How to Remember and Honor the Deceased at Your Wedding

by Kathryn Walsh ; Updated September 28, 2017

Use your wedding to honor loved ones that have passed on. Although your wedding day should be joyous, participating in activities that honor deceased friends and family members may bring on tears. Practice each tribute at your wedding rehearsal. Let yourself cry or be sad about the absence of these people at that time. Allowing yourself to mourn during the rehearsal can help alleviate some of the pain on the wedding day itself.

Write the names of your deceased loved ones in the wedding programs. List the names of all these people under a heading that states, "In Loving Memory." Include a few words about each person's relationship to the bride or groom, since not all guests will know who these people were.

Wear items that belonged to those who have passed on. Put on your late grandmother's earrings or carry your grandfather's pocket watch during the wedding.

Use the wedding bouquet to honor your relatives. Include one white rose for each person you've lost. These flowers symbolize honor and reverence. Give the groom a boutonniere made from a single white rose if he has a deceased relative he wants to honor.

Ask the officiant to mention your relatives during the ceremony. Write lines for him to recite that pay tribute to those you've loved and lost. If the officiant knew your loved ones, ask him to share his own personal recollections of them.

Light a candle of remembrance. Light one candle together in honor of everyone you've lost. Ask other family members to come up to the altar and light one candle for each person who has died.


  • Limit most of the mentions of the deceased to the ceremony, since this is a more serious part of the wedding than the reception. At the reception, you may choose to briefly mention the deceased in a toast to the crowd before returning to more cheerful subjects.

    If a close family member passed away due to cancer or some other disease, consider making a donation to a charity devoted to fighting the disease in place of giving out guest favors. Type up a small card to place on each table explaining your choice.

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About the Author

Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.