There’s no occasion quite as memorable and beautiful as a wedding, the celebration of two people and their families coming together. But there’s a bittersweet edge to every big day, in the sadness that comes with some of our loved ones no longer being with us to celebrate. After all, our remembrance and love for those who’ve passed on stays with us long after the funeral – in many ways it’s during life’s happier milestones that we think of them more than ever.
Here are some touching wedding remembrance ideas to make your lost loved ones a part of your special day.
Beautiful and unique wedding remembrance ideas for your big day
1. Something old or blue
Tradition holds that every bride needs something old or blue, and this presents the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to those no longer with us.
Why not have a piece of your loved one’s favourite item of clothing sewn into the inside of the wedding dress as your ‘something old’? Similarly, you can commemorate your lost grandfather, uncle or other close male relative by wrapping the bouquet itself in an old (or blue!) tie of his – a sentimental yet stylish touch.
Rich in sentimental value, it’s no surprise that jewellery is such a culturally ingrained way of expressing our feelings and commitment to our loved ones. On your big day, this can mean wearing one of your beloved grandmother’s necklaces as a beautiful vintage piece, or even making your own statement bracelet using a simple gold or silver chain threaded around your wedding band. Incorporating our loved ones’ jewellery – and wedding bands especially – into the ceremony is a subtle yet elegant acknowledgement of our ongoing connection with them, even after they have passed.
3. Family heirlooms
One creative spin I saw on a family heirloom was when a bride used a beautiful hand-crafted ceramic vase that had been in her family since the late 1800s as a sculptural cake-topping centrepiece on the wedding cake. But even for those of us whose families don’t have treasured heirlooms lying around, you can apply the concept by using one of your deceased loved one’s cherished possessions in the decorations or bouquet.
4. Photographic tributes
Another increasingly popular option is creating a photographic memorial at weddings for loved ones. This doesn’t have to mean the standard powerpoint presentation of photographs, either. For instance, you may like to create a memory board of images, including old wedding photos – a way of remembering loved ones’ weddings as well – and a special message to be on display at the reception. You could also incorporate photos on tiny locket frame charms into your bouquet or as locket cufflinks, or have the deceased’s image on the registry table during the signing of the wedding certificate to make sure they’re part of your certificate signing photos.
5. Charity donations
Another way to honour their memory is through charitable donations to the causes they held dear. Instead of a wedding gift or wishing well, you may like to suggest that your guests donate to a cause that was important to your loved one, or make a charitable donation yourself in their name in lieu of a wedding gift.
6. The first dance
One of the most moving parts of every wedding ceremony is the couple’s first dance, and we all know music is a powerful force for memories and feelings throughout our lives. If you share your loved one’s favourite song, why not choose this for your first dance, or have it performed by a musician on the day?
7. Save a seat
Sometimes it’s only when it comes to scheduling the seating plan that the loss really hits us. So long as it’s not too recent a bereavement, you may like to make a symbolic gesture to those no longer with us by reserving them a place at the wedding service – with their photograph, one of their prized possessions or, perhaps most elegantly, a single stem of their favourite flower.
8. Wedding speeches
Storytelling is an important way to remember our loved ones at any noteworthy occasion and celebration, and reception speeches are no exception. Paying tribute to the deceased with a toast is another respectful acknowledgement.
9. Favourite flower
The average bride spends hours choosing the perfect wedding colour palette, but this is an easy factor to consider: incorporating your loved one’s favourite flower into the bouquet or cufflinks makes for a touching floral tribute.
10. Light a candle
Last but not least, lighting a candle during the ceremony in memory of loved ones who have passed on is a beautiful wedding tribute to deceased family and friends – expressing that they are there in spirit if not in person.
Over to you
Weddings are a celebration of love — the love between two people and also the love of lost ones, who’ve shaped you to be who you are. There are so many ways to make your big day a unique and special event, bringing together all the people you love and care about. To help you plan the perfect celebration, we’ve created a complimentary wedding checklist — download your free copy below.