For many little girls, their wedding day is one of the most dreamed-about day of their lives.
Exchanging vows, the perfect dress, happy people, dancing and of course, walking down the aisle linked arm-in-arm with Dad.
But when Kait Olidis got engaged to her now-husband Benett, she knew her wonderful dad Jim wouldn’t be with her on their big day.
Jim had died after a brave battle with cancer, two years before Kait’s long-term boyfriend Benett had proposed.
To keep Jim’s memory alive, Kait had saved some of the roses, her dad’s favourite flowers, that his friends and family brought to his funeral. And Jim’s funeral flowers were turned into beautiful confetti for her wedding day.
I felt Dad's presence
As the newly-weds walked down the aisle, Kait and Benett’s friends and family members showered them with the flower petals, which had so much significance attached to them.
It was a perfect idea, Kait’s proud mum, Cathy, told ABC News.
“All of those flowers were sent to Jim’s funeral from the love of family and friends and now that same love got thrown back at them.”
“It was definitely a really, really special moment. I kind of felt his presence even more because that was part of him, his favorite flowers” Kait explained in People magazine.
Bride Lisa Simkin from Nottingham was also greatly missing her dad, as her wedding day approached. But her wedding to fiance Jim was made incredibly special, when she was walked down the aisle by John Moffat, whose daughter Rhona had given Lisa the gift of life.
Organ donor Rhona had died from a brain haemorrhage and Lisa had received her lungs in a life-saving operation.
She later met with John and Rhona’s mum, Jane and the families formed a bond, thanks to Rhona’s incredible gift.
When Lisa got engaged to Jim, she couldn’t think of anyone she’d rather walk her down the aisle than John.
It was a beautiful and bonding day that Rhona’s memory was an incredibly special part of.
Jane told The Mirror that the day had been emotional, but beautiful: “I would have never have missed it for the world. It was very emotional for John as well but he loved it.
“It was devastating when we lost Rhona. This offers us some comfort, to see what her gift gave to Lisa.”
Emily Darbey was only eight when her dad, Todd Excell, died from cancer. Three weeks before he died in 2001, he wrote his young daughter a beautiful letter, for be read on her wedding day.
You are my heart and soul and always will be.
The new bride and husband Shakeal fought back tears and also laughed with joy, as Emily’s uncle Peter read aloud from the letter Todd had written his little girl at the New York wedding in October 2016.
“You are my heart and soul and always will be.” Todd told Emily.
“I love you, Emily. I know I would love your new husband. To your new husband, I will be walking with you, too.
“Welcome to the family, I love you,” Todd added to the son-in-law that he would never meet.
“Treat her like a princess and the queen she will be.”
Here are some beautiful ideas, to make the memory of someone you loved a special part of your own wedding day.
##A tribute in the wedding’s order of service
Dedicating a part of the order of service or wedding programme to remember someone special, is a lovely touch. Include a photo, their favourite sayings and reflections on how happy they would have been to share the day.
##Include a special flower in your wedding bouquet
A favourite flower may remind you of a special loved one, while there are also many beautiful remembrance roses, such as Mum in a Million, My Lovely Dad and Never Forgotten that could be a perfect pick for a bouquet and buttonholes. which could be used in your bouquet on your special day.
Or be inspired by the beautiful language of flowers, to express sweet sentiments. The romantic and sentimental Victorians gave special meanings to flowers, such as the pink carnation, which means “I will never forget you.”
##Wear something that once belonged to them
Something old, something new... An heirloom ring, locket with their photo or piece of memorial jewellery is a beautiful way to keep the memory of someone close to your heart, on your wedding day.
Beautiful bride Madison Kantzer got married in a stunning vintage gown that had belonged to her grandma Adel, saying that the opportunity had included her memory in a very meaningful way.
In some families, it’s become tradition to hand down a wedding dress through the generations, while the memory of angel babies has led many brides to donate their beautiful wedding dresses to make Cherished Gowns for babies born sleeping.
Set out place for them
Some brides and grooms include photos that tell the story of their lives, as part of the reception. You might want to create a special sanctuary with a framed photo of your loved one where guests can see it.
Other people reserve a seat at the wedding venue or reception table with a photo of the person, or a flower in remembrance, to include their memory in the happy day. A lit candle is another special gesture to consider.
##Toast their memory
Raise a glass of bubbly and drink to their memory, with a toast.
The wedding speeches are another opportunity to pay tribute to their memory and reflect on how proud and happy they would have been.
Play their song
Play a tune that gets everyone dad-dancing in memory, or a favourite song with a chorus everyone can join in and sing along to.
Donations in their memory
Set up a charitable giving page in lieu of wedding gifts, to raise money for a good cause that was close to their heart.