3 Ways To Honor Lost Loved Ones At Your Wedding

Weddings are a time to honor the people who matter most. Sadly, sometimes one or more of those people have departed, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be part of your wedding celebration.

How to honor those who can not be at your wedding

I was very close with my grandparents on both sides, but lost three of them when I was young. At my wedding, I wanted to remember them fondly—to celebrate them as much as possible. I know they would have been so proud. I also wanted to honor my remaining grandparent—the last of her generation in our family. It was a very emotional day for her since it brought back so many memories of her own wedding and of her 52-year-long happy marriage. But she was so pleased that my grandfather could be there in spirit and that the whole banquet hall full of guests honored him on that special day. Here are some ideas for honoring departed loved ones at your wedding:

1. Save A Seat For Them

seats reserved for deceased family at a wedding

Setting a place for lost loved ones is an ancient tradition. It’s more than a memorial—it’s a way of incorporating the person into a daily routine. At a wedding, a remembrance seat at the ceremony or an extra place setting at the reception represents your love and your respect. It gives your family a place to look, to focus their memories. It also gives you a place to set up memorial photographs. Pick happy photographs: images that embody the spirit of your loved ones. At my wedding, I chose photographs of my grandparents laughing with me as a baby. It was hard not to get choked up looking at them.

2. Include A Reading To Express Your Love

include a reading in your ceremony to remember those who can not be there

Readings are a great opportunity to express your feelings about your absent family and friends. Choose readings that remind you of the person or that illustrate something personal and special about your relationship with them. I read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to honor my grandfather who always cared so much more about my happiness than his own. It also honored his eco-friendly spirit—he was a longtime conservationist and nature lover (that’s probably where I got it from.)

3. Emblematic Objects

Include lockets with pictures of family members who have passed on in your weddi

One of the great things about living in such a materialistic culture is that we all leave objects behind. I have a whole box full of keepsakes from each of my grandparents that I used to create a little memorial display near my gift table. I organized the objects around a photograph of each relative so my guests would understand what it all meant. Having the physical materials right there made it feel more like my loved ones were watching over me. A lot of brides attach lockets to their wedding bouquets as well with pictures of the departed so they can literally walk down the aisle with them. Both ideas are great ways to bring the spirit of those you have loved and lost to your big day. 

Images: 1/2/3/4

Contributed by Anni M. 

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