Most couples getting married will be doing so without at least one of their loved ones. There’s really nothing like a special occasion—or the MOST special occasion—to remind you of their absence and many times, your desire to make them a part of your big day. From small, private gestures to grand, public steps, there are many things you can do to honor the memory of a loved one at your wedding.
Here are 10 ways to honor someone’s memory at your wedding:
1. Wear Something
This could be as grand as wearing a deceased loved one’s wedding dress or suit or as small as a necklace, tie or pocket watch. Really, this is a beautiful way for you to carry a piece of that loved one with you throughout the most special day of your life.
2. Offer a Moment of Silence
This can be a really effective way to honor a loved one. While your ceremony officiant lets your guests know what’s going on, you still get to have a private moment to yourself in silence and let other family and friends join in that experience, as well.
3. Make an Announcement
This isn’t as awkward as it sounds. During your ceremony, you could have your officiant make a short announcement, simply letting everyone know you are remembering someone special this day.
4. Light a Candle
The lighting of a unity candle is one thing many couples choose to do in their ceremony, but lighting a memory candle just creates another option. This could be a really beautiful gesture, particularly for an evening wedding.
5. Leave a Photo or Flower in their Seat
If your dear loved one was at your wedding, do you know where they’d be seated? You could choose to place a photo of them or a flower in their spot to show that you are thinking of them.
6. Place a Note in your Wedding Program
Including a note to your deceased loved ones in your wedding program is a really common way to memorialize. All of our wedding programs include space for this, though it is optional. The note can be something like “Today we remember…” or a more personal message you write for your deceased loved ones.
7. Register with a Charity in their Honor
This is particularly fitting if there is a nonprofit working to fight a disease related to a loved one’s death, but it could also be something this person just has a passion for. Many couples choose to register with charities for different reasons, and this is just another one.
8. Visit the Graveside after the Ceremony
This can just be a really sweet, personal gesture between you, your new spouse and your family member. You could go to the graveside, pay your respects and maybe even leave some special flowers.
9. Toast them at the Reception
This is obviously a more public gesture, but if this is something important to you, then by all means, the reception would be a great place to pay your respects in front of all your guests.
10. Set up a Picture Table
Some couples choose to just place pictures of their deceased loved ones at the wedding reception. This could be a separate memorial table or they could be mixed in with other family photos.