Tuesday, May 31st, 2011...9:54 am

Honoring Deceased Relative at Your Long Island Wedding DID YOU KNOW…?

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Are you planning a wedding and one of your parents or a close relative is deceased?  Here’s some really good advice on how to balance the emotions.   “There are five keys to planning a wedding when someone is missing,” says Aurora Winter, a grief expert and author of From Heartbreak to Happiness. The missing person could be a parent, brother, sister, son, daughter, or grandparent. They might be dead, estranged, or ill. These five steps will help ensure the wedding is a success.

1. Get Real

“Pain is caused by the gap between reality and expectation. So, while it may seem inappropriate to have moments of sorrow at a joyous occasion, it’s wise to expect a few tears and even welcome them,” says Aurora Winter, who founded the Grief Coach Academy after the death of her husband. “Give yourself and others permission to be real. Most people don’t realize that you can’t suppress sad feelings without also suppressing happy feelings. The truth is that expressing the whole range of our feelings is essential to opening our hearts to love, which is what weddings are all about.”

2. Be Proactive

Prior to the wedding, set aside some time to visit a grave site or the hospital, share your feelings with a close friend or a coach, and acknowledge the contribution the missing person has made to your life.

3. Honor the Missing Person

Find a way to honor the missing person at the wedding. For example, Princess Diana’s sapphire and diamond ring became Kate Middleton’s engagement ring. Prince William said he wanted his mother to have a part in the day.

You might choose to wear an article of clothing, select a special song in tribute, or have family photographs on display. The wedding invitation, choice of flowers, or selection of readings offer other opportunities to honor the person who is missing. You might also choose to light a candle or say a private prayer.

4. Celebrate the Wedding

A wedding is a special occasion to rejoice in the love of the bride and groom, and wish them well as they begin a life together. Getting real, being proactive, and finding a way to honor the missing person pave the way for celebration.

“Remembering someone who is dead by being gloomy is no way to honor their memory. If they were present, wouldn’t they be celebrating? Choose to celebrate on their behalf as well as your own,” Winter recommends.

5. Choose to be Happy

“While mixed feelings are understandable, happiness is a choice,” says Aurora. “If you’re feeling sad, here are some tips to getting into the ‘party mood.’ Put on your party clothes, sing in the shower, sit up straight, put on some happy music, and get up dancing. Get a good night’s sleep and skip the alcohol. A sure-fire way to pick up your spirits is to reach out and help others enjoy the day.”

In summary, when you’re planning a wedding when someone is missing, be sure to get real, be proactive, honor the missing person, celebrate the wedding, and choose to be happy. These tips will help ensure that the wedding is a success.