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19 Truly Heart Touching Ways to Honor Loved Ones at a Wedding

Heart Touching Ways to Honor Loved Ones at a Wedding
Weddings are meant to be happy days, but several couples like to look for ways to remember their lost loved ones during their celebrations. It is a touching way to keep them with you in one of the biggest moments of your life, and a touching way to honor and value them.
Roma Dar
Last Updated: Mar 4, 2018
To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.
- Thomas Campbell
We have all heard of wedding ceremonies that have been conducted a mere few days after a close loved one of the couple has passed on. These are brave stories of life going on even after death and mourning. Although the wedding has to carry on, choosing to acknowledge the family's loss is a great way to go through the wedding and face acceptance without being inconsiderate to the person who has passed on, even if the death was one that occurred years ago. Also to be considered are the practical aspects of canceling a wedding at the last moment. Some ceremonies and cultures tend to honor all ancestors of the family, known and unknown, with a separate booth set up.

Everything, of course, depends on the comfort of the family involved. Thinking not only from the couple's side, but for families and other close friends of the deceased, the person who had the idea should obviously consult others attending the event beforehand, in order to not surprise them into grief on the happy occasion of a wedding. Commemorating ancestors sensitively and subtly, and not going overboard with reminders and bogging oneself down with sad memories, is the best path to take if one wishes to do this. The idea is to let their presence permeate the environs of the wedding, to revive pleasant memories of the deceased, and feel them close by in spirit and in a joyous time.
Reserve a Seat
Empty seat at wedding.
Signifying absence in the most obvious way possible, several couples like to reserve a seat for lost ones during the ceremony and reception. Do this by placing a card, a single white rose or a bouquet on an empty seat. Some choose to put personal effects of the deceased, like clothes or caps on the vacant chair. Placing a photo also works.
Something Blue...
For brides, taking something old and something blue from their loved one's personal effects is a time-honored tradition to show their deference on D-day. Be it earrings or a blue shirt fabric stitched inside the gown, blue ribbon tied around the bridal bouquet, a tiara or a more symbolic blue flower, the blue and old can be innovatively decided. If tearing up old clothes is not your idea of respect, then opt to remove buttons or beads and incorporate them into yours.
Carry a Family Heirloom or Old Photo
Bride with parent's photo
Carrying a family heirloom into the ceremony is another popular tradition. These can be slightly modified to suit the décor of the wedding. An old pearl necklace can be remade as a part of the bouquet. Grooms may go in for cufflinks, watches, buttons, handkerchiefs, or ties handed down to them, or stitch a piece of an earlier tie into their clothes. Old books can be covered in new white cloth and carried down the aisle to be read from. Old photos can be secretly hidden on your person.
Make a Donation
Instead of favors for guests, a popular substitute is to use the money to make a donation in the guests' names, and letting them know through a personalized card at the reception or wedding. The donation may be towards a cause that was dear to the heart of the dearly departed, like a pet center, orphanages, for the blind or old people's homes. Or towards research in the medical field related to the cause of death of the departed. This will be well-appreciated by the guests.
Use their Favorite Flowers
If the departed was particularly fond of a herb or flower, it could be easily melded with the décor. Whether in corsets, boutonnières, table pieces, bridal bouquets, or a main element in overall décor like the ceremony backdrop, the flowers serve to remind with their perfume and beauty, the memory of a close one. Using a significant herb like rosemary (signifies remembrance) spruces up the ceremony. Gardenias, peonies, lavender, roses... whatever they loved, will make a good décor idea.
Wear their Jewelry
Vintage family heirloom
Wearing ancestral jewelry like rings, chains, earrings, rosaries, watches, hair ties and clips, bracelets, necklaces and anklets are a good way for brides to link themselves symbolically with their late friends or family. Options like stitching in crucifixes, inlaying precious stones from old jewelry to newly made pieces, slinging old rings through chains to create a necklace makes it appropriately fitting to give a makeover to really ancient possessions.
Tie Bouquet Charms
Bible charm
A favorite wedding trend these days is miniature photo charms, which can be tied around or hung on anything. Brides usually opt for a photo charm wrapped around their bouquets or as little shoe charms. One can merge them with anything in the wardrobe or decorations, into something intensely personalized. The bridegroom can wear one on his lapel in place of a boutonnière, as a bracelet, or even in a watch chain. Use them as decoration details, or just add to a placeholder.
Serve their Favorite Dishes/own Recipes
Serve their favorite dessert, or let the entire menu be decided this way. Incorporate their favorite twists on recipes, or go for their own trademark recipes, even if they are something as "un-wedding" as cookies. Wedding guests who remember them will know that it was a favorite. You could opt to make the origin of the menu known to guests, or keep it private, just for your own satisfaction.
Select a Significant Venue
A venue where the loved one got married, or loved very much will go a long. Igniting strong memories, some insignificant places can have the strongest of memories that linger on. Selecting the same venue that one's parents got married on, or where they met, is possible if your partner agrees.
Wear their Wedding Gown/Tuxedo
Girl trying on mother's wedding gown
If the size is perfect and the clothes in good condition, go for it. Wearing an ancestral tux or wedding dress will never be considered "too old". Whether it is a veil, tiara, lace, gown, bows and bow ties, shirts, or jackets, it will delight everyone who was there for the wedding of its previous owner. It is literally a repetition of history and a fond remembrance of happy times.
Play their Favorite Music
All the music in your wedding can be determined by a mixtape of their favorite songs. Or if that is too much, choosing to play their favorite song as the bride walks down the aisle brings better attention to the fact that this was their song, instead of conventional music. Another suggestion would be to hold the first dance in their honor, to their preferred tunes.
Make a Photo Table or Wall near the Entrance
Choosing to display family photos in a separate section is a great way to bring attention to the entire family without negative focus. Or keep only a wall or table full of their pictures, along with a commemorative note and flowers. You can choose to keep this near the entrance of the venue so it is not missed. Hanging up a photo near the altar or keeping a small photo on a table nearby works. Make a personalized handmade board with old photos pinned, decorated with shells or stones.
Write a Public Letter/Speech/Poem
Roses and a letter
Reading a letter, speech, or poem addressed to, or about the loving departed, is a sentimental and often tearful form of tribute. Whether the loss is fresh or old, such an act will actively direct the attention towards the loss and absence of the cherished person.
Make a Mention in your Program or Invitation
Your invites, programs, or thank you notes can contain a section dedicated to the loving memory of the departed, or sent on their behalf as well, if they were very close family. This places a tremendous recognition of their importance to you.
Light a Lamp
Make one at home, with old photos printed on thin paper. You can also include a formal ceremony in your itinerary for lighting the candle or lamp in the name of the departed. It is of tremendous symbolic and religious significance, and can be done in general as a ceremony to acknowledge all the people through whom you have reached this world.
Wedding Toasts
Wedding toast with champagne
Toast to their memory during the reception, with one of their favorite drinks. Whether it is apple juice or tequila or even a milkshake, a toast will enliven the proceedings and pave the way to a happy inauguration. A little moment of silence before starting the festivities or during the toast is an option that will remain ingrained in guests' memories.
Their Favorite things as Favors
Wedding favors are usually determined by the personal preferences of the bride and groom. In such a case, they may also choose to make favors a symbol of their remembrance. Any personal favorite like a tiny bottle of rum, a little bag of gourmet chocolates, cookies, or even a Happy Meal will be appreciated. A better way to honor them is to give packets of seeds for every family. Seeds symbolize renewal and new life. Even small, potted plants are a good option.
Release Doves/Butterflies/Lanterns
Couple releasing lantern
Doves symbolize peace and freedom of spirit. In the name of your loved one, releasing a dove or butterflies after the ceremony feels light and wonderful. To see a representation of their spirit leaving is a feeling of one's own nonacceptance moving further away. Doves are sometimes trained to return later, so those not comfortable with animals can release balloons or lanterns.
Their Favorite Sayings/Quotes around the Venue or on Invites
There were things that our loved ones kept repeating all the time. Whether it was a mantra on life or a seemingly shallow quote from a movie or book, add it to your invites as the first words to be read, and as a significant nod to them.
If you like being creative, you will probably want to add your own twists to these ideas, or create entirely new ones of your own. Just remember that if you feel it is important, go ahead and do it in order to involve all your loved ones.
Bride And Groom
Young Bride
Wedding Theme Collage
Bridal Path
Groom Holding Wedding Bouquet