Honoring my Grandmothers

Since I have done a lot of research on German wedding traditions, I thought it was appropriate to search for traditions from the South. I am nowhere near finished compiling them, but I just stumbled upon one that makes my heart ache.

“A deep connection with family, especially symbolically, then continues through the wedding. The classic Southern bride wants to honor her family with special remembrances such as incorporating flowers that her grandmother had chosen for her own bouquet.” (source)

I started tearing up almost immediately after reading that. Neither of my grandmothers will be able to attend the wedding. My paternal grandmother passed away in 2004 from pancreatic cancer, and my maternal grandmother has very advanced Alzheimer’s. I’ve begged that she be able to come, but it’s not possible given her health condition. The fact that neither will be there is a fact that is hard for me to stomach, especially given that my maternal grandmother is still alive.

That is why this tradition struck me so significantly. I need and want to honor both of them, and thought that having one flower for each that they used in their bouquets in my bouquet would be a wonderful way to honor them.

Now here comes a roadblock– My maternal grandparents were too poor to have a wedding, and we are trying to hunt down photos from my paternal grandmother’s wedding to see what flowers she had. The family sleuths are on the mission, but until then, I think I may have two very good substitutions.

My maternal grandmother’s favorite song, and flower, is The Yellow Rose of Texas. She has always fancied herself as the yellow rose of Texas, and loves, loves, loves, loves, loves yellow roses. It is always the flower I buy her, and she never ceases to be less than overjoyed by yellow roses, even now.


To honor her, I can add in a single yellow rose to my bouquet, which would work well because of the wild bouquet that I’m going for. (More on that later!)

My paternal grandmother’s name was Hazel. Hot damn, that’s an actual plant! Off I trotted to see what it looked like in the wild. Basically, we’ve got sticks, some occasional flowers, and nuts.



So the flowers aren’t much to look at, and I’m not sure how we would even get ahold of them, since they bloom in the early spring, or so my research tells me! I think the absolute coolest thing to do with the hazel-stuff would be to use the nuts. I could take the nuts, dremel/drill a hole through a few, and then either have them sticking out of my bouquet, or string a few onto it. Trust me, it will look super cool.

Another amazing thing that I can and will do to honor them both is to affix an old locket to my bouquet with both of of their pictures in it. My mother actually already has a locket with both of their photos in it, so there you go! Also, that would take care of my “something old” for the wedding.

How are you honoring your grandmothers, both alive and deceased? Has anyone else considered using their grandmothers’ flowers as their own flowers, or one of each in their bouquet?

show hide 5 comments

YoMotherDecember 12, 2009 - 12:28 pm

This is the sweetest idea ever, Lauren! It’s just one of the many reasons that everyone adores you.

CeCeDecember 12, 2009 - 11:39 pm

You just made me cry. I think that both ideas are a lovely way to honor your grandmothers… and if you ever need to share a shoulder with someone who’s walked a very similar path I’m here for ya. Very, very sweet ideas.

AlishaDecember 13, 2009 - 11:46 am

What a great idea, Lauren! Keep ‘em coming, I’m loving following you along your journey!

LaurenDecember 14, 2009 - 12:21 pm

@CeCe- Thank you so much. It’s a hard one to be on. :-/

@Alisha- Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. :p (And I’m glad I’m not too crazy or boring, or at least I assume that given that you’re loving following it. lol).

thewatergirlDecember 23, 2009 - 1:30 pm

My cousin’s wife did something similar to the locket thing. She had pictures in tiny little frames pinned on her bouquet all along the ribbon. In each frame was a picture of someone our family or hers had lost. You couldn’t really see them, but she knew they were there and the photographer took some amazing pictures.
I haven’t quite decided what I am going to do to honor our loved ones, but I know for sure I’m going to have flowers on the altar and a line from my sorority’s creed on the back of my program with a list of names. The line is “to keep forever sacred the memory of those we have loved and lost.” This may be all I do because, unfortunately, I’ve lost a lot of people from my family and I don’t want to single out one or two when they all meant so much to me. I suspect my fiance feels the same way. All told, I’ve lost 3 uncles, an aunt, a cousin and two grandparents. He’s lost an uncle, a grandmother, two step grandfathers, and all four great-grandparents (I never knew mine). We were close to all of these people, I can’t figure out a good way to honor all of them without making our day about grief instead of joy.

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