(Not trying to be a Debbie Downer with this post—bear with me; it gets better.)
Early in our engagement, Mr. P’s grandmother passed away, followed a year later by his grandfather. Finding a way to honor loved ones who are no longer with us became a priority. I suggested a photo display of portraits and weddings to Mr. P, and he thought it was a lovely idea.
A few weeks ago, I had an ah-ha moment. Our photo table will have an extra layer of detail and sentimentality. (We’re determined to make our guests cry…) For each grandmother that has passed, a single bloom of her favorite flower will be interspersed amongst the photos with a tent card explaining the significance.
My great-grandmother, Granny Greene, loved pink peonies (“panhk” with her Southern accent), which grew in abundance around her Arkansas home. When she passed, my mother transplanted a small bush to our West Virginia home. The peony bush is still there, over 15 years later. It blooms in early June. Our wedding is in early June. Huh! Hello, ah-ha moment! In a perfect world, my parents would bring Granny Greene’s peonies to the wedding. In a not-so-perfect world, I’ll ask our florist for a similar pink double peony or simply frame one of my photos.
Mom’s peony bush in July 2001
Peonies represent healing, life, and happy marriage.
My mom’s family has a green thumb that can be traced back to Granny Greene (interesting green/Greene coincidence). All of the women love to garden, and it’s been our common bond as we plow, weed, and harvest together. For our family, I can think of no better way to honor my great-grandmother than with her peonies.
My great-grandparents with me, 1982
Three generations of ladies
I’m fairly certain they’re laughing at my likeness to the Michelin Man.
My father’s parents are no longer with us. To honor MémÃ¨re (French for grandmother), we’ll set out a potted pansy. (Pansy is also my Granny Greene’s middle name. Enough with the coincidences!) In the pot, I’d like to hide a tiny elephant with its trunk held up (good luck) as a further nod to her.
Pansies represent thoughtful recollection—rather appropriate. (source)
Dad, his aunt, MémÃ¨re, me, and Mom (1983)
And then there’s Mr. P’s grandparents, seen here at their 1941 wedding. She’s carrying a bouquet of calla lilies and baby’s breath.
Calla lilies represent majestic beauty; baby’s breath, happiness. (source)
(all personal photos unless otherwise noted)
How are you honoring your family members?