Weddings are a wonderful time when friends and family come together to celebrate a new union. People travel from far away and spend the days leading up to the wedding catching up on each others’ lives and basking in the positive vibes that only a wedding can deliver.
Nothing brings home the importance of family quite like a wedding.
While a wedding can be an uplifting event, it’s also a time to remember the people who couldn’t be there.
Some people, especially those who were close to parents, grandparents, or siblings who may have passed away use memory tables as a way to commemorate their passing and honor those who can’t be there on your special day.
Done tastefully, a memory table is a wonderful addition to any wedding celebration. They tell the story of the deceased, but also tell the story of your relationship with them, and give other people the chance to understand you more and where you came from.
If you’re thinking about building a memory table at your wedding, here are 9 tips to help you pull it off successfully.
Tip 1 – Photos Tell the Story
Put as many photos up of your loved one (or loved ones) as possible.
Pictures tell the story of who they are and what they did while they were still alive. With large, prominent pictures, people will gravitate toward the table naturally, and then start reading or soaking in other items on the memory table.
Of course, if possible, it’s always a great idea to have the bride or the groom in the pictures with those being honored.
Tip 2 – Place Mementos with Meaning
Most people keep small keepsakes of special people who pass away. Perhaps you have a money clip or saved a personal diary of your parents or grandparent.
Those items on the table bring deep meaning and make the table more interactive with whoever stops by for a moment.
It also makes the table more decorative, and people will grasp the meaning of the table more quickly than if it’s just photos on the table.
Tip 3 – Flowers
Weddings are often filled with flowers. Your loved one, however, may have had a different favorite flower than those you chose for your wedding’s theme.
That’s great if they are different because it will draw attention to the memory table and make people notice it more.
The number of flowers will likely be relatively small compared to the wedding, so it won’t be distracting. Sprinkle some petals across the table and place some bouquets as well.
Tip 4 – Photo Albums
In addition to your photos in frames, give people the opportunity to browse through your loved one’s life by keeping some photo albums on the table.
You can curate the story that the albums tell, starting with when they were young, special moments the two of you shared, and other important times that you want to highlight in their life.
Tip 5 – Make a Sign
Not every wedding has a memory table, and some people may not know what it is or what the point of the pictures and flowers is.
A great way to show what you’re doing and make the table’s meaning hit home for all of your guests is to build a sign with the person’s or peoples’ names on it and some other words that let them know the purpose of the table.
You can do it in matching calligraphy that you are using for other text for your wedding to make things match well.
Tip 6 – Write a Biography
A special biography written by the bride or the groom is always a nice touch. You can write a short text focused on who the person was and why they were and still are so special to you.
People who want to spend a bit of time at the table can read through the biography and leave knowing you a bit better and understanding why the person meant so much to you.
If you need help, you can talk to other relatives who were there when they were younger to fill you in on any history gaps. It can be beneficial for you too, because you can learn more about your relative.
Tip 7 – Some of Their Favorite Things
If your grandfather loved apple pie or was a die-hard Yankees fan, then you can place those types of items on the table to make it fun.
It will give the memory table a nice bit of variety and tell a visual story without going into too much detail. After all, it’s a celebration, so you’ll want to highlight some or all of the things that they loved and made them happy.
Tip 8 – Dedicate a Song & a Dance to the Memory Table
A lovely way to honor your loved ones is to dedicate a special dance to the people spotlighted on the memory table.
It will bring everyone’s focus to the table and the deceased. Coupled with a song honoring them and the dance, it can be a special moment during your wedding that people will walk away talking about for days.
Tip 9 – Display a Family Tree
A memory table at your wedding can be a great way for everyone to get to know each other’s families.
Most of the time, people are meeting cousins and aunts for the first time at a wedding. Everyone is trying to figure out who is who and how they are related to the married couple.
With a family tree on your memory table, people can stop by and see where everyone fits in. It also underscores where the person missing fits in and what kind of important role they played in the family.
Memory tables are a wonderful way to honor relatives, friends, or anyone else special to the family.
Mixed in with a wedding, honoring deceased loved ones helps us focus on the good moments, the happy times, and how special they remain to us even though they aren’t with us anymore.