Ways To Commemorate Lost Loved Ones At Your Wedding 2

commemorate wedding

Here at Beyond, we realise that grief will affect each person differently. Often it can be comforting and insightful to read or hear someone’s own unique grief story; how they felt then, and how they feel now. The last time we had Kiri over to guest post on our blog, she told us what no one tells you about losing a parent, and the things she’s learned since losing her father. Two months later we welcome Kiri back to tell us about how she continues to remember her father, with examples from her upcoming wedding.

commemorate wedding

Anyone who has lost someone will probably agree that milestones are particularly difficult. These are the times when you would have had your loved ones there by your side, and facing these times without them is excruciatingly painful.


However, as time goes by you gradually become a little better at coping – the pain is always there and it’s just as strong as ever, you simply know how to manage it and channel it better. One technique I personally find useful is to use milestones as a chance to remember the good times and feel your lost loved one’s presence in a way that makes you feel happy and proud, not sad and upset.


I’ve been dreading that feeling of grief on my upcoming wedding day. For me, this is the hardest hurdle to overcome. Graduation was hard enough, but on a day when a father feels like such a pivotal part of proceedings, it’s rather difficult to push any feelings aside.


I’m bad enough at other people’s weddings let alone my own. Just last month I was a bridesmaid and when I saw the father of the bride cry when he first cast eyes upon her, something inside of me snapped. It was perhaps one of the toughest challenges so far, because I wanted to cry my eyes out and let all that emotion go, but I knew I had to be strong for my friend, so I cried inside and kept the tears from leaving my eyes.


I feel so torn thinking about my wedding. Torn because on one hand I feel like I’ve reached a point in my grief where I can cherish my father in the most beautiful way, but on the other hand, I think the fact that he won’t be there is going to hit me like a tidal wave.


He won’t see me in my wedding dress, walk me down the aisle, do a speech or dance with me, but he will be with me in other ways. Ways that are perhaps more meaningful than traditions or expectations, and ways that are far more salient.


I can’t promise that these ideas will work for you, but I’m hoping they will make my wedding day more special and make it feel as though he’s still an important part of the day.


A keyring for your bouquet

What do you carry with you for the majority of the day? Your bouquet. So why not have a little keyring tribute with a small photo or engraved keyring in memory of your lost loved one? As well as having it with you on the day this idea will be nice for photos that you can cherish. This was actually my mum’s idea, I’ve seen something similar before on Pinterest but as soon as she showed it to me I knew I had to have it.

Wear an item of their clothing

So my dad used to wear this grey leather jacket literally everywhere. It was his thing, and he looked darn cool in it, especially with his big moustache. This jacket reminds me of him so much, and we’ve still got it, it’s hanging up on display in my sister’s bedroom. I’ve asked my sister to walk me down the aisle in his place, and she’s going to wear his jacket with her bridesmaid dress.


It may be about ten sizes too big for her, but my sister, being quite alternative will most definitely pull it off. It will feel as though he’s there with us, keeping us strong as we walk down the aisle together. If you don’t have an item of clothing or want to wear one, another option is to bring a small object that reminds you of them and take it down the aisle with you



Include them on invitations

This won’t apply to everyone, only those who have lost a parent. It’s traditional to have on the invites your parents names and say ‘person A and person B request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of their daughter’. When I was thinking about what to do for this it didn’t seem right to just put my mum’s name. In life or in death my father is still my father, so I don’t see why he shouldn’t still get a mention. So I did a bit of research and apparently you can just write ‘person A and the late person B’. I felt so proud and pleased to be able to send my invites out with his name on.



Another idea is to wear a piece of jewellery. This can either be something that they used to wear, or you can get your own item made specially. For example, you could get a necklace with their star sign, or a bracelet with charms related to them. Personally, I’m wearing one of my dad’s rings. We took it to the jeweller who is going to engrave it with his name, make it a bit smaller and give it a silver coating.


Quote their words somewhere in a creative way

Did your loved one used to always come out with a particular saying or phrase? If so, you could have it on a sign somewhere in beautiful writing, or print out the quote and frame it. My father loved writing just as much as I do, and he’d often come out with really inspiring comments. After he died I found a box with letters he wrote to his parents, and also to my mum when he ended up in hospital for three months (he wrote her a letter every single day). I’m thinking of having this quote of his up somewhere at my wedding –

‘My problem is, I’m always too hopeful, and I can see so many good things and talk about them. Then when things don’t happen everyone says I am too much of a dreamer. Without dreams I would shrivel and crumple. I need to dream to make things happen, and I will. ‘

And just in case none of the above ideas suit you and your story, I’ve come up with a few more suggestions below:

  • Have a chair for them at the meal and put an object of theirs on the chair
  • Use them as inspiration for table names, such as places you’ve been together
  • Opt for their favourite flower
  • Play a few of their favourite songs
  • Raise a drink to them
  • Encourage guests to donate to a charity that they supported
  • Do a balloon release or firework display in their honour
  • Give guests seeds for your favours and request they plant them in their memory
  • Have someone light a candle for them as a part of your ceremony
  • Use sparklers to write their name and get your photographer to capture it on film
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  1. My daughter is getting married next year. As a teen she lost her father to a rare disease. But her fiance also lost his mother to a car accident. Im so glad to have some ideas for their wedding day, especially what do on the invitations. Thank you for sharing.

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Missouri Storm Chaser’s Ashes to be Released into a Tornado 0


What would you say if you could write your own obituary? For a creative option, you can’t beat Jim “Mad Dog” Sellars’ self-penned goodbye, in which the adventurous former ice cream dipper, butcher, weatherman, telephone lineman, reserve policeman and veteran storm chaser from Missouri announced that his ashes would be released into a twister.

“My friends the ‘Outlaw Chasers’ will launch my cremains into a tornado at a later date”, Sellars wrote. “That’ll be fun!!!!”

The scattering will be a fitting tribute to a man who chased well over 100 tornadoes in his lifetime. Speaking to the Kansas City Star, Sellars’ older brother John described Jim as a dedicated and generous person who approached all his hobbies whole-heartedly. “If he knew (a tornado) was going to set up somewhere, in Oklahoma, or Alabama, he would load up with a couple of people and go chase.”

“If he found something that interested him, he jumped into it all the way up to his neck.”

Even when Sellars was confined to his bed due to illness, he continued to track tornadoes for the National Weather Service’s SKYWARN program, also sending out radio reports to help his fellow storm chasers.

“It was a tough time for him, but he spent every waking hour helping people all over the radio”, said John. Condolences on Sellars’ memorial page describe him as both “fun loving”, “generous” and a “big hearted guy who was very devoted to helping others”.

Jim’s self-written obituary tells the story of a busy life well lived, with memories of family, friends, and a range of careers:

“I remember the 1960 Winter Olympics we had in our snowy backyard, sitting with Dad watching the satellite Echo 1 flash through the night sky.

“I was honored as a Policeman to have met and protected … Presidents Reagan and Ford, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, George Carlin, Dolly Parton, Mac Davis, Kenny Rogers, Tom Jones, Elvis and many more.”

It also paints a portrait of a self-deprecating man with a strong sense of humour. “I had a few tryouts with the Reds, Phillies and Cardinals. … I was either too drunk or too hung over to do much good … But I had fun.”

Yet, as you might expect from a long time storm chaser, the weather seems to have been Sellar’s enduring passion. “I saw my first tornado in Sept 1975 and my last 30 years later … I liked all kinds of weather, rain, snow, sleet, hot, cold … I really didn’t care as long as I was here to see it.”

Despite the unusual nature of his brother’s last request, John has promised to launch the ashes into a tornado as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Jim Sellars is survived by his two children, a son and a daughter, and four grandchildren.

“I loved all my family, friends, caregivers, and the people that made my world turn.” Sellars said. “So, as we move forward on our path around the sun at 66,660 mph, let’s all pray, hope, or wish for peace and love for our world.

“Bye for now. … See ya on the other side.”

Do you have any unusual wishes for your own ashes? Make sure your family know what to do when the time comes by sharing your funeral wishes in your will with Beyond. It’s free, easy and takes just ten minutes. Start writing your free will here today.

Baptist Funeral Customs 0

Baptist Funeral Customs

The Baptist churches have their origins in the reformation movement in Europe. Baptism spread from Amsterdam to England and then across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States, where the largest Baptist congregations are now based.

The fundamental principle on which Baptism differentiates itself from other Christian churches is ‘believer’s baptism’. Whereas other parts of the Christian faith baptise infants at a very young age, Baptists believe that you need to be able to personally affirm your faith if the process is to hold any spiritual significance. Here, we take a look at the beliefs, customs and traditions surrounding Baptist funerals.


Baptist beliefs

There is great variety in tradition, custom and belief among Baptists and this fact is reflected in Baptist funerals. While all Baptists are joined in the belief that only those who profess their faith in Jesus Christ should be baptised, other theological differences aren’t as divisive as in other sects of the Christian faith. This means funeral services can be personalised to a greater extent to reflect the life and opinions of the deceased. It also means there are diverse opinions on what death means. However, most Baptists believe that those people with faith in Jesus Christ will find salvation in him and go on to live forever by his side in heaven.


Baptist funeral customs

Diversity of belief between Baptist congregations means that some funerals will be joyous celebrations, while others will be more sombre affairs. The first step in organising a Baptist funeral is contacting the local deacon or pastor. They will assist in organising the funeral and ensure everything is as it should be.

Baptist Funeral CustomsA viewing service is common amongst Baptist congregations. This gives friends and family the opportunity to pay their respects and usually takes place a day or two before the funeral. The funeral itself is led by the local deacon or pastor. Often the casket is closed at the beginning of the service. In many cases, the service and readings will focus on the power of God and His role within everyone’s lives. It’s not unusual for there to be little said about the deceased’s life. Music and the reading of scripture both play an important part in Baptist funerals and both religious and popular music may be heard.

Once the service is complete, it is traditional for prayers to be said and scripture read by the grave site. Once the coffin has been lowered into the ground, the mourners often disperse and reconvene at a reception at the family home, the church or a public space. Food is sometimes provided and it’s usual for mourners to contribute to the meal.


Baptist Funeral etiquette and other customs

Traditionally, mourners are expected to dress respectfully in black and clothes that reveal too much skin are not considered appropriate. However, some families may ask mourners to dress in brightly coloured clothes in honour of the deceased. Sending flowers to the family of the deceased is also common, although individuals may be asked to donate to charity instead.