Heartfelt Ways to Honor a Deceased Loved One at Your Wedding

Looking for ways to memorialize a dear friend or relative who's passed? Try one of these subtle, yet meaningful, ideas.
by Bridget Clegg
Bouquet with photos of deceased loved ones
photo by Adam Padgett

Your wedding day is a celebration with loved ones, so it's only natural to want to include those friends or relatives who've passed away before you get to say "I do." Your inclusion of a deceased relative can be as subtle as a symbolic white rose in your bouquet or as public as a moment of silence at the ceremony, and we rounded up a few more ways below. It's also a good idea to check in with any close relatives who may be sensitive to the death—from there, you can decide how you'd like to honor them without turning the wedding into something that feels like a heavy memorial service.

Pin their photos to your bouquet. 

Place their photos in an ornamental case (perhaps a locket), and pin them to your bouquet wrap for you to walk down the aisle with. 

Set up a memory table. 

Reserve a special place at your reception for a table filled with framed photos of family and friends who've passed away. 

Reserve a seat. 

Lay a flower from your bouquet on an empty seat at your ceremony. 

Include a family recipe. 

Whether it's on your dinner menu, for dessert or as a late-night snack, include a beloved family recipe to honor a lost loved one. 

Include a note on the program.

Add an "In Loving Memory Of" tribute on your program with the rest of your ceremony details. 

Place a flower arrangement in their honor at the altar. 

You can include their favorite flowers, or simply pick ones that signify remembrance, such as gladiolus, rosemary, pansies and statice. 

Have a moment of reflection.

At the beginning of your ceremony, have a moment of reflection or silence before carrying on with the celebrations. 

Light a candle for them. 

Either at your ceremony or reception, take a moment to light a candle in their honor. 

Provide favors in their honor. 

Offer a special favor for your guests at your reception in your loved one's memory and include a sign to explain the token. For example: "Take a cigar for Jim!" 

Give a toast.

Toast to them at your reception alongside all of your guests for a special moment you'll remember forever. 

Make a donation to a charity that your loved one supported.

In lieu of a normal registry, have your guests donate to a special charity (you can set this up with The Knot Gifts Back charity registry option) in honor of your loved one. Or, instead of favors, make the donation yourself and place a sign at your reception indicating so. 

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