In Memoriam: Honoring Loved Ones Who’ve Passed Away


Sometimes, a really important person can’t physically be at your wedding. If that’s the case for you, consider honoring their spirit and the special relationship you shared with them at your wedding. Love and loss are so closely intertwined and remembering them will pay homage to ways they made you the person you are today.

  Carry them with you

If your loved one had a favorite flower or color, think about incorporating either one into your bouquet. You can also get a small, classic photo charm to attach to your bouquet so you can see their face as you get ready in the morning. Similarly, you might think about wearing a piece of their jewelry or having their name or a heart sewn into your wedding gown. Whatever you decide, they will be with you every step down that aisle.

Reserve a seat

A touching way to pay tribute to those who’ve gone before is to reserve a seat for them in the front row. You can do something as simple as placing a small bouquet onto an aisle chair or you can place a framed blown-up photo of them on the seat (black and white is elegant and timeless). Alternatively, you can use a small sign that says, “Reserved in Loving Memory of _____” or tie a ribbon to the back of the chair. They hold a very special place in your heart so it only makes sense to give them a special place at your wedding.

Create a tribute 

You can group favorite photos of your loved one (this option also works well if there are multiple people who you are honoring) on a small table or beautiful furnishing at the entrance of your ceremony site. Adorn it with flowers and candles and place a small framed sign that says who they were and maybe include a precious memory you have with them. By placing it at the entrance of your ceremony site, you can take a moment to look at their photos and tell them that you love them before you walk down the aisle. Nothing will replace having them there in person but this will give you a moment to remember the times you shared with them.

Include your loved one in the ceremony

Did your loved one have a favorite love poem or scripture? Set aside time in the ceremony to have it read by a close friend, relative, or the officiant. Before they read it, they can explain where it is from and why it is being read. Additionally, you can mention them in your program. If the loved one was a friend or sister, you can even list them in your bridal party with the note, “In Loving Memory,” by their name. You can also simply place a line about them that says you wish they were here on a blank program page with a small photo. This way, they’ll be honored in words as well as your heart.

At the reception

There are many ways to memorialize a deceased loved one at your reception. You can have your grandpa or father’s father whiskey or beer served at the bar with a note inviting guests to toast in their memory. You can include a favorite song in your playlist and have the DJ announce it before playing it or have a memorial candle burning at the name-card table. You can also have a close friend or relative give a toast in their memory and, if your reception is outdoors, you might consider releasing balloons or a paper lantern, one for each person that you are remembering.

When it comes to honoring a loved one, do whatever feels right to you and your relationship with them. No matter if your gesture is big or small, they will be there with you. 


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