Let’s talk about wedding day memorials

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Photo by Heidi N Photography

It's Memorial Day here in the US, so we thought we'd take this time to talk one difficult reality of many folks' wedding days. Sometimes weddings can be a painful reminder of the absence of loved ones… but they can also be a beautiful opportunity to memorialize those family and friends who have passed away.

One Offbeat Bride added these little photo charms of her Dad and Mamaw to her bouquet. Or how Offbeat Bride reader Breanna Scott commented recently:

I'm cutting apart my bouquet and giving it to all of the vets at my wedding in honor of my dad who was a vet and passed in April of colon cancer.

For those of you who have lost someone you love, you have our sympathies… and our ideas about how you can memorialize your loved ones at your wedding.

Offbeat Bride reader kimberhill says, “We wanted to honour his dad who passed away several years ago without it being too overwhelming for guests. We found an Etsy seller who put a photo onto a charm and we then had a friend make the paper flower boutonniere and combined the 2 elements.”

You could honor your departed loved ones by saving them a seat at your ceremony and/or reception.

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Set up an altar to display framed photos of your loved ones.

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Photo by Becca Riedell

Offbeat Bride reader Lindyshoes' grandma was an avid seamstress, so the buttons looped around the wedding bouquet was Lindy's tribute to her grandma.

Create a secret letter memorial, like Tribesmaid Inthecorridors‘ very sweet little flower memorial for her grandmother.

This two-sided wedding memorial locket works great on a bouquet

Print photos of your lost loved ones for your memorial candles.

Walk down the aisle with a memorial bouquet that includes a photo of the person who would have escorted you.

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This necklace from Etsy seller GreenGrassGifts has a piece of lace from a wedding dress embedded inside resin. You could wear a piece of your late mother's or grandmother's wedding dress around your neck. More memorial jewelry ideas over here.

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I love this idea from Offbeat Bride Beth:

One of the most meaningful moments to me was the moment I showed my mother my bouquet. My father died when I was 14, but I still wanted to make sure he walked down the aisle with me, so I'd tied his signet ring into the middle of my bouquet. When mum saw it her face just lit up.

 

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No big deal, just crying over this wedding memorial candle

Light a candle (or several) in honor of those who can't be there. Like Jess B's sweet photo and candle altar she set up for her step dad who passed away five weeks before the wedding.

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Photo by Beatrice Katcher and Michelle Awe

The trumpet on the chair memorial is perhaps the most tear-inducing. Ashley explains:

Four and a half years ago we lost our newborn son, a week after he was born… We named him Miles Davis, and about a year after he passed we found this sweet toy trumpet in a vintage shop. At the ceremony, we had a tiny chair with his trumpet on it. There was also a piano in the venue that we set up as a memorial for him, with his pictures, the cast of his feet, a baby blanket I had crocheted, and all the trumpets we have been collecting over the years. Being able to acknowledge him, and the gifts he'd given us, meant so much.

 

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Not quite seeing something that might work for you wedding? Check out our archive of wedding memorials.

So what ways are you, or have you, memorialized your loved ones on your wedding day?

Comments on Let’s talk about wedding day memorials

  1. I absolutely LOVE all of these ideas! I have been trying to figure out how to honor my mom on my wedding day and these just gave me some great ideas!

    • I’m finding it hard to honour my Mum at the wedding too. I hope you find a way that works for you xx

  2. These are all great ideas!

    I got married 5/18/2013. My husband’s mother passed away after a 6 month illness on 2/2/2013. I know that although he played it down some, her absence was felt that day…by both of us. We had a memorial candle with his parent’s wedding photo (they are both deceased) on a table next to where we were married and we honored them at the beginning of the ceremony.

    My sister-in-law also did this amazing thing where she had a handkerchief made from a portion of my mother-in-law’s wedding dress and I carried that around my wedding bouquet. It was a special way to connect me to her on that day.

  3. This is exactly the kind of post I need. We have lost too many people close to us; among them being my first fiance and his wife (that initial “I understand what you’re going through” is what we originally bonded on). I was trying to think of a way to include them on our day because without them, we wouldn’t be the people we are today, in turn meaning we might not have been right for each other. Some of these ideas would be so perfect for us, thanks for this post!

    • Thank you for posting this. I lost my first husband at the same time my boyfriend’s wife left him. Our previous relationships are eerily similar and we bonded over finally finding someone who knew what the other was going through. Not sure we’ll ever get married, but we’ve talked about having a commitment ceremony, and I’ve wondered how I would incorporate my late husband into the day. I absolutely believe that without our previous relationships, we wouldn’t have been the people we are today, and may not have been right for each other.

  4. My parents both passed before I met my husband. They had a seat, a bench my Dad had made. My sister made a quilt square of their favorite shirts which she placed on the bench during the processional. My parents oldest siblings placed carnations for them in their memory. We listed grandparents from both sides and my parents names in the program.
    We had our ceremony on a covered bridge. During the ceremony, until the “now pronounce…”, there was a gentle “farmers rain”. We call it “Tears from Heaven”.

  5. I think the link to the other wedding memorials is broken? It doesn’t work for me.

  6. My mother passed away when I was 3 and, more recently, my father passed just 10 months after I began dating my FH. To honor their memory, we’re getting married on their anniversary (6/12). At the venue, we will have memorial candles with photos of them next to their wedding album from 1971! They would have been married 42 yrs! We also have an “In Loving Memory” section in our wedding day program.
    Good luck to you all and I hope you all can find the perfect way to memorialize your loved ones!

  7. I liked seeing a few puppy pictures up there. It’s nice to be able to remember our fur-kids during our wedding.

    We got clay figurines of all our cats for our wedding cake and included an angel cat for my baby who died a few months before the wedding.

  8. We are memorializing lost loved ones in a number of ways at our wedding- first, a short mention at our ceremony. Our guestbook table will feature wedding photos of parents and grandparents. I’m wearing jewelry belonging to one of my grandmothers, and using vintage goods inherited from or made by lost relatives in our decor.

    The biggest tribute at our wedding is definitely that we are having our ceremony and reception at my grandfather’s home. He built the home to my late grandmother’s dream home specifications, so it’s the best way to feel close to her on that day!

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