Weddings are a joyous occasion. They’re a chance to celebrate with family and friends and get everyone together. When all of your loved ones can’t be in attendance, it can make your wedding day bittersweet. Many couples choose to honor late loved ones by setting up a display at their wedding or giving a speech in their honor. If you and your partner have lost relatives or friends you want to have at your wedding, consider honoring them in one of these ways.


Signs can draw attention to the guests who were unable to be with you on your big day. You can make it a small message you put on a table or a large sign you hang up in your venue. This sign can include your relative’s names, a simple message or a quote or bible verse.

lalte loved one wedding table
Photo via Pinterest


Display photos of your loved ones. Frame an individual photo of each family member, or make a photo board collage with pictures of your late loved ones. These frames can be displayed on a table with your guest book as a symbol that all of your guests are together, even if they are not together in person.  If you do not want to create a large display, consider attaching small frames around your bouquet with the photos of late relatives or a trinket from them. 

Photo via Pinterest
Photo via Pinterest



If you have many late friends and family who you wish were in attendance, set aside a table for them at your reception. This table can be at the ceremony or the reception. It can be off to the side of the room or a dinner table where a framed photo of each relative gets a seat. There’s no wrong way to honor your family.

Cambodian and Scottish wedding in Boston
Photo by Lovely Valentine Photography via Equally Wed



Whether you have one relative or many that you want to honor, burn a candle in their honor during your ceremony and/or reception. The burning flame will be a bright reminder that your loved ones are with you in spirit.

honor late loved ones at your wedding
Photo via Marcela Pulido


If you have an old piece of clothing from your loved one, consider cutting a heart or other patch out of it and sewing it into your wedding attire. This is a way to have your family close to your heart, and is a great option if you do not want to have a display for your deceased relatives at your wedding.

wedding dress
Photo by Tana Photography


Speech or prayer

If a visual honoring of your relatives is not your preference, include them in a prayer during your wedding ceremony or make a toast to them during your reception. Chances are many of your guests also know the friends and family you are honoring and may have a few kind words to add as well.