How To Honor And Remember Your Loved Ones At Your Wedding
Remembering your loved ones at your wedding can be a memorable, significant, and cherished part of your special day. Marriage is one of the greatest joys and most exciting adventures of life. But when you’re planning it without someone you expected to be there, you might find your joy is mixed with sadness as well. The good news is that whether you’re running off to elope, throwing a party, or planning something in between, there are all sorts of ways to remember your loved ones at your wedding.
During the Wedding Planning
Remembering loved ones at your wedding starts when you begin to plan for your special day. This is because these suggestions take forethought and preparation. Here are several ideas to get you started with honoring loved ones at your wedding whether you’re preparing for a big bash or a simple wedding:
1. Include Their Memory In Your Wedding Program
If you plan on printing wedding programs, include a poem or message in your program along with the name or names of your deceased family members. Add wording such as “This poem is in tribute to our Mom who is smiling down on us today” or “In remembrance of our father who can’t be here today.”
2. Honor Them in the Seating Arrangements
Honoring deceased loved ones at your wedding doesn’t have to be complicated. One easy but profound method for honoring loved ones at a wedding is to reserve a seat in their honor. You can do this for ceremony seating, reception seating, or both.
Ensure the chair remains empty for your loved one by placing a picture of them and a single flower in the seat.
3. Incorporate their Memory In Your Non-Floral Decor
Incorporating a loved one’s memory into non-floral decor is an excellent way of remembering loved ones at a wedding and keeping their presence.
One option is to create commemorative signage. You can be as creative as you want to be, but general ideas include incorporating their picture and name, dates, a special bit of wisdom they passed down to you, and the words “In remembrance” so guests understand your sign is a tribute to a loved one.
If you don’t want to create signage, consider setting up a memorial table, instead, when honoring loved ones at your wedding. For this, you’ll want to set aside a small table somewhere in the reception hall. Arrange special framed photos of your loved one, mementos, and other things that’ll help you remember them.
Both of these options are excellent for honoring loved ones at a wedding while giving your guests an opportunity to pay their respects, as well.
4. Incorporate Their Memory in Your Floral Decor
One unique way to honor loved ones at a wedding is by representing their life, memory, and presence in your bridal bouquet or floral decor. There are several ways you can go about this.
First, depending on the colors of your bridal bouquet, you might decide to incorporate a single white flower to represent their memory. If you already have white in your bridal bouquet, then choose a different but distinct color not included in your bouquet so the flower subtly stands out as a reminder of your loved one.
You could also create a floral arrangement specifically dedicated to the honor of your loved one. Ideas for this include creating a bouquet with white roses for family members or friends who passed away or creating a bouquet of your loved one’s favorite flowers. Plan on placing this special bouquet anywhere you’d like to see it such as the card table or the bride and groom table.
Remembering Loved Ones At Your Wedding Ceremony
These ceremony-specific methods for remembering loved ones at your wedding are sure to help you keep their memory close.
5. Create Something In Their Honor
Are you the creative type? Perhaps you’re a poet and you can create a beautiful verse or two in honor of your loved ones. Maybe you’re a singer or songwriter and you can come up with a song to sing or play in their honor.
Songs can be sung or played while the bride walks down the aisle, if appropriate, and poems can be read as part of the ceremony. When you create something special in your loved one’s honor, the options are limitless for incorporating their memory into your wedding.
6. Incorporate Their Memory Into Ceremony Traditions
There are many ways for remembering loved ones at your wedding by slightly altering traditions that many already incorporate into the ceremony.
One idea is to light a memorial candle. Many couples have a candle lighting ceremony that represents two lives becoming one. A twist on this ceremony is to light candles that represent loved ones or your family members in addition to the candle that represents you as a married couple.
You could also incorporate their memory into your vows. What did your loved one think about your new bride or groom? Was there something they especially loved about her or him? Consider adding a line or two about how much your relative loved your bride or groom and how excited they were about your marriage.
A third idea is to create a piece of sand art. Sand art is often used as a “unity ceremony” to represent the blending of two families. Rather than only using one color each to represent the bride and groom, consider adding in other colors of sand to represent each family or even specific family members who have passed away.
7. Create A New Tradition In Their Honor
Here’s a new take on an old tradition for honoring deceased loved ones at your wedding. In a “ring warming” ceremony, family members and friends of the bride and groom will hold the wedding rings before they’re exchanged during the vows. When family members and loved ones hold the rings, they “warm” them with their love and wishes. To honor a loved one who has died, you can place the rings in a special decorative box they owned so they can take part in this tradition.
8. Wear Something Special
Is there anything from your mom, grandmother, or mother-in-law that you can wear or take with you on your special day? If you’re a bride, perhaps you can choose to wear a special piece of her jewelry or even her wedding dress, if appropriate.
For grooms, an option is to take a piece of your loved one’s clothing and sew it into a handkerchief or pocket square. Generally, pocket squares get tucked into the breast pocket in your suit and are seen. Handkerchiefs, on the other hand, don’t have to get seen but can be carried with you during your special day.
You can craft a handkerchief or pocket square from a piece of clothing, such as a dress, dress shirt, dress tie, or even a special blanket. This is an excellent way to honor a deceased father at your wedding.
Finally, you might consider wearing your loved one’s watch or cufflinks. These items can often seamlessly fit in with the outfit you plan on wearing during your special day.
No matter how you choose to incorporate an item that belonged to your loved one, you’re sure to feel their presence with you.
9. Incorporate A Special Item In Your Bridal Bouquet
Many couples dream of their marriage ceremony, but planning such an important event without your loved ones can be difficult. One option of remembering their presence is by incorporating a personal memento into your bouquet.
You can use any special souvenir, such as a piece of lace from your grandmother’s wedding dress, a photo of your mother in a locket, or a special necklace you inherited. You can also use a piece of ribbon, lace, or fabric from a project your loved one was working on to wrap the stems of the bouquet.
During The Reception
The reception is a perfect time for remembering loved ones at your wedding. Here are several things you can do:
10. Incorporate Their Memory Into The Toast Or Cake Cutting
For a unique way to incorporate your loved one’s memory into the reception, use your loved one’s cake cutting knife from their wedding to cut your own cake. You could also use the same glasses they toasted with for your own wedding toast.
If you don’t have these implements, consider toasting to their memory during the reception, instead. When you do, you can share a special memory, a funny anecdote, or a piece of advice that’s applicable to marriage or your wedding day.
11. Invite Others to Honor Their Loved Ones
Many brides and grooms have friends and family members who also lost loved ones. Consider inviting others to share in remembering loved ones at your wedding by placing tealight candles around reception tables and encouraging your guests to light them in honor of their loved ones.
12. Create A Short Photo Slideshow For The Reception
If you have several members of your family who can’t be with you because they recently passed away, consider putting together a short slideshow of photos. You can play this while everyone watches or you can simply have it play in the background during events.
13. Hold A Time Of Remembrance
This may not be the right option for everyone, but you may choose to observe a moment of remembrance for those who couldn’t be with you on your special day. You can do this as a couple during your ceremony or do this as a group with guests during your reception. If everyone knew your loved one, holding a moment of remembrance with your guests might be appropriate.
During Your Marriage
Just because the ceremony’s over doesn’t mean the opportunities for remembrance stop. Here are two ways for remembering loved ones at your wedding and on into your marriage:
14. Donate To A Cause They Loved
Whether you have a big or small wedding, you’ll probably receive monetary gifts from your guests. Consider donating some of the money you receive to your loved one’s favorite charity or cause. This is a great way for remembering loved ones at a wedding that goes beyond the day of your celebration.
15. Incorporate Their Memory Into Your Menu
Taste and smell always evoke strong memories. Did your loved one enjoy a favorite drink or create a special dish? Incorporate those items into your married meal planning menu.
If they had a favorite drink and you drink as well, consider keeping their favorite drink on hand to occasionally remember them and toast them with. If you remember a favorite dish they made, ask around for the heirloom recipe and incorporate it into your own family meals.
Honor Your Loved Ones at Your Wedding
Remembering loved ones at your wedding can be beautiful and touching. Choose an idea or two that mean the most to you as you seek to bring their memory into your special day. The options for honoring a loved one are nearly limitless and how you choose to honor the memory of someone special to you is entirely up to you.
Sherrie is a writer at JoinCake.com, an end-of-life planning website with free resources and information on how to estate plan and honor loved ones’ final wishes.
Wedding Hashers has industry experts who share their tips with you for free! Sign up to have their wedding expertise delivered right to you.