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10 Ways To Honour Lost Loved Ones At Your Wedding

To honour a loved family member whom you’ve lost is a lovely gesture of remembrance. If you or your other half have anyone you miss, like grandparents, parents, siblings or even cherished aunts or uncles, there are quite a few ways you can acknowledge them beautifully at your wedding.

Etiquette gurus suggest it’s best to keep it brief and discreet – after all, a wedding is an already emotional and happy occasion, and lengthy tributes to the deceased may alter the atmosphere somewhat, especially if a person you’re acknowledging has passed away recently. However, there are no hard-set rules, and if you feel someone who was flamboyant deserves more, by all means go for it.

Here are 10 meaningful ways you can honour those who are missing, from ceremony to reception:

1. Write a few brief words about them in your mass booklet – a list of names under the heading ‘In Loving Memory’ or perhaps a short poem about missing those who can’t be there.

2. For grandmas or mums, find a photo from their wedding and replicate the bouquet or any part of their look – like the tiara, or the style of veil. You can also use a part of their wedding dress in yours, for example the lace or the pearls.


Image of vintage style wedding bouquet courtesy of C & C Floral Design

3. Put tiny photos in mini frames and hang them from your bouquet (see top image above) – this is a very popular option. For grooms, mini pictures can be incorporated into their cufflinks.

4. Set up a few branches or a decorative tree and hang hearts or signs with the names of your loved ones. You may do this in church with the priest’s permission, or at the reception.


Image from Sharon & Donal’s real wedding by Couple Photography

5. At a church wedding, ask the priest if you can place candles somewhere inside the church, perhaps in the window, one for each person who can’t be there. Ask the priest or one of your readers to say a word about them at the most fitting point during the ceremony, so everyone knows the purpose of the candles.

6. A sign with pictures and a few words about your loved ones, placed in a conspicuous place – perhaps next to the guestbook.


Image courtesy of Green Bride Guide

7. A toast at the reception, made at the same time as the rest of the toasts.

8. A memorial table – a few words with candles or flowers representing each person, or their pictures if you have them. If you’re having a family table with framed photos of your parents’ weddings, you could include the grandparents as well, and anyone else you want to honour.


Image courtesy of

9. Play their favourite song at some point during the wedding – it’s your choice whether you’d like to announce the reason for choosing this song, or you want to keep it private.

10. If the venue allows floating lanterns, send some off in the evening. You can invite everyone to come outside, or make it more intimate and do it with just your other half and family members.


Image courtesy of Weddings Costa Rica Blog | Main image courtesy of


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Rachel Green

Rachel Green

If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.

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