Introduction Excerpted from Zola:

Your wedding day is a joyous occasion, but it can be difficult to celebrate in the absence of a loved one. It’s completely valid to feel the weight of the loss of a cherished friend or family member even amid such a happy time, and choosing to include a meaningful moment or gesture in your wedding is a beautiful way to honor their memory.

There are many ways to pay tribute to a deceased loved one at your wedding, and how you do it is completely personal—some might favor a public commemoration, while others might prefer a more private moment. Before you decide, it’s wise to consider the appropriateness of your idea based on your unique circumstances. This includes:

  • The deceased person’s relationship to you and your partner
  • The date of your wedding (some memorial ideas might be difficult if the death occurred close to your wedding day)
  • The wishes of anyone close to the deceased (it’s important to discuss with anyone who might be sensitive to death)
  • Religious or cultural considerations

The best plan of action when choosing a wedding memorial idea is to discuss it with those directly involved before a decision is made. Though your intentions may be good, it’s the most considerate approach.

If you’re all on the same page, and you’re looking for unique wedding memorial ideas, browse these creative ways to honor loved ones who have passed at your wedding, or jump straight to the infographic below.

Wedding Memorial Table

There are fifty-six ideas to include the memory of your loved one in the ceremony, reception, and even other places during your wedding day.  Click here for a list of all the ideas.  I’ve included a few of the ideas below to give you a couple of example to potentially use on your wedding day!

A Couple of Wedding Memorial Ideas for the Ceremony from Zola

Reserve a Seat in Their Honor

Keep your loved one’s memory close by reserving a seat for them up front in their honor. You might choose to place their photo in the seat, or another personal item that holds sentimental value.

Light a Candle During the Service

Candles are a beautiful way to pay homage to late loved ones and help signify that while their physical presence is missed, they’re still there in spirit. Light a candle in their memory during your ceremony—you can work with your officiant or wedding planner for help with where to include the special moment in your order of service.

A Couple Wedding Memorial Ideas for the Reception from Zola

Display Framed Family Photos

Displaying framed photos of your late loved ones is a beautiful and thoughtful way to honor them and make them a part of your special day. Frame a selection of your favorite photos, then create an installation on your guestbook table so your guests can see and appreciate it, too.

Play Their Favorite Song

Is there a particular song or artist that meant a lot to your loved one or simply reminds you of them? Use that tune or collection of tunes in your wedding reception playlist in their honor.