Weddings are joyous occasions that bring together friends and family to celebrate the love and support that keeps us all together. Honoring your lost loved ones is a great way to recognize their continued presence in your life and influence in your newest adventure. Although recognizing them can be difficult and emotional, we have compiled a list of beautiful ways to honor lost loved ones on your special day.
Wear Your Tribute
There are a variety of ways you can wear a tribute to family members who have passed on. Dawning your grandmother’s favorite pair of earrings, adding broaches or pictures to a bouquet, and sewing old fabric from their wedding dress into your dress are just a few ways to wear your tribute.
Bouquets and cufflinks provide great opportunities to add special tributes to your loved ones. You can frame small pictures for your bouquet or have custom cufflinks made with your favorite photographs or quotes. Sewing in pieces of fabric is another way to show them honor. Many bridessew a blue heart into the inside of their bridal gown to keep their loved ones close to their heart, while also adding something borrowed and something blue to their wedding attire. Wearing your tribute is a subtle way to remember those who you’ve lost, as these tributes are often unnoticed by the majority of your guests and recognized only by your closest family and friends.
Candles are a perfect way to show remembrance and love at your ceremony. Add a single candle for each lost loved one to your guest book table so each guest can honor their memory as they pass. For a more personal touch, consider adding a meaningful saying, quote, or even a picture to the base of the candle. It will be a great reminder for each person who signs your wedding guest book that your family members who have passed on are there in spirit as well.
You can also light candles before you cut your cake to take a moment of silence and fully recognize those who are not with you in person. Candles have long symbolized that a loved one’s memory will live on and burn bright in our lives.
If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, wind chimes are a great way to represent your missing loved ones. Not only are wind chimes beautiful, but their whimsical sound will continuously remind you and your guests of their presence. They are great decorative additions that provide a visual and audible presence for remembrance. Every time the wind blows or a small child runs their hands across the chime it will be a subtle reminder of their constant company.
Save a Seat
One of the most touching ways to honor a loved one at your wedding and/or reception is to leave achair reserved for them. Many brides add a small bouquet or a memento on the chair to signify their favorite things. Something memorable like their favorite baseball hat, military uniform, or even your favorite picture of them can bring a lot of honor and pride to everyone who knew them. Consider leaving a small note that has their favorite saying or a simple ‘in memory’ tag for people at your wedding who did not have the pleasure of knowing them.
Donate to a Charity
One of the newest trends to recognize loved ones at your wedding is to donate money in their name to an organization that holds meaning. A lot of couples are making these donations in lieu of wedding favors. If your loved one was already involved in the nonprofit community, you could donate to their favorite organization, or if they passed because of a health-related cause, you could donate to organizations that are fighting that cause.
There are a variety of health organizations that support families and persons who suffer from health-related issues. Donating in your family member’s name is a great way to give to their cause and leave a legacy of support for other families in need.
Balloon or Butterfly Release
A timeless tradition to recognize those who have passed on is a balloon release during your reception. Balloon releases symbolize grief as well as the celebration of life. They are a great way to take a moment of silence to remember those who have left you too soon. Butterfly releases are also common to symbolize the release of good news to those who are not with us. Both traditions are great ways to recognize the loved ones who are missing and a symbolic way to share your good news and celebration with them.
Plants and seeds are often given as wedding favors to symbolize the love and growth that have begun on your wedding day. Seeds are also a way to send a memory of your lost loved one home with your guests. Add a small tag with a meaningful quote to remind your guests of their lasting memory, such as “You planted faith, hope, and love in our hearts.”
Another great way to remember your lost loved ones is to incorporate their favorite music into your reception. If your grandfather was a Frank Sinatra fan, add a few of his favorite songs into your playlist. Consider hosting a special dance with your grandmother during your grandfather’s favorite song to show her your support and share his memory with everyone at your wedding.
Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult, but honoring them at your wedding is a wonderful way to recognize their memory with those closest to you and share this special time in your life with them, even though they aren’t physically there. No matter how you honor them, your special addition to the reception will highlight their continued love and support on your newest journey.