Cate Edwards' Wedding May Honor Mother Elizabeth in Beautiful Way

weddingCate Edwards, daughter of former politician John Edwards and his late wife Elizabeth, is set to marry her college beau, Dr. Trevor Upham, this Saturday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. And although the church ceremony, reception (which will have a "rustic romantic" theme and be held on the sprawling 100-acre family estate), and after-party will undoubtedly be a happy affair -- as weddings tend to be -- this celebration will also come with more than a hint of sadness.

You may recall that Cate's mom, Elizabeth, died of breast cancer two weeks after her daughter got engaged. (Cate says her mom had time to weigh in on the wedding planning, which is just lovely. And yes, Cate's dad, despite his infamous marital transgressions, will walk her down the aisle.)

All of this raises the question: How do you honor the memory of a parent (or grandparent or other special person) on your wedding day?

Here are a few ideas, one of them inspired by Cate's own plans:


1. Support a cause that evokes the parent's memory: Cate and her fiance have requested that guests, in lieu of gifts, donate to the foundation she launched in her mother's memory, the Elizabeth Edwards Foundation, which will provide mentors to disadvantaged students. (Do you really need two waffle-makers and four crystal punch bowls?)

2. Keep images in mind: Set up a table at the reception with photos of the parent on it. It doesn't have to be macabre; these can also be part of a table with other family photos.

3. Include a line honoring the parent in the ceremony: "Today, on this happy occasion, we honor those who could not be with us ... " That sort of thing. You may even want to light a candle or have someone read a poem or passage in their honor.

4. Wear or carry something evocative: Your grandmother's earrings, your dad's handkerchief, the same sort of flowers your mom carried at her wedding.

5. Play a special song: Did your mom have a favorite show tune? Did your dad like to whistle to a particular ditty? Play it at the reception. Dance a special dance in your parent's memory. Music evokes memories in a particularly meaningful way.

Did you honor the memory of a parent at your wedding in a special way?


Image via Grand Velas Riviera Maya/Flickr

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