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  • Writer's pictureLisa Siembab

Absent Friends or Friends that are Absent?

When planning ceremonies it is quite usual for people to want to mention those that cannot make the ceremony. For some this can mean those that are no longer living and for others simply those that cannot attend the ceremony that day.

This can be an awkward issue for couples to negotiate. If they are people that cannot make the ceremony that day as, maybe they are on holiday or they are housebound, that is a little easier to deal with. A paragraph can be included that references the Groom’s Grandma, for example, who is unable to attend as she is not well enough. It is sad but at least she will be able to see the photos and see her Grandson as a married man. However, where do you draw the line? Should the couple make reference to Great Auntie Flossie who cannot make it as she is having her gall stones removed that day? Well that is up to the couple themselves to decide on who is required to be mentioned. Often it will not be their decision as other family members may want them mentioned. No-one said getting married was easy and not like walking a tightrope did they?!

However, if it is someone who cannot make the ceremony as they are no longer living this can make things a little awkward as the last thing a couple would want is people wailing as they make their vows and for themselves to be become upset by that. Happy, emotional tears we want, wailing…not so much! So how should people deal with this?

Celebrants are accustomed to dealing with this issue and can come up with lots of ways in which an absent friend can be included without making it the focus of the entire ceremony. Often families of the couple will want some way of acknowledging a missing family member or a close family friend as on these types of occasions their presence is more acutely felt. Ways we have seen are having a photograph of the person on the ceremony table, including them in the order of service, a very short mention of their name in the ceremony, a lit candle on the ceremony table, the use of their favourite colour as part of the colour scheme and their favourite poem as part of the ceremony.

When you sit down with your Celebrant to plan your ceremony these are all things that he or she will ask you to consider and they may suggest you include in their ceremony. Celebrants are skilled in writing scripts in a way that promotes happy thoughts rather than sad ones! It is worth noting that with a Registrar this is often not a consideration.

So whether they are absent friends or friends that are absent if you do want them remembered as part of your day you need to discuss this with your Celebrant and find the right way to do this without it causing anxiety or stress. After all surely the wedding planning process is stressful enough!

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