If you’re looking for a few special and creative ways to honor lost loved ones on your wedding day, today’s post is for you. Whether it’s a grandparent, great aunt or uncle, or even parent or sibling who has passed away, paying tribute to them on your special day can be a lovely touch and even help in the healing process if the loss was a recent one. However, deciding just how to do this can be a difficult decision. You’ll want to strike a balance between a heartfelt memorial and still maintaining the joyous vibe of the day. From sweet and subtle to larger gestures, here are 11 ideas that will do just that.
1.) Carry them in (or over) your heart. We’ve all heard E. E. Cummings’s famous poem. You can bring this literary work to life by wearing a photo of your loved one near your heart. Ashley and Stefan both lost their fathers, but pinned their photos over their hearts on the day they exchanged vows.
If you prefer something a little quieter, pin the photos on the inside of your clothing, like this groom featured on Glamour and Grace did.
2.) Put their photo in a locket and pin it to your bouquet. You can carry their memory with you..literally. Be like Burgh Bride Daniele and place your favorite photo of them in a locket (bonus points if it’s an heirloom and can be your Something Old) and ask your florist to pin it to the ribbon around your bridal bouquet.
3.) Carry or display one of their treasured possessions. After her father passed away, bride Cris (of Kiss My Tulle) knew she had to honor him in a special way. He was known for carrying a red bandana every day. So she pinned some heart-shaped cut outs of one inside her and her little sister’s dresses, as well as placed one on an empty chair at the ceremony.
4.) Sew a bit of their clothing into your dress. Did they have a favorite shirt, sweater, or other article of clothing? This bride cut out a heart-shaped swatch and had it sewn into the lining of her wedding dress. A subtle gesture but still totally meaningful.
5.) Better yet, have something unique made out of their old clothing and give it a special place at your event. This bride had swatches of her mother’s clothes sewn into a canopy that hung over the chuppah. It also included a piece of her grandmother’s wedding dress and a shirt that belong to her grandfather before he died. Even I’m crying at this one.
6.) You could take the whole clothing idea one step further by taking a page out of this groom’s book. He had his grandfather’s suit remade into his own wedding day attire as a way of keeping his memory alive.
7.) Include a short message to or about them in your ceremony program. Everyone will read your words and I’m sure tears will be shed, but I’m also sure the sentiments will be well-received and appreciated.
8.) Save them a seat at the ceremony. Feel like they are physically present as you say I Do by reserving a special seat for them. You can mark it with a framed photograph and even a fresh flower, like Ashley & Travis did.
9.) Display their photos are the reception. Often called a memorial table, this space can be where you honor those relatives who are gone but not forgotten. Add a few candles and a sign or note expressing how much they meant to you for an extra special touch. I love this display from Heather & Zach's brunch wedding last year.
10.) Dedicate a song to them. Was there a song that he or she just loved? I mean knew-every-word-to-sang-it-at-the-top-of-their-lungs-loved? Ask your DJ or band to play their old favorite in their honor.
11.) Feature their favorite dessert. The grandfather of this Hill City Bride suggested that the couple serve pie at the reception “because not everyone likes cake”. When he passed away, she did just that. If your loved one had a favorite dessert or cookie, be sure to have it there and call it out.
Are you honoring lost loved ones on your wedding day? What special gestures are you planning? Comment below with your other ideas on how to pay tribute to these special people.