How to Honour Lost Relatives at Your Wedding

While a wedding is indeed your special day, it is also a day that is shared and looked forward to by those closest to you. So it is only natural that you will want to ensure your special day involves everyone, including those who are no longer with us. Knowing how to pay tribute to someone who has passed can pose as a tricky wedding etiquette obstacle to navigate so here we detail ways to pay tribute to a lost loved one at your wedding.


In deciding to pay tribute to a deceased relative or friend, you must decide whether you wish to do so publicly so that all of your guests are aware and can share in the tribute or privately so that it is only known by those you choose to tell. Secondly you will need to decide how much attention you want focused on the tribute. If you will be making the tribute known by all guests make sure you first inform any wedding guests who were close to the deceased or may be emotionally affected.

It is completely understandable for you to want to remember your lost loved ones but you have to work hard to strike a balance between the emotions. Yes, there will be sadness that they couldn’t be in attendance but a wedding is ultimately a joyous occasion and this should be kept at the forefront for any tributes you decide to include.

Figuring out the most appropriate way to honour someone can lie in how that person behaved in life. If their personality was quite reserved and they didn’t like being the centre of attention you should respect this.

One of the easiest ways for brides and grooms to commemorate a lost loved one in their wedding is to wear something that either reminds of that person, was given to you by that person or was that persons. For example having a piece of their clothing or handkerchief sewn into your wedding attire.


Wearing a piece of jewellery that was theirs or that they gave you is also great way to honour them without drawing an abundance of attention to their absence. Actress Angelina Jolie is said to have worn a ring that was her late mothers while her brother also wore one of their mother’s pins. Another great example is to have a broach, locket or photo incorporated into your bouquet so that they are with you as you exchange vows.


For your wedding ceremony, you might like to have a brief tribute printed in your order of service program perhaps writing ‘In loving memory of those who cannot be here with us today’. It is then up to you whether you choose to include names.

Lighting a candle could be another option this can be done as part of your wedding ceremony or simply take pride of place burning at your wedding reception. You might also like to have a photo on display, remember however a photo can be a rather confronting tribute for other family members. So discuss it with them in advance as a photo might be too much of a reminder and potentially dampen their experience of your day. You don’t want the grief of that person’s absence to overshadow the joy of your wedding.


Songs are a fabulous way to pay tribute to those who have passed. You could play a certain song at the reception in dedication to that family member or friend or even walk down to the aisle to one of their favourite songs.

Toasts are another meaningful way to honour someone this could be something everyone does together during the speeches or something you do with just a select few guests.


Some couples might like to have a moment of silence within their ceremony. This again might be too much for some to bear. So always be considerate of those around you. If you would like to have a specific moment within your ceremony dedicated to your lost relative having a reading might be the best way to go. The reading could be a prayer or poem that is significant in some way.

Saving a seat for their loved ones to acknowledge that they are still there in spirit is a popular option followed by bridal couples. A flower or a significant object might then be placed on the chair to signify the chairs meaning. Again, think of who will be sitting next to that empty seat. If your father passed away, sitting next to an empty seat may not encourage your Mother to be able truly enjoy your day. Likewise looking out to that empty seat while you exchange vows might be harder than you anticipate so be weary as to how this can affect not only you but your guests as well. As is the essence of all memorial tributes, they should not overshadow what is one of the happiest days of your life.

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