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My wedding planning journey: This seat is saved

15 Sep 2020

Bride-to-be Ashleigh Tuttle shares how she will remember loved ones who have passed away on her wedding day 

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Many of us will have lost someone very important to us in our lives and want to find the most unique and special way to remember them on our wedding day. Whether it be a charm, a reading or even donations to charity, these people will always be included. 

For me, there are two very special people in my life that I couldn’t have my day without. 

My nan died when I was a week away from my 18th birthday. She bought me a balloon in advance, which I received on the day as well as the film One Day which I still can’t watch without thinking of her.  

wedding-planning-journey-this-seat-is-saved-3Ashleigh with her nan

She was a huge presence in my family’s life, celebrating every event, coming along on holiday with us and just bringing the whole family together. When she died, it was like a piece of me went missing with her. She succumbed to cancer in July 2012, and we miss her every day. It still really pains me that I never got to tell her I was accepted into university, and that she never got to meet my fiancé John. She was Irish, and a big reason we’ve gone for the green theme is to honour my heritage, which I inherited from her (and my grandad of course), as well as a few Irish songs we are going to have incorporated into the day. 

The other person whose absence will be felt greatly is my sister Kirsty. Kirsty was stillborn two years before I was born, and although I love my brother and my other two sisters very much, I have always yearned for the sister I never got to know. How different would my life have been had she been here? 

We might not have got on. But I don’t really believe that. I like to think we would have been very close, and she would have been my best friend. There are so many scenarios you can imagine in your head, with what ifs and whys, but I try not to do that. She’s always here with me, if not in person then certainly in spirit.  

She would have been my ninth bridesmaid, and I would have dragged her to everything. To all the dress fittings, the cake tastings, the hair and make-up trials, the lot. I hate that she’s not here with me, and can’t tell me to shut up talking about wedding planning. 

So how will I honour these two amazing, important people in my life? Well, I’ve decided to do a few things. 

My mum is going to read a poem read at my nan’s funeral, The Life That I Have by Leo Marks. We are also going to have a memorial ladder that will pay tribute to those we’ve lost, also including John’s uncle Del, and his grandads. We are going to leave a seat at the front of the ceremony reserved for those that could not be with us on our special day, but are looking down from heaven. 

wedding-planning-journey-this-seat-is-saved-2Ashleigh will lay her bouquet on her sister Kirsty's grave

So in my heart she knows she is my honorary bridesmaid, I am placing my bouquet on Kirsty’s grave. I have always envisioned doing the bouquet toss, but this to me is much more important. It’s all I can give her, and this way I know she will be incorporated. I know she and nan will be there, looking down on us and smiling from heaven.  


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