Honouring Lost Loved Ones On Your Wedding Day

There will be many bittersweet moments when you remember your loved ones who can’t attend the ceremony. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be there in spirit

Putting together the guest list is one of the most important and time-consuming aspects of planning for your big day.  You will spend hours analyzing the list to make sure that the third cousins once removed are invited equally on both sides and that no long ago forgotten co-worker is snubbed while another is invited. No matter how many times you go over it though, it will never be quite perfect. No matter what, there are always be a few beloved guests who won’t be able to make it, those we’ve lost along the way.
The ways couples honour their lost loved ones now goes far beyond the standard memorial bouquets on the altar. We asked brides and grooms about the special ways they remembered their lost loved ones during their wedding day. The list is the most heartwarming (and tear-jerking!) stories we heard in response.

Love lives on

“Anthony and I were young widows when we said our vows. We honoured both of our adored first spouses throughout the beachside ceremony. As a family, we tossed stones with their names on them into the ocean. My bouquet had their jewellery intertwined into it and our place settings featured their photos. Without them, we wouldn’t have our three beautiful children. We are grateful every day for their part in our family’s story.”
– Bree
“My dad was killed in a car accident when I was in high school. His photo was on a small charm in my bouquet and in a display with other loved ones who had passed. But my favourite memory is when my older brothers surprised us by replacing the water and lemonade jugs with whiskey and coke, my dad’s favourite drink. It was the perfect tribute to him!”
– Sarah

Empty spaces

“My best friend died when we were 16. We made an extra bouquet and set it on the altar throughout the ceremony. My new husband and I took it to her grave after our reception. She most definitely would have been a bridesmaid and it was important that her memory was part of the ceremony.”
– Katie
“We had an empty chair set in front with my stepfather’s hat on it. I always thought he would walk me down the aisle along with my dad. When the preacher asked who was giving me away, my dad responded that both he and my stepfather were. It was a total surprise and meant the world to me.”
– Casey
“My husband’s mum passed away just months before we were married. We delivered a flower to her grave after the ceremony and said a prayer together. Since we couldn’t have a mother-son dance at the reception, we had a whole family dance instead.”
– Jennifer

An enduring legacy.

I recently pulled a bouquet of silk Bells of Ireland out of storage and arranged them in tins on the walls of my practice. Guests and customers comment on them frequently and I love explaining that they are the same flowers that sat in my grandfather’s honour at my own wedding. Our Celtic themed ceremony was a nod to the Irish legacy he left behind and the simple green arrangements still bring a smile to my face. I knew that he would have been smiling down proudly on us the day of our wedding. And I know that he still is today.