When Kait Olidis lost her father to cancer in 2015, she knew she wanted to honor him in a special way. So, she saved some of the roses that his beloved friends and family brought to his funeral, and kept them for just the right moment.
“They stayed tucked away until I figured that I wanted to incorporate them in my wedding,” Olidis, 28, tells PEOPLE. “Confetti is kind of one thing that’s a lot of fun during weddings when people are coming back down the aisle, so with all the rose petals that we did have, I thought it would be special to have them thrown at us.”
A little more than two years after her father, Jim, died, Olidis and her now-husband Benett wed on Aug. 26, 2017, at a picturesque Canadian hotel resort. As they walked down the aisle as husband and wife, about 100 friends and family members showered them with the flower petals.
“That was definitely a really, really special moment. I kind of felt his presence even more because that was part of him, his favorite flowers. They also had been saved from his service so a lot of emotions were running through that day. Olidis, of Toronto, tells PEOPLE.
“It’s one thing walking back down the aisle as newly pronounced husband and wife and you’re excited in that aspect too. The flowers kind of added a touch.”
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Photos from the ceremony showed Olidis and Benett sporting wide smiles as they walked down the aisle hand-in-hand. The bride says she also honored her father in other ways at the wedding.
“We had little memory charms with his photo on each of our bouquets, mine including my bridesmaids and my mom had one,” she says. “My husband had one … we all had a little memory charm on our bouquets or corsages. There were photos put up throughout. We had saved him a seat as well.”
The sign on Jim’s empty seat read: “I’m in heaven for your wedding, so what shall I do? I’ll come down to earth to spend it with you. So save me a seat just one empty chair. You may not see me but I will be there.”
Olidis and Benett have been together for nine years, with Benett proposing to her just months after her father died. She says Benett and her father had a great relationship, and Jim loved them as a couple.
As for Olidis, she says she misses her father’s “big, contagious smile” most of all.
“He was a great dad. We had a pretty close family growing up and everyone was a part of it, in terms of friends as well. He had a big impact on not only our life, but my friends’ as well,” she tells PEOPLE.
“There have been a lot of life events that have happened since he’s been gone. [I’m going to miss] him being here.”