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Tips for Honoring Deceased Loved Ones at Your Wedding

It's important to remember family and friends who've passed in subtle but special ways.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Erin McGinn Photography

Acknowledging family and friends who've passed away is common at weddings. But instead of making sad statements, brides and grooms are finding uplifting ways to memorialize the deceased in the ceremony or reception. Here are some ideas to consider.

 

Related: Thoughtful Ways to Incorporate Your Parents' Wedding Into Your Own

 

Wear something belonging to your loved one.

Their wedding dress would be the ultimate acknowledgment but wearing an accessory, such as jewelry or a cape, would be lovely, too. The groom could wear cufflinks or a watch belonging to his late relative or friend.

 

Carry their things or photo with you.

If your grandmother gave you her favorite strand of pearls or a rosary, use it to decorate your bouquet as you walk down the aisle. Similarly, you could wrap a piece of fabric from a beloved uncles favorite coat or your late aunt's wedding dress around the handle of your arrangement. You could also put the family or friend's photo in a locket you attach to your bouquet or wear around your neck. Your groom could carry a photo, either on its own or inside a pocket watch.

 

Save them a seat.

Designate a place of honor at the ceremony or reception (or both) for your late loved one. This could be as simple as leaving a "reserved" sign on a seat in the front row, or decorating a char with fresh flowers and a photo of the person you're missing.

 

Make a toast in their honor.

Keep it short and sweet and acknowledge each person by name then ask the guests to raise their glasses.

 

Related: 6 Ways to Honor Loved Ones Who Are Unable to Attend Your Wedding

 

Release butterflies or doves at the ceremony.

Put a note in the wedding program explaining the reason for the release and the names of those you're honoring and their relationship to you or the groom.

 

Incorporate their favorite flowers in your bouquet or boutonnière.

You'll feel like they're with you, even in the wedding photos.

 

Play their song.

To honor a deceased parent or grandparent, have your DJ or band cover a song that they loved. Be sure to announce its significance to the crowd.

 

Serve their signature dessert.

As a special reception treat, offer the dessert your late relative was famous for. To make it even sweeter, print the recipe on cards that guests can take home with them.