Honoring Deceased Loved Ones During Wedding Celebrations

Many couples try to find ways to honor special family and friends who have left this world before their weddings.  Some couples keep it to recent deaths while others honor people with whom they had a close bond.  Here are some tasteful ideas for recognizing those who have gone before us in the course of wedding celebrations.

Memorial Candles- Some memorial candles are plain and the purpose is only mentioned in the program.  Some candles are places in engraved holders mentioning the deceased.  Still other memorial candles are simply placed next to a picture of the person they are remembering.  Any way they are used, memorial candles are a simple and very symbolic way to remember the people special to the couple who cannot be with them in body on their special day.

Save a Seat- A chair left empty where an important person should have been seated is also a symbolic gesture.  A rose left in the seat as a symbolic gesture is also a simple way to remember the people who have been lost and recognize that they are with the couple in their hearts and minds.

Display a Picture- When the people needing to be remembered are parents, close grandparents or siblings of the couple sometimes a picture will be displayed in remembrance of the missing guest.

Mentioning Names in Petitions or Elsewhere in the Ceremony- In a religious ceremony, a prayer may be said asking everyone to remember those who are deceased.  Sometimes the loved ones may be mentioned by name, but mostly it will be a general prayer.

A Moment of Silence for the Dearly Departed- A moment of silence can also be held at the wedding ceremony or the wedding reception to honor those who have gone before the couple and couldn’t be with them on their special day.

Slide Show- If the father of the bride or mother of the groom is missing from the celebration, a slide show of the bride or groom growing up with a few pictures of the deceased can replace the traditional dance at the reception.  All of the pictures should not be of the deceased to keep it understated.  A slide show featuring both the bride and groom through the years can be used featuring a few pictures of people who are deceased and were special to the bride or groom.

A Special Flower Arrangement- A special flower arrangement at the altar or a table with an “In Remembrance” ribbon is also a nice touch.

A Remembrance Table- A table of remembrance can be a nice touch.  A small table is set aside at the ceremony or reception.  It can hold candles, pictures or an arrangement in remembrance of the deceased.  A photo of the couple praying or in another pose at the table can make for a beautifully memory in the wedding album.

A Remembrance Vase- A vase of flowers (usually roses) where each flower is meant to represent a loved one who is deceased is also a nice touch. Have the flower girl place the flowers in one by one and have a special mention in the program.

Program Mentions- A simple explanation of whatever methods are used to remember loved ones can be placed in the program. A special page in the program can also be the means used to remember those who cannot be in attendance.

Bouquet Additions- Charms, rosaries and jewelry pieces such as lockets or jewelry belonging to the deceased can be added to the bouquet in remembrance. Cuff links and military pins are often added to remember male family members.  A single flower of a different color in the bouquet can be a silent gesture that only a few people know about to remember someone who is deceased.  The bride can also carry a few roses tied together to remember the deceased instead of a traditional bouquet.

Other Remembrance Gestures

Do not honor deceased parents by placing their names on invitations.  The invitations should be sent by the people hosting the event, whether that be surviving parents or the couple themselves.

Remembering loved ones during wedding celebrations can be tricky.  It is important to have it be understated.  The wedding celebrations are about joining two lives and two families and is meant to be a happy occasion.  Remembrances that are too over the top will draw more attention towards bittersweet memories and place too much attention on people who aren’t there rather than on the ones who are there.  Honoring those who are gone is important and symbolic but understated gestures are best.  Symbolic gestures tend to accomplish this better than spoken words.  Spoken words should be brief and general if used.

The best way to honor those who have come before us is to live our lives to the fullest while keeping them in our thoughts.