honor first wife?

flowersnowNovember 27, 2006

I am getting married this summer. My future step sons will be involved in the wedding and we have a good relationship. Their mother passed away 10 years ago. We will have a moment to honor the family members who are no longer with us. Should we do the same for their mother?? On one hand it seems inappropriate, but on the other I want to honor her memory.

Ugh. I would love any guidance/suggestions. You all have been to a lot more weddings than I have (I think to date...4).

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I think the best thing to do is just to have a moment for all who have passed and not to mention names. Invariably, someone will be forgotten and someone else will be angry, a huge family fight will ensue, and all you wanted to do is be nice.

OTOH, if you MUST mention names, it will appear petty and spiteful not to mention the boys' mother. Which I'm sure is not your intention.

I think some of the other posters will have better ideas on exactly how to handle the ceremonial details. I'm not one for ceremony.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 9:46PM
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you could also just *not have* a moment to honor dead people.

I sound callous, I'm sure, but the wedding doesn't have to cover EVERY emotional tie in the entire life cycle of a family.

(I will say, I am apparently NOT "normal," especially not on this issue. I get crabby at weddings when they make a big deal out of birthdays and wedding anniversaries--this is a simple, focused event; why are we scattering it every which way? Weddings are weddings, and bday parties are bday parties, and funerals and funerals. Can we just stay on the subject? And, why do we have to make a big deal about some OTHER life event, for some OTHER person? Is this their party? Do we think that the birthday girl or boy is so immature as to feel left out?)

And at some family weddings I've been to, the family is so large , that the birthday/anniversary list goes on and on forever.

also, at most of the weddings I end up at, they're pretty big (my husband's large Yugoslavian familiy), and I'm often not that particularly close to any of the people mentioned who've passed away. And I just feel callous and shallow because, well, I don't feel much of anything when that "moment" comes--intellectually, it's sad they're not there to celebrate, but I'm not overcome w/ emotion, and I always feel as if I *should* be, but the fact is I'm not, so I end up convinced that I'm emotionally stunted.

I think the reason things like this are not already part of the marriage ceremony is that, well, it's just too hard. And, ceremonies are generally pretty focused and specific.

Also, where do you draw the line? There are thousands of people who've gone before us--I think that's why official "mourning" periods are usually a year long. Of course the people who loved someone, will always mourn them, but the rest of the world gets a pass on always mentioning them in hushed tones, etc., eventually. Eventually, life does go on. Are you only going to mention the ones who died in the last year? Or, only the ones important to the bride and groom? Or ....

But I agree w/ meghane--I think if you start mentioning people who have already died, then their mother should be mentioned. The only person who should have any "weird feeling" about, or objection to, her being mentioned would be YOU--and look, you think it's a fine idea. So who is to object?

I bet everyone else there will be really touched, and think it's neat that you value your stepsons' emotional history so much. And, it might be more noticeable if she's left out (even though 10 years is a long time), unless youa re perhaps only mentionoing someone *very* close to the bride or groom, who passed away quite recently (within the last 6 months).

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 10:51AM
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I agree with the other posters. I think you don't have to mention deceased relatives at all, and if you do, you don't have to list them all by name -- as Talley Sue astutely points out, you'd have line-drawing problems besides the one you anticipate -- but if you do, don't list so many that it gets oppressive, and don't omit the boys' mom. I think you all are off to a lovely start with your wonderful attitude about that, by the way!

If there will be a program, you can print something at the end like "We recall with love those who are no longer with us but whose memory we cherish and whose presence we feel with us today." I have seen that, sometimes with names of deceased parents and grandparents -- but not a long list. If you don't have a program, perhaps the officiant could sneak in a remark like that -- without any names -- at some point.

Best wishes to you all!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 5:39PM
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I don't much care for this custom of having a death memorial at a wedding. Have to agreee with Talley Sue - a wedding is a wedding and a funeral is a funeral. Let's keep them separate.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 6:36PM
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I agree with the above 3 posts - a wedding is not a place for a memorial service! I think it's a bit creepy. Please leave death memorials out of the ceremony. Keep the joyous ceremony for what it is.

An alternative, perhaps, is for you to make a toast in memory of your stepsons' mother - "I would like to honor the mother of my stepsons, she must have been a wonderful person, to have produced such sons", something like that. But keep it short and simple, don't go on and on.

Mary C.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 3:11PM
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I agree. Celebrate the wedding. Just the wedding. If you must do something, and I really hope you do not, gelchom's and Mary's suggestions are more than enough.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 2:25AM
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My fiance's father passed away 8 years ago and we're going to light a personalized candle by the cake table in his memory. Maybe if you are really set on doing something try that, but without the photo and inscriptions?

IMHO, I can see where you are coming from but however callous I may sound, the past is the past. Your wedding is to celebrate YOUR future with your husband, and bringing his first wife into the mix seems like it could cause a lot of emotional problems for you.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 12:26AM
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attended wedding where both bride/groom had been widowed. The clergyman mentioned each of their former spouses. It was wonderful, as all of us attending had known one of them &, of course, the former spouses were on the couples mind. Talk to the officient re: wording. Wish I could remember this clergyman words, but it was perfect, not awkward or memorial-ish

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 12:15PM
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I like the candle idea, maybe a small inscription on a nice card that states the purpose for the candle, setting it beside the guest book. That way all will see it and then everyone can honor those lost in a private way with their own thought or prayer.

Best Wishes!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 6:48PM
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We attended a wedding where their was no vocal mention of the deceased family members. Inside, on the last page of the wedding program there was a short paragraph saying that the floral arrangement on the left side altar was in memory of all family members who are deceased. Nicely done

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 8:43PM
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I may be tied with AuntJen for oldest bride but except for a wedding where the bride's Mom died months before the ceremony I can't recall where anybody made a big deal of the deceased family members at any of the many weddings I have gone to. For heaven's sake if they started mentioning deceased wives at some of the weddings I have gone to in the Senior Citizens complex my Mom lives in--and we drank a toast to them; nobody could drive home. I would go with the candle or the mention in the program--in general terms.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 11:57AM
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Well, I'm pretty late responding to this post, but I had to jump in. I don't think that it's weird at all to mention deceased family members in a wedding ceremony. In fact, that is a part of a normal Catholic wedding ceremony (and every Catholic service, for that matter).

In a Catholic wedding ceremony, prayers are said for the couple, for any sick family members who could not attend (by name), and for any deceased family members (again by name). Mentioning these family members is NOT for the general congregation who may or may not know these people. It has everything to do with honoring the feelings of those who WERE close to the deceased.

I would put the first wife's name in the program, along with the names of any other immediate family members on both sides who have died (mother, father, sibling, etc.). I would also ask the minister to say something during the ceremony. He or she will probably have a good idea of how to word it. You do not have to specify what your relationships are to any of these people. Those who didn't know the first wife won't think anything of it, and those who did will most likely be touched that she was recognized. After all, she was incredibly important to both your future husband and your stepsons, and she helped to make your fiance into the man that you love today. Good for you for wanting to recognize her!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 10:49PM
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