4 Ways to Honor The People Who Can’t Be There

Honoring the departed on your wedding

Image source: Liweddings.com

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


Set a Place for Them

Holiday inspired table setup

Image source: Onewed.com

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 place setting 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.


Include a Reading to Express Your Love

Wedding reading

Image source: English-wedding.com

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. 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.)


Emblematic Objects

Old photograph decoration

Image source: Etsy.com, seller Glassrealm

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. Etsy seller Glassrealm sells handmade photo emblems you can incorporate into your bouquet to carry your loved one with you wherever you go.



 Read more green wedding blogs

The Green Bride Guide has everything you need to plan a real green wedding. We've got a site full of inspiration -- from real wedding stories to eco-friendly wedding day items to organic gifts -- and offer the largest green wedding directory in the country!