Let’s talk about wedding day memorials

Posted by
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.


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

grandma's buttons
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.


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.


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.


[Read more]

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.

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.


[Read more]

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?

Meet your new BFF wedding vendor

Trending with our readers

Comments on Let’s talk about wedding day memorials

  1. Thank you for this! I’ve been trying to figure out a way to honor my mom who passed away when I was 21. I was going to do the empty seat thing, but may include the letter in my bouquet.

  2. My grandad passed away 4 years ago just before my cousin’s wedding. They lit a candle during the ceremony for all those who couldn’t be with us. FH and I are getting married on what would have been his 90th birthday and think it’s a nice way to remember him (since we are having a very minimal ceremony)

  3. 3 out of 4 of my grandparents have passed away, plus one of my cousins. I was very close to all of them so I am including them in a few ways. I have been given my Nana’s wedding dress that I am allowed to do what I please with it. There was a strip of lace along the bottom of it that I have unpicked and am wrapping it around my bouquet. I have also cut out a piece of it (Nana had already attacked it with the scissors) in to the shape of a heart. I have also been allowed to unpick the lining of my Grandad’s favourite hat that I have cut in to the shape of a heart and have been given one of my other Grandad’s shirts that I have also cut in to the shape of a heart. The three hearts are being stitched together to the inside of my dress where my heart is. I am also going to create my bridal hanky (and one for my flowergirl – my Nana’s great grandaughter) out of Nana’s wedding dress.

    I am having a Catholic wedding so a prayer will be said and a candle lit at the start of the ceremony and before we say Grace at the start of the reception.

    I am also having a memorial table at the reception saying ‘We know you would be here if heaven weren’t so far away’.

    • My older brother walked me down the aisle and we did a brother/ sister dance. I went through a lot of options but decided on “Lean on Me”. Straight to the point and just a great song.

  4. I wanted to share this idea I had for honoring departed family members. My fiance’s parents have both passed away and it is important to me to have them at our wedding. I found these glass vials in the jewelry section at Michael’s and I put a bit of each of his parent’s ashes in them so I can attach the vials to my bouquet. I know it might be a bit morbid to some, but we are very aware of and comfortable with death in our relationship. And we are getting married in a cemetery, so it seemed even more fitting.


  5. It was important to us to have a way to honor those who had passed before we got married… especially since my best friend had passed away before he was able to be my “Man of Honor”. So, we went with something simple. It was a framed paper with a vase next to it with roses – one for each person.

    So we went with this:

    “We would like to remember our loved ones who are surely here in spirit today:

    Name they were known by – who they are.

    “Forever you’re a part of me, forever in the heart of me” “

  6. My husband and I felt it was important to use to honor our loved ones who were no longer with us as well. My husband’s best friend passed away suddenly before he even got to ask him to be his best man. My grandmother also passed away before our wedding. My aunt had given me a pin that belonged to my grandmother and it was perfect, it was a circle with alternating red and purple stones (our color were red and purple), I pinned it onto the stem of my bouquet. My husband’s family owns a print shop so we took in his favorite picture of his best friend and had it converted into a large canvas. He built a wooden easel so we could display it on a special table that was set up. It turned out very beautiful. We also wrote our own ceremony and had a small moment for those who were not with us.

  7. Love these suggestions! My hubs knew I was sad about my grandma not being at our wedding so for the Valentines Day before our wedding he gave me a locket with her picture in it so I could have her with me all day. When my brother got married I did the same for him with a pocket watch rather than a locket.

  8. My paternal grandparents passed away 11 months before my husband and I got married, We was really close to them and it was devastating that we weren’t able to physically share my big day with them. As a memorial, we filled their lolly jar with jelly beans, had it at the church during the ceremony and had small versions of the same jar as bonbonnaires. It was our way of sharing a bit of the people who had meant so much to me and my husband.

  9. I had a friend with floral arranging experience put together the bouquets. I had scoured sales for high quality artificial flowers for months before passing them over to her. We took a brooch that belonged to my grandmother and that was meaningful to me even before the wedding and stuck it into the ribbon tying the bouquet together. To the guests at the wedding, it was a piece of pretty bling, but to me it was a way of having my late grandmother with me and it continues to make my bouquet and the photos of it much more special.

Read more comments

Comments are closed.