53 pm Reply

    One thing I loved about my sister in law’s wedding was the sweetheart table. She and her new usband sat at a little table by themselves. On the table were photographs, framed beautifully , of my son who died, the bride’s father and the groom’s father, also departed. This made me feel so co forged that my son Jacob was art of their day,

    • Rhea Munroe  December 6, 2020 at 8:08 am Reply

      I need some advice.

      My uncle died 1 week ago (54) and left behind his life partner. Our save the dates are due to go out later this month. Is it poor etiquette to send one to her so soon after the fact? Or should I send her a personalized email that will approach the subject in a more sensative way?

      This is all uncharted territory for me :(.

      • IsabelleS  December 7, 2020 at 10:24 am

        Hi Rhea, thanks for taking the time to comment! I’m very sorry for the loss of your uncle. With regards to the Save the Date, this is definitely a tough situation. I don’t think there’s a “right” answer, but I would personally recommend sending her a personalized email/letter that acknowledges her loss and grief. I hope this helps!

  11. Marty Tousley (@GriefHealing)  May 1, 2014 at 11:54 am Reply

    Wonderful tips, and well worth sharing, Litsa. Thank you! I’ve added this page to my “Tools for Healing” Pinterest board.
    I will watch for your tips on coping with funerals, too, as Bob suggested. Meanwhile, your readers may find this post helpful: Facing Another Funeral Without ‘Falling Apart,’ here: https://j.mp/1dGACE3 ?

  12. Litsa  April 30, 2014 at 9:55 pm Reply

    Ahh, great suggestion for a post – I think most people can relate! We will definitely put that on the upcoming post schedule. Stay tuned . . .

  13. Bob  April 30, 2014 at 9:46 pm Reply

    Great that you have gathered these tips together.

    Now how ’bout a post about how to cope with a funeral. Every time I go to a funeral I feel guilty because I feel like I’m really grieving for my loved ones rather than the one whose funeral I’m attending.

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