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  • Taylor Bookmiller & Lauren LeRoy

Honoring Deceased Loved Ones at Weddings

So many of my couples tell me how excited they are to have all of their loved ones in one room together for their wedding. Often though there are important people in the couple's life that unfortunately passed before the wedding day. This is very near and dear to my heart as my dad passed away January 2019. I think a lot about how my wedding will be different without my dad and how to keep his memory alive that day. Since I am sure many of you want to honor loved ones in this way too I teamed up with Lauren LeRoy of Little Miss Funeral to bring you some ways to incorporate the memory of those who are no longer physically with us in your wedding.

Lauren is a Funeral Directory by trade and my ballet buddy by night. She runs her own youtube channel which I encourage you to check out if you are interested in learning more about her profession. You can also check out her blog that I linked above. Since, she has a lot of experience with memorializing the deceased I thought she would be able to add an important dynamic to our conversation.

Take a look over the ideas we came up with below. Hopefully, one or more will strike you as a good way to keep your loved one alive in your heart on your wedding day.


Pin a Photo to Your Bouquet, Boutonniere or Cufflinks

If you want to have the chance to "walk" down the aisle with your loved one this is a great option. Your florist would be happy to pin a photo of them to your bouquet or boutonniere. If photo cufflinks are more your style you can find a shop on to make them for you.

Photo by: Polka Dot Bride

Set Up a Memory Table

You have probably seen one of these at a wedding you have been to. They have photos of loved ones arranged on a table. Some people choose to add a sign that says something to the effect of we know you'd be here today if heaven weren't so far away to give context to the table. Another variation is to display generational photos of both sides of your families on their wedding days.

Reserve a Seat for Them

You can save a seat at the ceremony with a sign and a small bouquet. Others choose to save their loved one a seat at the reception. Regardless of if they are there in person you know they are there in your heart and dedicating them a physical space that day might help you feel more connected.

Photo by: Oh Best Day

Serve Their Famous Family Recipe

Be it at the dessert table or as a late night snack everyone will be sure to enjoy that recipe that your loved one was known for. If it isn't a closely guarded family secret you can have the ingredients and instructions printed on a card placed near the treat.

Include a Note on the Program

If you plan to pass out programs at the ceremony you can add a note on the back honoring those who have passed. This is an especially helpful was to make a gesture if you want to acknowledge several people who have impacted your life.

Photo by: Wedding Reception Ideas

Light a Candle in Remembrance

Often this is done at the ceremony. Another option is to have a candle burning at the memory table at the reception. Select the option that feels right to you.

Photo by: Blue Skys Paper

Make a Donation to a Charity

En lieu of a favor you can give a donation to a charity that was important to your loved one. Lots of couples will then leave a card on the guest tables at the reception explaining their decision. This is a wonderful way for your loved one to have a hand in making the future a brighter place.

Make Something Out of Her Wedding Dress

There are so many things you can make out of your mother, grandmother, or aunt's wedding dress. Some companies can make robes out of their wedding dress for you to wear before you get dressed. Other options are pocket squares, hankies, ring pillows, and bouquet wraps. You could also cut out a piece and sew it on your dress so you are "wearing their dress".

Photo by: Lindsy Steinberg Events

Play Their Favorite Song

This simple and uncomplicated way to honor their memory will be sure to touch your heart. Decide if you want to play their song at the ceremony or reception.


Working through grief is not black and white. It is not sad or happy. In fact, I find that it is often happy and sad at the same time. Don't be afraid to embrace that on your wedding day. Pick a way that is meaningful to you when memorializing your loved one at your wedding. I hope you feel their presence and their love on your big day.

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