As one of the premier Wedding Photographers in Washington DC, it is always so touching to see the ways people incorporate their loved ones into their big day. I recently attended a wedding in which the bride’s mother had recently passed away. Of course, my friend had looked forward to her mom helping her plan the wedding and to see her sitting on the front row smiling with happy tears in her eyes as she said, “I do” to the one she would spend the rest of her life with. And although her mom could no longer physically attend, my friend made sure to include and honor her throughout the wedding.

The ribbons on her bouquet were pieces of her mother’s favorite dresses, and her mom’s picture sat in a little charm that held the flowers and ribbons together. The back of the program shared a beautifully written tribute, and they placed her picture with a glowing candle on a table where friends and family signed the guestbook. Her mother loved to have a good time, so they served her favorite wine and played a few of her favorite dancing songs at the reception. They did such an amazing job of weaving her memory throughout their wedding day that I thought I might share some of those ideas for couples who want to honor loved ones who left too soon.

Symbolic charms

You may not want a big production or a lot of attention, so for a subtler touch, adorn the bride’s bouquet or the groom’s shoes with tiny photos, charms or pins in memory of your loved one so they can stay close to you the entire day.

Reserve a seat

Want to make sure that they are remembered? Reserve a seat at the ceremony, and place a memento of theirs on the chair. You could use something as simple as a hat or scarf or something more unique that represents their personality such as their favorite pair of running shoes or their favorite flower.

Memorial table

In addition to leaving them a seat, you could set up a table in memory of your loved one. Place their photos and a candle on it along with a story or something about your loved one. You could also use the table to display the programs and guestbook to highlight their involvement in your big day.

Serve their favorite food or drink

Did you and your loved create memories while baking or catching up over a glass of wine? Serve their favorite food or drink. You could even share their favorite recipe on the dessert table with small samples as wedding favors.

Donations for a cause

Or, in lieu of wedding favors, you could have guests make donations in the name of your loved one to a cause that represents them or that they were passionate about.

Release balloons

As guests send you off as newlyweds, they could release balloons in your loved one’s favorite color to honor their memory at the same time. What a perfect way to end a day of celebration with your loved one close to your heart!

Are you recently engaged? Congrats! I’d love to chat about your photography needs!


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