Virginia wedding

Perfectly Honoring Lost Loved Ones at Weddings

Yes, you can perfectly honor a lost loved one at your wonderful wedding celebration.  It is a fact of life that not everyone will be with us when we reach a wonderful milestone such as our wedding.  Here are some of my favorite ways of paying tribute at a wedding.

Things To Consider

There is no one right way.  You will have to ask yourself different questions like how much time has passed since the passing?  Who will be in attendance who will be emotionally impacted by a tribute?  Depending on their proximity to the loved one, how the passing has impacted you, and how much time has elapsed between their death and your wedding, you will want to go about paying respect and paying tribute in different ways.

In the cases of small children, it might be too painful or traumatic for everyone to do so in a big way, although you may want to subtly and quietly remember the little boy or girl by lighting a candle in his or her memory.

Another aspect to consider is the type of person the loved one was in life; that will shape the tribute.  Their age and gender might be factors, as well as what their generation was like over all.  Was the person a person of words?  Was he or she someone that was gregarious and funny?  Was he or she quiet and reserved?  Did the person believe altruistically in raising money for a cause in their memory?

Ways of Paying Tribute – Wearing Something Old

For me, wearing a pieces of jewelry was how I remembered my grandmother and my mother.  Before the wedding, my something old and new really was the refurbished and repaired tennis bracelet and diamond ring I’d had reset.  With a wedding hall filled mostly with my husband’s people, it was personal and it was enough for me.  The day was emotional enough for me, so doing more, or even just speaking, would have been enormously difficult.

Other ways of incorporating “something old” would be sewing  something into your wedding gown or asking the groom to carry something in his pocket like the loved one’s pocket-watch or pocket-knife.

Having a material item on your person is a personal way of remembering a loved one.

Ways of Paying Tribute – Using Something New

It may be the case that you’ve been given something by the person that passed away.  If it is stemware or flatware, you could have it worked in at the head table during the reception.  If it was a tablecloth, it could be dressed-up for at least the cake table.

Ways of Paying Tribute – In the Programming

You can dedicate your wedding to your loved one in the wedding program.  At the end of the program, you may choose to write a short paragraph of remembrance or just simply put, “In Loving Memory” with their name, date of birth, and when they passed away.  You could name multiple people and under their name, say how the bride or groom is related.

In Loving Memory

Elaine J. Hobart

Grandmother of the Groom

Ray M. Belk

Uncle of the Bride

Ways of Paying Tribute – A Single Candle

For a single, lost loved one, a single flameless memorial candle can be very appropriate.  There are even candles which have passages or quotes painted on them that can be very touching and informative.  Simply search on Google or Amazon “flameless memorial candle” and several options will be shown.

Ways of Paying Tribute – With Pictures

Many times there are pictures of the bride and groom on the tables, but a special place could be set for pictures of those you’d like to remember.  If this is a large affair, and you might be afraid you would forget someone, it might be nice to invite people to bring photos that they would like displayed.  Who knows, you might discover an aunt has hoarded a baby picture of a cousin you never knew about.  It might be a way to learn more about your family tree.  You might discover who is the accidental, family genealogist.

Ways of Paying Tribute – A Dedication

In some weddings, it seems they are always passing the mic.  If this is your style of reception, at some point, you could dedicate a song or a dance in memory of someone.

Ways of Paying Tribute – A Toast

In some weddings, someone is always raising a toast, and this is a wonderful way to remember someone who was themselves a person who enjoyed lifting a glass now and again.  Try to do it in keeping with their style.  Were they champagne, bourbon, or beer?  In some cases, it might be something to do in full view of everyone, but in other cases, maybe the groomsmen or bridesmaids might want to do something small and private before the reception or even before the wedding.

Ways of Paying Tribute – A Moment of Silence

In some cases, in a church, before the ceremony is complete, a moment of silence called for by the minister might be the best way.  If the person was someone very near and dear to everyone, this would be a way of paying tribute that recognizes every person’s heart.

Ways of Paying Tribute – Save Them a Seat

With a seat at the head table or any table you think appropriate, with maybe a bouquet of flowers in their chair, you can recognize their absence and your love and respect.  At some point, you may want to propose a toast in their memory with everyone saluting with raised champagne flutes, this departed loved one.

I hope this gives you some ideas and inspires how to remember those you may miss at your wedding but who you will always carry in your heart all of your days.


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The author: Dawn Van Ness

Dawn Dickson Van Ness grew up at the beach and has published her work in print and online. With a BA in English and a MS in Mass Communications, she has used writing and multimedia to promote artists, art shows, writers, small businesses, and other self-employed individuals by building websites and maintaining social media pages. She feels most fulfilled when she is helping others achieve their dreams, which includes writing self-help and steps-to-success articles for various websites. It seems a natural fit for this wife and mother of two to write features that help soon-to-be wed couples. For more about Dawn, go to