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6 Ways to Honor Loved Ones Who Are Unable to Attend Your Wedding

When something like illness is keeping them away.

jayme barry wedding grandparents
Photography by: Kristin Sweeting

Whether they can't make the trip because they have a baby on the way, they're injured or ill, they're elderly, or they simply live too far away, there are always going to be wedding guests who can't make it to your ceremony and reception. Because this list often includes a person or two who you love very much, you might considering honoring them in some way during the wedding. Here, six simple and meaningful ways to ensure your loved ones are part of your big day, even if they can't physically be there.

 

Thoughtful Ways to Incorporate Your Parents' Wedding Into Your Own

 

Carry them with you.

For the truly special guests who can't make it to your wedding, you might consider carrying a miniature photo of them. You can pop the snapshot in your wedding clutch, in a charm that's tucked into your bouquet, or wear a locket with their photo inside. Another nice idea is to wear something of theirs—a groom may choose to wear his grandfather's cufflinks or watch, while the bride may borrow her aunt's earrings or her grandmother's ring.

 

Save a seat for them.

One of the kindest ways to show a loved one how much their presence is missed is to save a seat for them during the ceremony. If it's a close relative, mark a spot in the front row with their name, photo, or an item that reminds you of them. For a friend, saving a spot for them in the second or third row is fine.

 

FaceTime your loved one.

Depending on the person, you might FaceTime him/her while you're getting ready, or else have a friend coordinate it while you're on the dance floor. You might even have someone at the ceremony dial in so your loved one can see you and your soon-to-be-spouse exchange vows.

 

Designate a photo area.

If you're thinking about having a photo display at your wedding, you might want to include a few snaps of anyone loved ones who couldn't be there. This tends to be very common with grandparents who can't make the trip. (Plus, a photo of your grandparents at their own wedding is always a crowd-pleaser!) If you go this route, be sure to add all the grandparents to the display, not just those who can't attend. And you might as well add photos from your parents' weddings, too, making it a multi-generational display.

 

Include a mention of them in your wedding toast.

It doesn't have to be a big production, but simply referencing your loved one's during your thank-you toast can be really meaningful. Making mention of your loved ones is important not only to you, but also to the guests attending your wedding who've noted the absence.

 

Send them something special.

If your best friend is expecting to go into labor the week of your wedding or if your beloved aunt is recovering from surgery, it's understandable that she'd have to miss the day. In this case, sending flowers, a sweet letter, or a prepared meal is a nice way to show them that they've been missed.

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