Honoring A Deceased Parent
At A Wedding or Engagement

Honoring a deceased parent (mother, father or both) at a wedding and engagement is a challenge many face. They aren’t sure how to go about it. What’s appropriate, what’s in poor taste and what’s not.  Or even, the correct wording for invitations when it comes to deceased mothers and fathers, and so much more.

Here are three Q & A sessions on the topic of honoring deceased parents and paying tribute to them.

Wedding Engagement Tribute for Deceased Parents

Both my father and my fiance’s father passed away. Mine, about 18 months ago and my fiance’s when he was a child.

I’m trying to think of ways to honor them during our engagement and wedding. We are having two engagement parties, one is being given by my mother and the other by good friends of my fiance’s family.

The one my mother is giving is fairly formal and the first time the two extended families will meet. The other party is an outdoor luncheon at the house of the family friends.

We know that for the wedding we’re going to put a picture of both dads on the seating card table. My dad’s picture will have a glass of scotch and a cigar in front of it(two of his favorite things to do during a celebration). My fiance’s father will have a glass of champagne. I’m also going to have a locket that my dad gave to my mom attached to my bouquet so that my father is with me going down the aisle.

I’m wondering if anyone has any ideas on what we can do for the engagement parties? Should both dads be honored at each party or should each dad just be honored at one of the parties?

We don’t want any of the tributes to be sad but we do want them to know that they are remembered and missed.

Advice on Tributes for the Deceased from Our Team

Engagement Party and Wedding Tributes: It’s always tough when our parents aren’t there to share some of the most important days of our lives.

What you set up for the wedding sounds really lovely and respectful. In terms of the engagement parties, here are some of our thoughts.

Both fathers should be honored at both parties. If they were both alive today, they would both be present at each of the events (and may still be in some form or another) so it only seems natural that they should both be acknowledged at both parties.

Your mother’s party will be easier to arrange because your mother is hosting the party. The one being held by the family friends could be a little trickier because you may not want to impose anything on them since they have generously offered to throw you an engagement party in their home. So you need to consider that when deciding what to do.

You said your mother’s was going to be fairly formal so we’re assuming that a sit down meal will be offered.

Set a place for both dads at the family table and mention them during a speech. It’s a really nice way of having them around for most of the party. And by mentioning the place settings and them in a short speech you’ll be honoring them and their ‘presence’ to both families.

For the engagement luncheon, how about sending flowers? You could send a large bouquet as a hostess gift along with two identical bouquets consisting of a single flower with lots of greenery.

The single flowers would represent each dad. Choosing a large orchid or some other exotic bold flower would work best and will not only represent your dads better but also make a more appealing arrangement.

You could let the host and hostess know that you are sending them and why. You won’t be inconveniencing them but adding to the party decor and it will be a lovely way of having both dads present.

Whether you mention it to the guests at the party is completely your choice but close family will know what they are and what they represent.  If you’re looking for more ideas check out this blog post.

Best wishes to you both and congratulations!

Engagement Assistance Regarding a Deceased Father

Hi my name is Tim and I’m 24 years old. My beautiful girlfriend, who I have known since high school is 23, and I couldn’t be happier.

She is the love of my life, my girl, my sweetness! She’s seriously something. We have been dating about a year now, but we had history in the past. We are crazy about one another!

Seriously it’s crazy! Recently, her father past due to cancer, a rough 5 year battle. I wasn’t given the opportunity to ask him for permission, it was something Tara and I wanted. We’re old school like that. I know he would have said yes, no doubt, and she knows it too.

I have the perfect idea to propose, I’m getting things ready, still in the beginning stages, but I thought of this and need your help.

I want to somehow in the proposal remember her dad in someway. I’m not sure how to do this or if I should. Or if I should just make it for the engagement party.

Just wondering if it’s a good idea! Please help! Thank you!

Advice on Honoring Her Father At Your Engagement & Wedding

We think it’s wonderful that you’ve thought about this and are concerned about when and how to acknowledge her deceased father.

In the end, only you can decide but here are our thoughts.

Getting her father’s blessing happens before the proposal not during it, so the actual proposal is really about the two of you and your future together, and we think you should keep it that way.

However, after you propose and a few minutes pass, why not mention to her how sorry you are to not have spoken with her Dad and gotten his permission to ask for her hand in marriage. Then let her know that since he was not around prior to the proposal you intend to include him after and want to pay tribute to him at the engagement party and even the wedding.

Since you’re both sure he would be pleased about your union, it would be nice to acknowledge him at both events.

Depending on her personality, you can plan doing something personal or private like giving her a locket with a picture of him or the three of you inside, which can be attached to her bouquet–so in essence he walks her down the aisle.

You can honor him in a speech, keep a place setting for him at the head table…there are just so many ways to incorporate his spirit into the festivities.

Good luck and Congratulations!!!

Mentioning a Deceased Parent at an Engagement Party

I am having an engagement party for a bride-to-be whose mother passed away 4 months ago. There will be 20-25 guests attending and, at some point, we will toast the couple. If the bride-to-be and her family will allow it, I would like to say a few words about her mother prior to the toast.

Would this be appropriate?

Advice on Mentioning a Deceased Parent

The trickiest part in all of this is the fact that her mother passed away just 4 months ago.

Although it is completely appropriate to say a few words about her mother, it really depends on how raw the pain is for the bride-to-be and other family members.

Having said that, we’re sure not one person attending the engagement party won’t be thinking about her mother at some point during the evening and even discussing (among themselves) what a shame it is that she passed on so close to the party date.

No matter how painful, that is the reality and to completely ignore it would be, in our opinion, somewhat of a disservice to her and her mother.

However, the family has to be the one who decides. You are completely right in asking the bride-to-be and family first and letting them know your intentions. It is really up to them and if they give their consent then we would like to offer the following advice.

An engagement and wedding are all about the future and a next phase of life, so in saying a few words about the deceased make sure to only celebrate her life and all the good things that the deceased will bring to this new union through her daughter in spirit, and by having raised her. Focus your words on the future in context of honoring her mother rather than ever mentioning how much she is missed, especially on such a happy occasion.

Consider as well, including a picture of her mother somewhere in the room where all can see her in her prime, enjoying life. Or some other form of tribute for a deceased parent mentioned above.

This is a time of celebration and although the family has suffered a great loss, it’s important that all friends and family members (including the deceased) celebrate life and the wonders and joy of starting a future together.

We hope this helps.  And…. Congratulations and best wishes to the bride-to-be!