The Mighty Logo

9 Ways to Incorporate Lost Loved Ones on Your Wedding Day

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I love weddings. I love going to weddings, planning (fake) weddings, imagining weddings, writing speeches for weddings, you name it. Blame the hopeful romantic in me, but there’s something so lovely about events centered around love. 

That being said, one of the bittersweet aspects of weddings are the ones who we wanted more than anything to be there, yet they’re no longer with us on this spiritual plane. 

Loss is pervasive, ugly, and life-changing, and while grief is truly a form of love, it still doesn’t make seeing the pictures that they should have been in easier. 

While some people prefer to not acknowledge loss on their wedding day, some people feel empowered by keeping the memories of the ones they loved alive on a day about new beginnings. I know I’m one of those people, even though I’m single and am nowhere near getting married.

As I’m in love with weddings and wedding cultures, I’ve figured out a few key ways to honor the ones we’ve lost on our big day. 

1. Floral arrangements.

Does the person you lost have a flower they love the most? If so and you’re planning to have arrangements done, consider incorporating the favorite flower into your bouquet or some of the centerpieces. Maybe it’s only a few stems that are sitting near the head of the table or at the sweetheart table. It’s a very subtle touch that not everyone may understand, but you’ll know and that’s what matters.

2. A memoriam table, area, or chairs.

Depending on how many people you want to honor, there’s always the idea of incorporating little spaces toward the ones who could no longer be in attendance. I’ve seen people do tables with multiple images and pictures from both sides of the family, which is a bit more cost effective. If you have it in your budget, having a few seats empty with florals or something showing that the space is for those members would be sweet as well. 

3. Embroidering their handwriting onto something that you plan to wear.

Have any old cards where they handwrote something to you in it? If so, consider getting something embroidered with the message, or even their handwriting so you can carry that little piece of them on you at all times.

4. Put them in a locket and wear that on the big day.

You can get a small locket from Things Remembered, or other outlets and put their picture in it, that way they’re always close to your heart.

5. Wear their jewelry or something they owned.

Cufflinks, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, you name it. It’s all fair game and follows with the previous idea of keeping them close to you the entire day.

6. Play their favorite song during the dinner portion.

Due to y’know, tears, you may not want to do this during the party half of the night. Maybe you do, but it’s your choice! 

If they have a song they loved a lot, play it during a slower part of the evening. Maybe you can walk down the aisle to it, play it before the ceremony, or during the dinner. 

7. If you still have what they wore to their wedding, use it to wrap your bouquet.

Many people already do this, but using a piece of their wedding dress or something similar to wrap your bouquet in would be very tender and sweet.

8. If you’re religious, take a prayer moment and address it to them. 

For those of us who believe in a higher power or a heaven, this is a sweet way and private way to have a moment, just the two of you. If you’re not religious, you can write a letter to them and either choose to burn it, keep it, or creatively and sentimentally dispose of it elsewhere.

9. Serve their favorite dessert during the dessert portion of the dinner.

Having their favorite dessert available would be a nice homage to them that all your family will appreciate! Bonus points if you can score the original recipe or if you have a family who can make it similar to them, because no one will ever make it quite as good.

Loss is horrible, but weddings (hopefully) are delightful. Mixing the two may seem a bit dark, but as I mentioned, it’s sometimes needed. They may be gone, but they don’t have to be absent on your special day, and that’s the one thing to always remember.

Getty image by Oleksandr Shchus

Originally published: June 25, 2022
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home