how to honor lost loved ones at a wedding

How to Honor Lost Loved Ones at a Wedding: 6 Meaningful Ways

Filed in Wedding — August 6, 2021


First of all, I want to say I’m so sorry for your loss. The fact that you’re reading this article probably means you’ve lost someone close to you. Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life! This makes it hard to imagine spending it without someone you were close with.

I’m hoping to help you as you search for the right way to honor your lost loved one on your wedding day, whether that be through this blog post or as your photographer.

I lost my sister months before getting engaged and struggled knowing that it wasn’t possible for me to have a photo of my whole family at my wedding. I wanted to include her in our celebration in a way that kept the day about the love between my husband and I, but also acknowledged that our guest list wasn’t complete without a piece of her there.

Many couples find creative yet tasteful ways to honor their lost loved ones at their wedding. The decision to honor your deceased loved ones at your wedding is incredibly personal. It’s okay to make it either public or private.

how to honor lost loved ones at a wedding

Honoring your lost loved ones is an idea that’s worth putting a lot of thought into. You don’t want your wedding to be a funeral; rather you want to memorialize the people that you wish could celebrate alongside you! A lot of couples honor their lost loved ones with a dedicated moment, gesture, or object that draws attention to their memory. Here are a few ideas to help get you started!

1. Save a Seat in Your Ceremony

In the front row of your ceremony, dedicate a chair to your lost loved one. I’ve seen couples place a framed photo on their chair with an item that belonged to the deceased loved one, or simply have their name printed on a “reserved” or “in memory of” sign. You could also place their favorite flower or a sign on the chair. This helps you imagine them sitting in the crowd, watching you make your vows to the love of your life, and brings their presence to one of the most special parts of the day.

reserved sear

2. Incorporate Photos of Them

I’ve also seen photos of lost loved ones at weddings, usually on a designated table in your reception, or near your ceremony site. If you want to recognize the family that’s present for your wedding day, you can have a table of family photos, and include photos of the deceased among those! You can also include a framed portrait of your lost loved one in your family picture time. 

how to honor lost loved ones at a wedding

3. Customized Photo Bouquet Pendants or Ash Pendants

Many brides may also choose to attach a photo pendant to their bouquet. If you’re interested in something a little more unique, you could also order an ash pendant. Either option is a sweet, super personalized way to show that your loved one is with you every step of the way.

After the loss of my sister, I honored her by attaching a customized ash pendant to my bouquet on the day of my wedding. I also made an ash pendant for my dad’s boutonniere. This was such a treasured memento for my wedding day that I decided to help others keep their lost loved ones close.

how to honor lost loved ones at a wedding

So I decided to create custom ash memorial wedding bouquet charms. These can be tied closely to your blooms or hung by a longer string, which is my personal favorite way. To learn more about the process or to inquire about ordering one, visit my Etsy shop here

I hope these bouquet charms bring comfort and joy to family members on wedding days.

4. Incorporate Their Items

You could also incorporate a significant item from your lost loved one to honor them at your wedding. See if they have jewelry you can wear that’s been kept after their passing, like a special ring or necklace.

If there’s something that reminds you of them, get creative with ways to include it in your memorial. For example, use sheet music of their favorite song in your decorations, bouquets, or boutonnieres somehow. 

how to honor lost loved ones at a wedding

If your grandma had a special handkerchief, have it sewn into your dress where only you can see it. Or put your mom’s favorite flowers into your bouquet. This item can be as big or as small as you want!

5. A Moment of Silence or a Song

During your wedding ceremony or reception, you can dedicate some time to your lost loved ones in a couple of different ways. I’ve seen couples play a song that meant a lot to the person they were honoring, or it’s also common to have a moment of silence to honor your lost loved ones.

If you’re religious, you can prompt your guests to pray during this moment of silence. Or ask them to simply reflect on how much your lost loved one meant to them or the role they played in your life as a couple. 

Bubolz nature preserve wedding

Either way, this is a beautiful time to reflect on your memories with them and remember what they meant to you.

6. Light a Candle

Another way to honor your lost loved one is to simply light a candle for them and display it during your reception or ceremony. 

This is a classy, simple, and beautiful way to honor their memory. They were a light in your life and that light still lives within you, especially on your wedding day.

P.S. – Make sure you check with your venue to see if they allow open flame!

how to honor lost loved ones at a wedding

Whether it’s as simple as a note in your program or obvious as wearing your mom’s veil, the way you honor your lost loved one is so special. It’s significant because it’s personal to you and helps you feel close to them!

Lastly, remember to tell your photographer about your lost loved one, and the way you want to honor them. It’s their job to capture these special details, plus they want to support you the best way they can! I promise you’ll cherish those photos so much when you reflect on your wedding day.

lost loved ones

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