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Remembering Loved Ones at Wedding with a Memorial Table and More

My dad died when I was 2. My mom died when I was 10. These are my best wedding tips for deceased loved ones.

Remembering loved ones at your wedding is no easy feat. You want to include them thoughtfully and tastefully such as with a memorial table at wedding; yet you don’t want it to cloud one of the happiest days of your life, or worse, set you off in a crying frenzy and ruin your makeup. At least, that’s how I felt when I got married and wanted to honor both my deceased father and mother.

I found a few creative ways to remember a loved one without it overpowering the beauty of my wedding day. Both my mother and father were wholly included in my ceremony and reception in a way that it didn’t set me off in tears.

Here’s my personal suggestions on remembering loved ones at your wedding.

remembering loved ones at wedding
Photo by Tony & Olya at I Wanna Marry

Remembering Loved Ones at Wedding Ceremony

There are a handful of ways to remembered deceased relatives at your wedding ceremony without it clouding your special day. Here’s a few things I personally did at my Connecticut wedding and you might like!

Incorporating a Moment of Silence During the Ceremony

After we walked down the aisle and before we started our wedding ceremony readings, our officiant/mutual best friend welcomed and thanked everyone for joining us on such a joyous day. Along with this welcoming included a brief moment of silence for my mom and dad who couldn’t be with us.

Although Mike and I had both lost grandparents at the time of our wedding, we kept the moment of silence specifically from my mom and dad since their deaths had the most prominent impact in my life and because their absence was more significantly noted.

Besides this moment of silence in the beginning, we didn’t include them furthermore in our wedding ceremony readings to keep it focused on us.

If you’re curious, my brother walked me down the aisle, and we skipped the father/daughter dance. As a result, Mike also skipped the mother/son dance with his mom. If your father is deceased and you still want to have the dance, you can ask your brother, uncle, or even a close father figure. It’s all up to you!

Including Deceased Relatives Through a Wedding Program Memorial Message

remembering loved ones at wedding
Photo by Tony & Olya at I Wanna Marry

In the wedding program, we had a brief “in honor of” note where the parents of the bride are usually mentioned. Then in the back page of the white program insert (not the brown cover),  I wrote a personal letter to my parents about my wedding day, events leading up to it, and how they would’ve loved it.

I kept it pretty positive and also liked including something so personal that you didn’t really know was there unless you flipped through the program intentionally. It could’ve been easily missed, but that was sort of the intention; to have my words to my parents out there without having a huge emphasis on it.

DIY Wedding Programs How-to: I made the wedding programs myself with brown kraft paper, regular printer paper, and green twine to bind them.

Wearing a Special Token of Remembrance

remembering loved ones at wedding
Photo by Tony & Olya at I Wanna Marry

One of the most creative ways to honor someone and keep them extra close to you on your wedding day is by wearing a special token of remembrance for a lack of better words because there’s so many ways to go about this.

I personally got this multi-pocket locket that I could fit multiple photos in. I included a picture of not only my deceased father and mother, but also of my sister, brother, and me from the only family picture we have of all five us in it. Then my florist wrapped this locket chain around my bouquet.

Here are some budget options from Amazon:

Other creative ways to remember loved ones during your wedding ceremony by wearing a photo of them or something special of theirs is to:

  • Print a photo of them onto fabric and sew the photo into your dress.
  • Take a piece of clothing of theirs and sew a piece of it into your dress.
  • Wear something that was personal to them such as a piece of jewelry, handkerchief, or if you’re lucky enough to have a vintage styled one that fits, a wedding dress! It can count as both your ‘something old’ and ‘something borrowed’!

Bella Belle Booties on the left / Annalise Shoes on the right

Lastly, you can wear wedding shoe charms on your comfortable wedding shoes. They hang at the back of your shoes so will be a small and noticeable but personal touch.

Note: The wedding shoes I’m wearing are by Bella Belle Shoes. They have extremely comfortable handmade bridal shoes at reasonable prices!

They’re even comfortable for wide feet. You can read about my experience with these two pairs here.

Remembering Loved Ones at Wedding Reception

There’s a few more creative ways to remember a loved one at your wedding reception that can all center around a wedding memory table.Place this table by the guestbook and gifts area so you and your guests can thoughtfully be aware of it and nod to the memory without it being fully present near you at the reception. That’s what I did!

Wedding Memorial Table Ideas

Place an ‘In Loving Memory Wedding’ Sign

remembering loved ones at wedding

All of our family was very respectful in the fact that I wanted to keep the wedding memory table purely focused on my parents and not grandparents and other relatives. I kept it simple and placed a wedding memorial sign that I made myself and inserted into a picture frame on the table.

How to Make a Wedding Memorial Sign

  1. Get a photo frame you love. For something similar to mine, get these baroque ornate frames and spray paint them sage green.
  2. Print out this wedding memorial sign verbiage (that’s the same one as above without the custom wording on the bottom) on letter-sized paper.
  3. Cut it around the gray lines.
  4. Put the 4×6 wedding memorial wording into your photo frame.

Download the wedding memorial verbiage here! If you use this, DM me on Instagram. I’d love to know!

Print Out Photos of Your Loved Ones

I didn’t put my mother and father’s photos on the wedding memory table to keep it simple, but I did have a separate section of all immediate family members’ photos altogether. That way, it felt like, “This is my whole family, and we’re altogether.” There was no separation of alive or deceased relatives.

Nonetheless, it’s very popular to put photos of your deceased loved ones on the wedding memory table itself. You can include as many relatives as you want, or like me, only the few that you’ve had a close relationship with. It’s your wedding so do your thing!

You might also like: Actually Comfortable, Beautiful Wedding Shoes

Lighting a Remembrance Candle on the Memorial Table at Wedding

wedding memory table wedding remembrance table

An added touch of magic you can add to your memorial table is a remembrance candle. It looks great as it flickers throughout the reception in addition to being a sweet reminder of your loved ones at the wedding.

If your wedding reception hall doesn’t allow candles or you just don’t want to worry about flame-lit objects at your reception, then you can easily grab a battery-operated candle to use. My friend used battery-operated tea lights at all her tables, and in the dim-lit night, they all looked fantastic.

You can even go a step further with your ‘In Memory’ candle by placing it inside this candle holder or on top of a decorative plate. This creative way to remember loved ones is totally up to you.

Adding a Personal Touch at the Wedding Memory Table

remembering loved ones at wedding
Mike, my in-laws, brother, sister, and me | Photo by Tony & Olya at I Wanna Marry

I kept my memorial table at wedding simple with a ‘In Loving Memory’ wedding sign, a remembrance candle, and last but not least, a bouquet of roses. I specifically chose roses because those were my mother’s favorite flowers so it was a very personal nod to my mother that only my brother, sister and I knew inherently. It sort of represented unspoken bond between her and us, her children.

My sister also folded a bunch of paper cranes because cranes represent something good for Korean weddings. She sprinkled them around the whole wedding as decoration, which I thought was sweet because I could be the least Korean person that ever existed having been born and raised in America, but it was nice touch to remind us where our parents came from.

You can actually get already folded paper cranes on Amazon now! No need to do them yourself. Wow– what a time to be alive.

Whether your way of remembering loved ones at a wedding involves something as simple as a sweet photo of them or as extensive as placing throughout the entire ceremony and reception, know that they are always in your heart and want you to be happy as you can on your special wedding day!

I thank you so much for making it all the way to the bottom of this very personal how-to piece of mine. If you’ve made it here and found some of my suggestions to be helpful, I’d love for you to say hello to me on Instagram.

Have a great day! xo.

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Remembering Loved Ones at Wedding


Friday 12th of November 2021

Thank you for this. It was a nice article for me personally and I benefited from it. Keep posting and we love to hear more from you.


Wednesday 24th of April 2019

Thanks for this post. I'm using your memorial sign/table display as inspiration for my wedding. Where did you get your lantern decor from?



Wednesday 24th of April 2019

Hey Ashley! The wedding venue provided that for us but there are some pretty ones on Amazon if you search for "antique candle lantern" or perhaps "rustic candle lantern" would work better. Best of luck!!!

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