At weddings, offering a tribute to a person who has died must be done with respect and care in order to appropriately honor the person’s memory while maintaining the ceremony’s happy tone. To achieve this, John Lau, president of Toastmasters International (with chapters throughout the country), recommends a few do’s and don’ts when toasting those who have passed:
• Highlight the positive impact that a deceased family member, friend or mentor had on the couple.
• Prepare your words in advance.
• Relay a specific anecdote about how that person’s life impacted the couple.
• Turn the tribute into a eulogy that emphasizes the sadness of the person’s death.
• Say anything disrespectful or that may be perceived as offensive.
Honoring a grandparent or parent who has died doesn’t mean writing a formal speech or toast to that person. Meghan Clem, co-owner of Intertwined Events in Irvine, Calif., believes that as with all wedding details, “the rule of the thumb is to do what the bride and groom feel most comfortable with.” The most effective way might be to tailor the recognition of the individual’s memory to the couple’s personality and specific relationship to their loved one.
Clem suggests these ideas: Recite a special prayer at the ceremony, reserve a chair in the deceased person’s memory or display photos of him or her at the reception. For one wedding that her company created, cannolis were prepared with a family recipe and served at the reception in remembrance of the bride’s Italian grandmother who always made the dessert for family gatherings.
Distributed by MCT Information Services