Wedding Etiquette for Deceased Parents

by Theresa Pickett

Many couples are confused when trying to incorporate a deceased parent into a wedding celebration.

wedding image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com

A wedding is a time for celebration, and it should be a joyous occasion. If you have a deceased parent, you have another important person that you want to be there in spirit. Including a deceased parent is a tricky situation because people want to be overjoyed and not mourning at a wedding. Follow simple rules of wedding etiquette about deceased parents, and keep your wedding running smoothly.

A Widowed Female's Last Name

Address a widowed female correctly on the wedding invitation envelopes, and if she is the host of the wedding, type her name correctly on the wedding invitations. According to Crane's, a widow would remain Mrs. Andrew Forrester, for example. Use a widower's married last name unless she is remarried. If she is remarried, use her current last name. Do not refer to a widow with her maiden name under any circumstances.

Including a Deceased Parent on the Invitation

Decide whether to include your deceased parent on the wedding invitation. According to Marry Customs, many couples are deciding to veer from tradition and show respect to deceased parents on the invitation. Etiquette rules state that a deceased parent should not be included on the wedding invitation because the names on the invitation demonstrate who is hosting the wedding. If you choose not to include the deceased parent's name on the invitation, there are other methods to include him or her.

Honoring the Deceased Parent During the Ceremony

Think of methods to honor the deceased parent during the ceremony. According to The Knot, you can honor a deceased parent by providing a moment of silence or a prayer in his honor. If you want to honor him without making a public statement, you can wear something personal that reminds you of him. The method you choose to honor him is a choice that is individual to your sentiments and your family's customs.

Giving the Bride Away

Find a relative to give the bride away if her father passed away before the wedding. According to The Knot, a close uncle or the mother are ideal choices if the bride wants someone to walk with her. The bride can also walk alone if she is confident not to have an escort. The decision of who will give the bride away is significantly personal to the bride. She should make her final decision of who will escort her without pressure about who to choose.

Mentioning the Deceased at the Reception

Mention the deceased parent during a reception speech to let the guests understand that someone important is not present. The bride or groom do not have to give a speech, especially if speaking about a deceased parent is too upsetting. If a groomsman or bridesmaid in the bridal party met the deceased parent, he or she may be the ideal person to mention the significance of the deceased parent to the bride or groom.

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About the Author

Theresa Pickett has written since 2007. She graduated from Flagler College with a Bachelor of Arts in history and Vanderbilt University with a Master of Education in elementary education. As a certified teacher who earned the ETS Recognition of Excellence for Praxis II Elementary Education, she has been published in "Student Filmmakers Magazine" and "Model Life Magazine."