When Your Joy is Sprinkled with Tears


Honouring Those Who Have Passed at Your Wedding


Remembering Those You Have Lost on Your Special Day

Next to the birth of a new baby, there is no happier event than a wedding. Two people holding hands and taking a big leap into the future together shouts hope and optimism.

But a wedding can also be a sad occasion when it reminds us of those who are gone and not able to share in the happy celebration. In fact a wedding is often when we feel the sting of loss most deeply.

Here are a few suggestions to help you acknowledge and honour those who have passed without casting a dark cloud on your happy day.

• Prince William honoured his late mother in spectacular fashion when he proposed to Catherine Middleton with Diana’s iconic sapphire engagement ring. Heirloom jewellery – perhaps a special brooch attached to the bridal bouquet or great-Aunt Eleanor’s art deco pearl and diamond earrings –  subtly worked into your bridal ensemble are perfect symbols of family and continuity.

• During the ceremony you can light a single commemorative candle of remembrance. The significance of this gesture could be explained in your wedding programme or announced by the officiant.

• Leave a chair in the front row unoccupied to symbolize missing loved ones. At the end of the service the bride may place a single rose on the chair as a gesture of remembrance.

Look closely at this groom’s boutonniere and you’ll see a silver charm engraved with his late mother’s initial.

It was a subtle and elegant way to say she was still very close to his heart.

Honouring Deceased Family Members at Your Wedding

Image by Marta Hewson

This couple chose to simply display photographs of deceased relatives in a prominent place, a popular choice for many couples.

The gift table or guest book signing table are good locations for a photo display.


• A bride or groom may choose to say a few words of remembrance during their speeches. Ask your MC or a special family member to be on standby should your emotions take over leaving you unable to carry on.

• Your musical choices can be a small nod to a late parent. Did Dad have a favourite song? Play an instrumental version during your ceremony. Did your late Mother love 70s R&B? Select a soulful ballad from that era as your first dance.

The tribute doesn’t have to be long or excessively showy. Sweet and simple is all you need.

When you honour loved ones who are gone you provide a tender moment of reflection and remembrance that respects their memory but doesn’t overshadow the happy occasion you have all joined together to celebrate. Yes, there may be a few tears. And that’s OK.

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