In Memoriam...Honoring and Remembering Loved Ones at Your Wedding

Weddings are a time of gathering friends and family and celebrating a huge day in your life. Unfortunately, there are often important people to you who are unable to come or who have passed away. It can be an emotional time for couples to reflect on lost loved ones, wishing they could be there at the ceremony. But there are some really sweet gestures that can add meaning and a sense of remembrance to your wedding.

Many times brides and grooms choose an arrangement of flowers to honor grandparents and other special loved ones. How might that be different than an altar arrangement? The meaning comes in the flowers. Maybe the favorite flowers of the one being honored are used, or the number of flowers included represents something of significance about the absent loved ones. Traditionally the officiant or the program calls attention to the arrangement during the ceremony to recognize who it's for.

If you are looking for something non-traditional but still meaningful, here are some ideas:
  • Carrying a handkerchief or other small keepsake from a grandparent, mother, etc.
  • Wearing a special piece of jewelry that belonged to a special loved one
  • Framing photographs and placing them with a small flower arrangement at your ceremony or reception site
  • If you are doing a slideshow, including pictures of them with a special note in the presentation
  • Walking down the aisle or doing the unity candle portion to your loved one's favorite song
  • Asking the officiant to include a special story as related to marriage in the ceremony message
  • Using a favorite song for your first dance as husband and wife
  • At your reception site, leaving place settings empty with their pictures and a note about how each person is special to you
  • Add a candle garden at your ceremony or reception site; mix in flowers or pictures or coordinate the number of candles with the loved ones being honored

So today, on a day we remember the victims of September 11, think about those loved ones who deserve a special moment of recognition because of their impact and influence in your lives. Choose fitting ways to honor their lives as you start yours together.