Celebrating life: Remembering a parent that has passed at your wedding

Losing a parent is a very traumatic event, no matter how old you were when your parent died.  The sadness of this loss can be felt throughout your lifetime.  Yet I believe, it is during the happy times in our lives, that such a loss is felt most poignantly.  One of the happiest times of our lives is our wedding and it is during the preparation leading up to and the wedding day itself, that the loss is most keenly felt. Thoughts of how they would have escorted you down the aisle, how they would have dressed, or even how they would have wanted you to dress, come to mind. 

We can’t bring back that parent, but we can honour and celebrate their lives and bring them into the celebration.

How, when and how much you want to remember your parent at this time is entirely up to you and how you feel it will affect you. 

Here is a list of ideas to help you find the perfect way to celebrate your parent’s life at your simcha.  Go with your gut and don’t let anyone tell you want to do/not do or how much or how little – only you know what’s right for you!

1) List them on the invitation. Traditionally, if we list a deceased person next to a person who is alive we use the following formula:

father’s name ז"ל (in loving memory) and mother’s name להבדיל בחיים ארוכים  (“may she enjoy have a long life”), is written next to the surviving parent (in this case, the mother).

Invitation wording suggestion in Hebrew and English
2) I have also seen grandparents listed on the back of the invitation, under the heading: In loving memory of …

3) Under the chuppah, the Rabbi can mention deceased parents or grandparents when talking about the couple.

4) The names of deceased grandparents can be listed on the back of the bencher.

5)  One of my wonderful Kallahs created this memorable tribute to her late parent: she lovingly placed a picture of the parent, surrounded by flowers, candles and other favorite objects, on a draped, high buffet table in the dining hall of the wedding venue.
6)  Some other ideas I have read about include: consider wearing your parent’s favorite piece of jewelry or clothing; incorporate your mother’s old wedding veil into your veil or use it as a separate bedek tichel, to be used at the bedekin. An old veil used as a bedek tichel is a perfect solution for a yellowed veil that cannot be easily incorporated into your new/newer veil. 

You can consider incorporating a segment of a well-loved dress or shirt in the bridesmaids’ dresses ( used as a sash for instance) or the flower girls’ ribbons. The chatan can wear his father’s or grandfather’s tallit.

You can use your father or grandfather's tallit as your chuppah or incorporate it in your chuppah.
7) PowerPoint presentations have become de rigueur at nearly every simcha, and this could be the best and most touching of all tributes – add pictures of your parent, layering favorite music clips or any other visual elements to the presentation, that can “bring your parent alive” for everyone at your wedding.
A minhag that many follow is to visit the grave of the parent at some point before the wedding date. My son-in-law brought an invitation (of his and my daughter’s upcoming  [at that time] wedding) to the grave of his grandfather just days before the wedding.

Do you have a suggestion, idea or minhag that you would like to share with us about celebrating the life of a departed parent at your wedding?  I'd love to hear from you.  Please leave your comment here or on my Facbeook page!

Did you enjoy my article?  I’d love to hear from you!  Drop me a line or tell me on my Facebook page and please feel free to share my blog with a bride and all your friends!

Do you have any questions about Jewish wedding customs, please drop me a line?  Do you want to learn more about brides, weddings and beauty? Please subscribe to my blog. 

No comments:

Post a Comment