honor deceased at wedding

Honoring Those No longer With Us During Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Ceremony: How to Honor Deceased Relatives

I was very close to my grandmother, and I want her to be honored at my wedding. It is a casual outdoor wedding with about 125 guests. I have seen the idea of using flowers and such to do so and it has appeal. Another thought was pictures placed in antique frames, but that is a lot of frames.

Of the family on my side I have one remaining grandfather, and my mother’s parents have been dead for many years. My fiance’s grandparents on both side are also dead. I do not want to slight any of those I have never known nor the ones on his side, yet I do not want the area to look crowded, and it loose its meaning. Which brings me to another question where is a ideal place for such an honararium to be placed? There will be no altar and we will be married in front of a gazebo. Any ideas or advice you can offer would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance

Deacon Bob Tousey

This is a very common thought for people to have. The way I have handled this in the past is with a memorial candle. I normally have the lighting of the candle after the prayers and before the biblical readings this way they are lit at the time the rite of marriage begins but is far enough away in time that the two events are not “on top” of each other. I will say something like there are many very special people in the life of the bride and groom, some they knew others they learned about through the precious memory of others but all have helped shaped their lives. Many of the special people they knew are physically here today. Others have been called home. At this time the bride and groom wish to honor their grandparents who have been called home. _____ and ____ have their grandparents with them in their hearts and know they are here in spirit. ______ and _____ will now light a candle which will represent the presence of their grandparents during the Rite of Marriage.

I hope this helps. Best wishes and God Bless. Bob

I really appreciate your insight and think that is a lovely idea; however, it is an outdoor wedding. I really do not want the candles to blow out, and I have seen the nightmare that can happen with wind at outdoor weddings. Do you think something similar could be done in some way with flowers, or pictures in frames? If so, where would they be placed. I saw mention of a seperate table but not sure where that could be placed considering the bridesmaids and the fact the wedding will take place in front of a gazebo with not any additional room. Any ideas from your vast experience on a possible option?

Thank you in advance 🙂

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Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites, Inc®, a wedding planning guide, and Recent Mother of the Groom –

You could use a hurricane lamp cover over the candle if you still want to use this idea. You could place one rose bud into a special vase set out on a small folding table or even held by someone you care about. Then, you get to keep the vase as a lasting reminder of your tribute.

Memorial Bud Vase:

Share a commemorative moment at your wedding ceremony by placing a flower in this memorial bud vase, printed with sentimental words honoring a loved one.
In the wedding program mention your ceremony and aknowledge the deceased parent.


Reverend Susanna Stefanachi Macomb
Author of Wedding Celebrations, A Practical Guide for Couples

Many of my couples have often had memorial tables at services, sometimes right under the gazebo, sometimes to the side or outside of the gazebo. At one point, I might say: “This is the time where we remember those who have passed, for the grace with which we embrace life is always, always a measure of what has gone before (adapted from Alice Walker). Pictured here at this memorial table are (names). They are here in spirit. They remain in the hearts of those who love them. They are sorely missed.” Sometimes I say something more personal quoting the bride or groom. Sometimes I offer a quote in their honor.

Here is one of my favorites from my book:

Walking. Walking. Today I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be Still. They Say. Watch and Listen. You are the result of the love of thousands. (-Linda Hogan, a Native American Writer)

Another new and quickly becoming popular ritual for honoring those who have passed besides the memorial candle and memorial vase , is to have a ringing of bells for those who have passed. Outdoors this works expecially well.

Your grandparents would be proud, dear bride and groom.

I do believe they walk with you.

Love and Blessings,

Rev. Susanna

Reader Response

Thank you. This was far more along the lines of what I was looking for with my question being that it is an outside wedding. I love the idea of bells.


Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites, Inc®, a wedding planning guide, and Recent Mother of the Groom –

You can get wedding bells here.

Any thoughts on some words to say that would go along with the ringing of the bell.

Thank you in advance

Reverend Susanna Stefanachi Macomb
Author of Wedding Celebrations, A Practical Guide for Couples

I am so glad!

Your officiant can say something to the following:

At this time, we will have a ringing of bells in honor of the the souls that have gone before us, and who remain in our hearts (here you can mention names). We ask for a reverent silence as the bells are rung.


Rev. Susanna

Annemarie Juhlian, Wedding Officiant & Minister

For the ringing of the bell:

And now in honor of _______ who passed away on ______, let us remember this most beloved family member with a moment of silence, honoring the many gifts and profound legacy _______ left behind for his famlly and friends.

Thanks to you both for those great thoughts.