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Weddings are a celebration to be shared with those who are most important in your life. However, a wedding can be a bittersweet event when a special loved one has passed. We both lost grandparents before we got married – four to be exact – and in just the span of two years. When we planned out our wedding, it was important honor the memory our grandparents in our ceremony. And since we’ve been asked by a few couples for ideas, here’s a few ideas for honoring relatives at your wedding:

Program – Often couples will thank guests for attending and also mention the loved ones who were not able to celebrate with them but are with them in spirit.

Reserved Seats – We’ve been to a couple of weddings where a few seats in the front row have been set aside for relatives who have passed away or can’t make it to the ceremony. The seats will often have ribbons or flowers on them as well.

Something Old – Gwen wore her grandmother’s ring and a necklace that belonged to my grandmother on our wedding day. Other brides may wear a veil, brooch, or handkerchief that belonged to someone special. Michelle honored her father’s memory by wrapping his military tags around her bouquet.

Moment of Silence – This is a very simple but nice way to honor family members as part of the actual ceremony. A moment of silence can be incorporated into the opening prayers or as a standalone part of the ceremony. An amazing example of a Moment of Silence, and something that gives me goose bumps whenever I think about it, is our friend’s wedding, when she had a moment of prayer for her father, and as everyone prayed, this huge flock of seabirds rose up off the sand and flew right over the ceremony. A very magical moment.

Photos – Gwen and I chose this for our ceremony, where we brought along framed pictures of our grandparents to display off to the side during our ceremony. We had a small table set up with pictures of our loved ones looking over our ceremony. It felt like they were there with us and really made our ceremony that much more special. You can also incorporate photos in unique ways. Becky added a childhood photo of her and her grandmother on her handkerchief and Shannon had photos of her grandparents sewn into her dress!

Flowers or Candles – A few couples have chosen to light a candle or display a bouquet to represent their loved ones who have passed on.

Dove, Butterfly, or Balloon Release – During our wedding, our officiant read a passage about doves and announced that our dove release was in honor of our grandparents. Lisa and Bryan released balloons to honor the memory of their parents who had passed. It was such a beautiful and touching gesture of love.

In addition to honoring your relatives who have passed, you should also remember to honor your relatives who are still living, especially those who are present at your wedding. We’ve seen some sweet moments, like the bride’s grandfather giving the blessing for the dinner, the groom dancing with his grandmother, or the couple giving a toast to honor a special aunt or uncle.

Finding a way to honor the people who you’ve depended on and who have supported you throughout your life is an amazing opportunity for you to show your love to them and can really add a little extra something to your special day. What are some unique and touching ways that you have remembered love ones in your special day?

And to our grandparents, Gwen and I want to say that we love and miss you everyday.

4 Responses to “Wedding Wednesday | Honoring Loved Ones At Your Wedding | Jacksonville and Destination Wedding Photographers”

  1. Kristi Johansen says:

    We will be honoring our deceased parents at our daughter, their Granddaughter’s Nov 2011 wedding, by having a Fall floral arrangement at the head of the ceremony; Most likley, near/at the Sand Ceremony table. Then we’ll bring the floral arrangement indoors, to the reception area. We will probably make a notation in the wedding program as well.

  2. Ryan Labbe says:

    Trine and I had a butterfly release in honor of our donors. The butterfly is a symbol of organ donation.

  3. Administrator says:

    Ryan, that is such a beautiful idea! Really, I am just speechless!

  4. Shirley says:

    I’ll be threading a charm of a cocker spaniel in my bouquet to honor Michael’s grandmother. (It was her favorite breed of dog, his grandfather still has two.) We’re considering doing the sand ceremony and having a special color for each set of parents and grandparents, because without their guidance and love we wouldn’t be the people we are now.

    Also, Ryan, that is truly beautiful. I love it.

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