Friday, 18 November 2011

Published in 'Brides Up North'. Empty Chairs

It's a change of pace for my guest blog on the Brides Up North web site this week.

Our wedding had such potential to dissolve into a sob-fest. Not only my recent health 'blip' (understatement of the year), but also the fact that one very important person was missing. 

My mum.

Today's blog looks at the sensitive issue of how to remember those loved ones who can't be with you to share your special day. I worried about striking the right note - these are some of the things I did to remember my lovely mum. 

Kettering. 9th May 1964.

Click the link to see my piece on the Brides Up North web site.


  1. A very touching feature. My wedding is in one month and I sadly lost my father and grandmother at the start of this year. It feels really important to have something that will remind me of them on the day without being too over the top. x

  2. Hi Julia and Alison – a lovely post.
    My parents are divorced and my dad wasn’t at my wedding in 2008 and I felt like there was an empty chair. I wore my gold bangle my dad had given me before they divorced and I felt as though I had him with me.
    So sometimes it isn’t just bereavement which gives us those metaphorical chairs
    Thanks again

  3. At Floral Quarter we always likes to try and incorporate something special into floral arrangements, one of my customers had a button belonging to her grandma attached to the stem and another requested Eucalyptus in her bouquet because her gran used to grow it. It’s the little things that make the difference :)

  4. This article really touched me, especially the bit about the blessing and laying flowers on the grave. It feels a really raw subject as my godmother passed away suddenly on Wednesday. She was so looking forward to our wedding (had already planned her weekend in Whitby!) and the thought of not having her there on the day is devestating. She had an amazing collection of vintage jewellery – hopefully I will be able to include this in the day. And maybe her wedding photos – my mum was her 1970′s bridesmaid, oh how fashions change!

  5. Such a lovley post! And an issue that so many people have to deal with. It is hard to balance feeling excited about getting married with the sadness (and often guilt) about special people not being there.
    I cancelled my original wedding one month before we were due to be hitched in 2005 as I just couldn’t bare the though of walking down the ailse without my dad. It took me another 6 years to pluck up the courage to do it (thankfully having a patient other half!!) and wish I had done it sooner. I made a little video montage of my family for the reception and 100% felt that my dad was very much part of my day.
    Good luck to all those who face such a hard thing to go through though, and Emma, I’m sure your wedding is going to be full of love, laughter and a truly brilliant day.

  6. Thank you for sharing this you made me laugh and cry at the same time hope to catch up with you tomorrow at Paul & Marnie's sending lots of love to you both xxxx

  7. I am often asked by couples for ways to remeber loved ones who aren’t with them on their special day. We are aften asked for ‘Memory Trees’. These are similar to our Crystal Wishing Trees but instead of gursts hanging wishes on them small photographs of loved ones are hung on the tree and guests are asked to share a memory of times gone and hang those on the tree too. The tags are then presented to the couple in a memory box to treasure.

  8. Such a touching subject, I too lost my Mum just a year before my wedding and I felt her loss greatly in the run up to the big day, but on the day itself, I felt I had to put all that emotion into a box or else I would have been sobbing all day. So instead I visited her grave the evening before (in the church yard where we were to be married), laid a bouquet that was the same as mine and blew her a kiss. All day I knew she was with me and said she had arranged the gorgeous weather, looking back I don’t actually know how I was so strong but we had a beautiful wedding day and of course raised a toast to her and privately shed a few tears.

    Now as a wedding planner I have dealt with a number of brides who have lost parents and I often suggest a rememberance candle, which can be discreetly positioned and they can light it in private and spend a few moments with their memories. I have also rearranged a wedding when a bride found out her Mum was terminally ill, so everything had to be brought forward and organised in 8 weeks. It all came together wonderfully and her Mum had an amazing day, sadly she passed away just a few weeks after the wedding.

    For all those that have loved and lost and planning a wedding, yes it is incredibly hard but it does make you realise what is important in life and not to take anyone for granted. Good luck and be kind to yourselves xxx

  9. Brides Up North Wedding Blog18 November 2011 at 04:14

    Thank you so much to everyone for sharing their own private experiences this morning, it is truly appreciated. More than a few tears of emotion have been shed on my keyboard reading each comment. Wishing you all love xxx

  10. I managed a wedding recently where they had a sunflower for each loved one who wasn’t there on the day. The sunflowers stood tall in a vase at the front of the alter with a simple chalk board sign which read ‘in loving memory’. The vase was then transferred to the gift table after the ceremony. Claire

  11. Tears are still falling as i am writing this; a brilliant piece Alison xx