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Ask The Celebration Advisor: My best friends sister is getting married next weekend and we have come down to the question of what is the proper etiquette on how are father should give her away! Her mother passed away a year ago so it would not be formal to say her mother and I since she is no longer living. But they would like to somehow mention her mom in giving her away. Any suggestions???? ~ Teresa G

The Celebration Advisor: Giving the bride away is an honor usually reserved for the father, but this too has received many amendments as modern brides shift toward personalized weddings and respecting the roles of blended families. For your friend's wedding, it is perfectly acceptable for her father to say "her mother and I do" if the bride wishes. As this is merely personalizing the wedding and honoring a loved one, your friend is not breaking any strict etiquette rules by using "her mother and I do".

There are also other ways that couples are choosing to honor deceased loved ones. Your friend may wish to include something like this as well.

  • Set up a memorial table for the deceased loved one that includes a photo and a small card with a sweet poem or a memento
  • Have a moment of silence during the ceremony  (usually at the beginning of the ceremony before/directly after the bride is presented)
  • Light a candle in the deceased's honor
  • Wear something that once belonged to or honors the deceased (such as a necklace, the mother's veil, etc.)
  • Have the father-of-the bride present a flower to the couple as he places the bride's hand in the grooms (the flower represents the loved one)

There are also ways to honor a loved one during the wedding reception:

  • Ask guests for a charitable contribution in the deceased's name in lieu of wedding gifts
  • Include the deceased in a wedding toast, or let the toastmaster know that this would be nice
  • Choose the deceased's favorite wedding cake flavor, place a small note beside the cake explaining this
  • Cutting a piece of cake in honor of the deceased and either eating it later or presenting it to the surviving spouse

These are all very special and significant ways to honor someone who has passed before the time of the wedding ceremony. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a bride or groom wanting to honor their loved one. Including a small token of affection such as the ones above will help make the day feel "complete" for all who wish the deceased could've been present on the special day.

For more ideas on how to honor loved ones at your wedding, you may be interested in these brief articles:

Eight Unique Ways To Personalize Your Wedding
Honoring Others On Your Wedding Day

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