Unique Ways to Honor Deceased Loved Ones at Your Wedding

Not all couples who create their wedding guest lists can invite all the people they’d like to. It’s when big milestones such as a wedding occur that you realize how your life is affected when you miss your deceased loved ones.

Fortunately, there are still ways you can include these loved ones in your wedding day. However, whether or not you should depends on your relationship with the person and how long ago they passed. If they passed recently, the reminder at your wedding might be too raw and sensitive.

If you feel it would be welcomed and appreciated though, here are a few unique ideas you can use:


Have a photo locket made

Attaching a photo locket to your bouquet or boutonniere is a subtle but special way to have a deceased loved one at your wedding. There are lots of makers in every town who can create a memorial locket or charm for your big day.

Wear something that belonged to them

This could be anything from a hat to a tie or pocket watch. Wearing something that belonged to your loved one can make you feel closer to them on your big day. When I got married I borrowed my Granda’s wedding ring from my Gran for the ceremony as my something old and something borrowed.

Shauna Veasey Photography

Reserve a seat for them

Since your loved one would’ve been sitting at your wedding ceremony, why not reserve a seat for them and place a photo or something personal on the chair. You could even bring their favourite chair if it is portable – don’t forget flowers, candles, or twinkly lights if you want to make the chair extra special.

Include them in your ceremony

I always offer my couples the opportunity to include a prayer or moment of quiet reflection or silence for quiet for any loved ones they would like to have included in their ceremony. I am happy to recite the names of your loves ones or simply make a blanket statement before we take a moment to remember those who are with us in spirit.

You could also choose to get married on their wedding date and include their favourite poems or readings in your ceremony.

Light a candle during the ceremony

To honor those who are there in spirit, light a memorial candle with your partner at some point during the ceremony. This can also do double duty if you are including a unity candle in your marriage ceremony – simply use the lit memorial candles to light the unity candle together.

Use their favorite song

If your loved one had a particular song they always played, use it during the processional or recessional as a way to include them in the ceremony or have it played while we sign your paperwork. You could even dance to the song during your reception.

When my cousin Willie got married in 2019 his wife Claire sent me to the venue with strict instructions and photos so I could make sure the memorial display she created was set up exactly the way she wanted! Here it is at their cocktail hour before it was moved into the ballroom for their reception!

Create a photo display

If more than one person has passed, create a photo display that you can add to the reception room. There are all kinds of portable stands that can be moved from the ceremony to reception sites – make sure you set it up the way you want it at home then take photos before you pack everything to be taken to your wedding. Send the photos to the person who will be setting it up so they can see exactly how you want it to look. Add some mementos and twinkly lights as well as candles and you will have a gorgeous memorial display.

Incorporate their favorites

Is there something your deceased friend or family member loved to do? Find a way to incorporate that activity into your wedding. This could even be a specific drink or type of food, their favourite flower, or colours. You could wear their favourite cologne or perfume too!


Make a donation

In lieu of wedding gifts, you could ask your guests to make a donation to your loved one’s favourite cause or organization, or instead of favours, you could donate what you would have spent on them and make little signs to let your guests know.

These are all small, yet meaningful ways to make sure your loved ones are still present and remembered on one of the most important days of your life.

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