Many couples getting married want to honor loved ones who have passed. There is no particular way for this to be done, however, I have compiled a few weddings I have done along with ideas I found to share with all of you. It’s very difficult to lose a loved one as a year ago today I lost my grandmother/best friend to cancer. It’s important no matter what to always keep those who past close to our hearts and celebrate the life they had and gave us. Here is a list of ways to incorporate them into your wedding ceremony or reception.
1. Wedding bouquet- Many brides will do different things in the wedding bouquet to honor a loved one especially if it is their father who passed away. This way his spirit is still there walking down the aisle with her.
A. Adding a flower that stands out. Two of my brides dad’s passed away and this is how they had their bouquets. One did a single red rose in a bouquet of pink for her father. The other kept her fathers favorite shirt, added dad to it, and made it into a rose for her bouquet.
B. Add a charm to it. You can add a family charm or purchase one that reminds you of your loved one. I made a bouquet for one of my brides and friend which I surprised her by adding a key charm and wrote a note to her “key to your father’s heart, he is with you always especially today to walk you down the aisle”. She wanted to keep it discrete and not get overwhelmed and upset on her day without him. It was the perfect touch without everyone making a big deal since they had no idea. You could also add a locket charm with their picture on it.
2. Reserved Seating. Some couples choose to designate the front row to loved ones who have passed. You can do this in a few different ways.
A. Ribbon off they area; add a beautiful sign or flower honoring them.
B. Add photos to the front row of chairs of each loved one.
3.Programs- this is a more traditional way of honoring them. In the program somewhere you could add a little prayer or saying with the names of your loved ones who past or just list those who are celebrating in heaven.
4. Ceremony memorial candle- Many times you do a unity ceremony. This could double as a way of honoring your loved ones or in the very beginning of ceremonies. It’s always so special for the couple to light a candle for their loved ones whom passed.
5. Officiant honors loved ones- even if you are not having a spiritual or religious ceremony it is always nice to have your officiant say a prayer or words to those celebrating above.
6. Dove or butterfly send off- This is a beautiful way to celebrate the lives of loved ones. A couple we had did a dove send off following their ceremony. It was magical and they are so well trained. This is a great way to wow your guests.
7. Wedding signs- there are many signs out there which honor loved ones. A very close friend of mine designs these type of signs. Please check out her Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FromKellyWithLove
8. Wear something of theirs- Every bride wants something borrowed of course. If you personally do not have anything of your loved ones ask around to see if anyone in the family has something from them. It could be jewelry, brooches, clothing, Etc. Below are a few pics. One bride had her dads blue shirt made into her dress for her something blue and to honor him or in the other photo I wore my great grandmother’s earrings.
9. Use something they gave you- This could be a variety of things. Of course it is similiar to above but maybe they gave you something from their wedding such and toasting flutes, cake cutters, veil, etc. Even a gift they gave you that falls into your wedding theme is a great idea.
10. Groom idea-boutonniere with pic of loved ones charm. It’s not just the bride who may have lost someone. An alternative to your flower boutonniere is having a photo charm of your loved one close to your heart or add to your flower like picture below.
11. Memorial table- having photos of your loved ones as guests enter is a great way to honor them and lets guests see where you came from.
A. In lieu of gifts, donations can be made to a charity that honors your loved one. Whether it be one that supports cures for the illness they passed away from or a charity that was close to their heart. This is a perfect way to actually give something more to them.
B. Give something they love- My grandmother loved playing cards and although she was still alive when we had our wedding a perfect favor would be a deck of cards. Having a Vegas wedding just ties it all in together.
13. Have someone speak about them. Many times the couple gets choked up knowing their loved ones couldn’t be there. It’s a good idea to designate someone to speak on your behalf about them. We planned a wedding where the brother in law of the bride spoke about her father who had passed. It was so meaningful and a beautiful experience for everyone. Although it did shed many tears it was a joyous moment knowing everyone was honoring him in that moment of his daughters life.
14. Table numbers- Instead of having your traditional table numbers you can use photos of them. If you are doing place cards you print wallet size photos for your guests and they find the table that matches their photos. This is a great way to incorporate them into your reception.
15. Song- have a special song set aside for those who have passed. Whether it be someone’s favorite song or a meaningful one for all who passed everyone can dance to celebrate their past life. Two of my favorite choices are Miranda Lambert “the house the built me” and Dani and Lizzy “Dancing in the Sky”
16. Angel wings on back of bride and groom chairs. I saw this picture and thought it is such a cute way to honor your loved ones. If you don’t want to get too emotional and sad on your day this is another subtle way of still honoring them without all the tears.
17. Leis/bracelets- having guests and everyone wear leis throughout the wedding or something that stands out to honor them is a great way to show your appreciation and love for them. If someone passed away from pancreatic cancer, hand out purple or breast cancer (pink). This just adds another special touch.
18. In your Thank You speech- while you say your “Thank You’s to your guests” add a part to think of those whom are no longer with you.
19. Incorporating what they love in reception- Whether it be something I have already mentioned or literally setting a space for them during the reception this is a very memorable way to show how much love goes to those celebrating in heaven. Found this gem on Pinterest and love the idea.
20. Writing a message on a balloon or Chinese lantern. This is a cute send off alternative which makes not only great photos but also a way for all guests to be involved honoring those loved ones who passed.
In any event you always think of how great it would be if those who are no longer with you could be there to celebrate with you. Just remember although they are not physically with you, they will still be celebrating with you in spirit. Honoring loved ones throughout your life’s milestones is very important to keep your family traditions going and share their love throughout generations to come.
As I said before I dedicate this blog to my grandmother Mille (first picture). She was a true beauty inside and out. She taught me so many things. She made me who I am today, a strong, hard working, caring person and I would give anything to spend one more day with her.
“I love you forever, I like you for always, even in heaven, your baby I’ll be!”
Many are from previous weddings Desirable Events has planned and those photographers were:
Sara Ford Fotos, Alt F photography, Special Moments Photography, Myself
Other photos came from Pinterest.