Celebrating your wedding is such an exciting time, it is filled with emotions and feelings. But it can come with even more emotions when someone you love isn’t present on that special day. No matter how long it has been since a loved one has passed, when your wedding draws nearer, you can feel the pain of that loss even more.
While they can’t be there in person, there are many ways to remember friends and family members who have been lost, on your big day.
Ways to remember your loved ones during the ceremony
- Leave a chair open- One of the most common ways to remember a loved one during a ceremony is to leave a chair open for them to honor their memory.
- Have a memorial candle- Whether you light a candle during the ceremony or have a flameless candle burning for them during the day, lighting a candle is a great way to have their light shine on your special day.
- Wearing their photos- Placing a photo in a locket or some other keepsake can be a great way to keep them near. Whether you pin them onto a suit or add them to your bouquet, adding your loved ones’ photos is a special way to keep them close.
Photography: Shannon Cronin Photography @shannoncronin
- Add something to your dress- If you lost a loved one to cancer, you can add a ribbon to your bouquet or even have it sewn on the inside of your dress to honor them. You could also have something handwritten sewn into the dress. I have also had couples’ take fabric from a favorite shirt or dress and sew it to the inside of the dress or suit as a piece of their loved one being with them.
- Read a letter from them- If your loved one left a special note for your day, you could read it while getting ready or for the ceremony to honor their memory.
- Write a note in the program- If you plan on having programs for your wedding day, you can have a special section honoring those who are there in spirit.
- Special drawing- Have an artist create a special rendering of your loved one to display on your special day. This also makes for a great keepsake afterwards.
Ways to remember them during the reception
- Play a favorite song- If there was a special song you two shared, you can play it during the reception in their memory.
- Have a memorial table- One of the more common ways to honor those who have passed. During the reception you can have a special table with items from your loved ones on display to remember them. Some other items you can add to the table are flameless candles, lanterns, photos of them, something special they left behind, or anything else you want to add to remember them.
- Make a donation- If your loved one had a favorite charity, you could accept donations in their honor.
- Share a dance- It can be difficult to not have that special dance with a mother or father, and while no one can replace them, you could consider asking a sibling, aunt or uncle, or grandparent.
Ways you can remember your loved one throughout the day
- Special flowers- If your loved one had a certain flower they loved, you can consider incorporating them into your bouquet or decor.
- Incorporate what they loved- If your loved one had a favorite color, you could consider that as one of your wedding colors. Maybe they had a favorite recipe that you choose to use as your wedding meal to share with others.
- Wear something of theirs- The saying goes, “ Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” Maybe you can incorporate something old or borrowed, such as heirloom jewelry, into your day that meant something to them. For the groom, you could wear a loved one’s cuff links or watch in their honor.
- Toast with their favorite drink- Whether you make a toast to honor them, or use their favorite drink to make toasts for the evening, toasting in their honor is a great way to remember those who aren’t there on your day.
While remembering and honoring your loved one during your wedding day is bittersweet, know that there is no right or wrong way to honor their memory. The inclusion of them can be as subtle as their favorite flower, or something more noticeable, like photos. However you choose to remember them will be special and perfect.