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How to Honor the Deceased at Your Wedding

Today is a difficult day for me, because exactly one year ago, I lost the most amazing man I’d ever met—my grandfather Vern.  He brought so much joy to my life, was a constant source of love, support and guidance, and had the kindest, happiest, most generous heart of anyone I’ve ever encountered.

Knowing that my grandpa will only be there in spirit when I marry the love of my life is hard.  And I know he wanted nothing more than to be there for my wedding.  So honoring him throughout this most special day is extremely important to me.

Chances are, you have lost someone who meant the world to you, someone whose life you’d like to honor at your I Do’s.  To do this, you can…

  • Include the names of deceased loved ones in the ceremony programs, along with a few loving words about each person’s relationship to the bride or groom.
  • Pick a song that reminds you of that special person and dedicate it to him/her during the reception.  I can still hear my grandpa belting out Singing In The Rain, and I know he’d love to be remembered this way.

  • Incorporate items that belonged to those who have passed.  The bride can wear a piece of grandma’s jewelry or attach the brooch she never left the house without to her bridal bouquet.  And for the groom, grandfather’s watch, cufflinks or favorite pocket square are all good options.
  • Let those who have passed inspire your signature drinks!  Did grandpa love his Manhattans?  Do dirty martinis drum up memories of the grandma you miss so much?  If so, choose your reception cocktails accordingly!  Incorporate the flavors to create special signature drinks, and name the drinks after the ones you'd like to remember.

  • Include a white rose for each person you’ve lost in your bridal bouquet, as white roses symbolize honor and reverence.  For your groom, a white rose boutonniere!
  • As a couple, light one candle at the ceremony in honor of everyone you’ve lost.  Invite other family members to come up to the altar and light one candle to remember each person who's past.

  • Write a few lines to pay tribute to those you've loved and lost, and ask your officiant to recite these words during the ceremony.

  • Reserve seats at the ceremony for each loved one who's past.  Hang a sign that says, In Loving Memory of ..., on the back of each chair, and place a single white rose on each seat.

  • Incorporate their photos in a creative way.  If your grandparents have passed, add a locket with their photos to your bouquet.  Other ideas include photo walls, trees, tables and more!

  • Thank your guests with their favorite things.  If your grandpa loved wine or your grandma was a choco-holic, let your wedding favors reflect this.

  • Reception entertainment—Did your grandfather love cigars?  Hire an authentic cigar roller to set up shop at your reception.  Or, if you grandparents loved music from a certain era, hire a band that can play their favorite tunes.

What other ideas for honoring the deceased at the wedding can you share with us?  This is never an easy topic to discuss, but paying tribute to those who have passed will make your wedding day that much more special! 

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