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9 Ways to Honor Deceased Loved Ones at a Wedding




Weddings are the most special occasions filled with joy and excitement. It is difficult to feel the absence of a loved one during the most special day of life. While joy and grief can co-exist, it is important to recognize loved ones who are absent in a way that brings honor and joy to the occasion. There are great ways to celebrate the life of a loved one on your special wedding day. First, you will decide when to honor them: during the ceremony, at the wedding, or the reception. Yes, honoring a deceased loved one can be done during all of it. As you plan your special day, consider both the bride and groom's wishes on how to honor cherished family members.


  1. Reserve a front-row seat 

  2. Incorporate favorite flowers in the wedding bouquet

  3. Incorporate favorite flowers on the ends of seat rows

  4. Sew a patch of a shirt or other article of clothing into the bride and/or groom’s attire

  5. Set up a display at the reception with photos and mementos

  6. Use a photo in the boutonniere or bouquet

  7. Incorporate family recipes into the menu

  8. Tell a favorite story about the loved one in a toast

  9. Use their wedding glasses for the toast


Reserve a front-row seat

Incorporate the memory of a deceased loved one at the wedding with a reserved front-row seat. You can use a photo of a loved one, a sign, or a favorite article of clothing. The seat can be decorated with flowers that were their favorite.


Incorporate favorite flowers in the wedding bouquet

If a loved one had a favorite flower or plant, incorporate that flower or greenery into the bride’s bouquet or the groom’s boutonniere. Those same flowers can also be used throughout the bridal party as well. Including a note in the wedding program can explain why those flowers were chosen.


Incorporate favorite flowers on the ends of seat rows

Depending on how flowers are used in your wedding, incorporate the favorites of absent loved ones throughout. One beautiful way to do this is the floral arrangements on the ends of the seat rows. If you have more than one deceased loved one to honor, include all the favorite flowers of those who are absent. 


Sew a patch of a shirt or other article of clothing into the bride and groom’s attire

Incorporate a patch of a shirt or another article of clothing into the bride and groom’s attire. Perhaps there is a piece of wedding dress from a missing grandmother or mother that can be sewn into the clothing. Similarly, a favorite shirt or handkerchief is also great to tuck away inside the front of the jacket. Flowers can also be wrapped in these fabric pieces.


Set up a display at the reception with photos and mementos

Use a table to create a display of mementos of cherished loved ones. Share photos of the loved one along with a favorite hat, scarf, or other special item. 


Use a photo in the boutonniere or bouquet

Photos are a great way to incorporate the memory of a loved one into your wedding celebration. Adding a locket with a photo to the bride or groom’s flowers for the day is a special way to carry their memory with you as you walk down the aisle or say “I do.” As pocket square boutonnieres are becoming more popular (and easy) to use, consider adding a photo to the piece that sits inside the pocket. It keeps your loved one close to your heart throughout the day.


Incorporate family recipes into the menu

Menu selections are a great way to remember your loved one. Using your grandmother’s yeast roll recipe, a special salad or your grandfather’s favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe is another fun way to remember a loved one. Any recipe item that fits your wedding can be used. On the printed menu, you can include a reference to the loved one who inspired the use of that recipe.

This same idea applies to beverages also. 


“Granny’s Peanut Butter Cookies” (always served warm with milk)

“Poppaw’s Fried Chicken Tenders” (with homemade buttermilk ranch dressing)

“Gramps’ Chocolate Mousse”

Grandmother’s Famous Popovers” (always served with strawberry butter)


This is a fun and unique way to share your favorite things and the memories of your loved ones with guests.


Tell a favorite story about a loved one in a toast

Share a toast incorporating a favorite memory of a loved one. As you enjoy your most special day, it will bring up special memories of people you loved dearly. Share a story with guests to let them know more about your loved one and you.


Use their wedding glasses for a toast

Create a new tradition that can be passed on to other generations. If you still have the wedding glasses that your loved ones used in their toast, use those same glasses in your toast. This is a beautiful tradition that can be shared with generations to come. Your loved one used the glasses, now you can use them, your children can use them one day, and then your grandchildren can use them. What a beautiful tradition to leave connecting generations over decades.


There are many ways to honor the memory of a loved one who is no longer alive. If these ideas don’t quite fit your needs, try this article which offers 25 ideas as well. As you strive to honor their memory, you will find the perfect idea that fits your loved one. 


At Royal Affairs Ballroom, we want your wedding and reception to be perfect even if you are missing someone you love. We will help you find the perfect way to honor the memory of your loved one while you create memories to last a lifetime on your wedding day. Call us today at 972-221-6565 for a private tour.


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