Wedding Ceremonies | Acknowledging & Honoring a Deceased Parent

honoring and acknowledging a deceased parentWhen a parent or other close relative has passed away, it’s important to find an appropriate way to remember, acknowledge, and honor them without ruining the joyous tone of your wedding ceremony. After all, a wedding is a celebration, and while a missing parent is certainly sad, it shouldn’t overpower the wedding day.  Acknowledging and Honoring a deceased parent can help everyone feel everyone feel joyful for your event and at the same time remember the missing family member.

Ask your Officiant to include the names of your parents or family in a special prayer. Many times family members that have recently passed away may be mentioned in a prayer, but it can also be used for anyone you want mentioned in a special way.

Silent Blessing (Optional)

We now close our eyes and bring to mind any loved ones who could not be here today. Though they are absent physically, we invoke, through our thought and prayers, their loving presence. We pray that God might multiply beyond measure the blessings from these loved ones to this loving couple, and any children who might one day be a part of this union. Now, from our hearts, we ourselves visualize and sanctify all the blessings we would bestow on (Brides Name) and (Grooms Name) in their lives as a couple and a family. And in our sincere desire to bless, we in turn, are blessed also. Blessed Be.


OFFICIANT:  As you know BRIDE’S FATHER left this earth a few months ago and now BRIDE would like to speak and honor her father’s part in her life.
BRIDE:  I want to thank you, my dear father, for being there so much of my life.  You were always there for me and I miss you so very much.  It saddens me so much to know that you are not here to walk me down the aisle. I promise to honor your importance in my life by following the path you led me down. I want you to know that as I am here today, I am thinking of you, and I will always be thinking of you.

Other ways to honor a deceased parent or relative:

Set up a special small table at the wedding reception with a flower arrangement and a card saying “In memory of those loved ones who are not with us today” or more specifically, “In memory of Martina Jensen, mother of the bride.” You could also put a picture of the bride or groom with the deceased person you are honoring.

At the wedding reception, display wedding pictures of family members, or pictures of loved ones with the bride/groom. This is a more subtle way of including the dead in your day.

Wear a piece of jewelry or article of clothing. (For example your mother’s wedding dress, your father’s cuff links, or your grandfather’s signet ring).

Carry the same flowers that your mother had in her bouquet.

At the end of the wedding program, it is appropriate to add a memoriam line. For example, you might write “Today we honor those who could not be with us, especially the bride’s stepmother Alison Janet Brooks.”

If the person who is conducting the ceremony is someone who knew the deceased relative, it might be appropriate for him/her to say something during the ceremony – particularly if they are saying a homily or other sermon-like speech. They might say “Today, we have come together to celebrate the love of these two people and the life they are building together. As many of you know, the groom’s father recently passed away. And in times like these, it can be more important than ever to honor love and family. I know (groom’s father) was so happy to see (groom) find the love he has with (bride). Although it would be easy for his recent death to make this a sad occasion, (Groom’s father) would want to see you all so happy today,celebrating and full of joy. So today, let’s remember how precious life is, and be thankful that (bride and groom) are creating a new family together.”

Readers at had some great ideas about how to honor a dead parent. Here are some of their ideas:

Barbara says “My father died about 8 months before my wedding, so he couldn’t walk me up the aisle. I walked up alone, and carried one of his silk handkerchiefs – boy did I need it.

Max suggested the bride dance with her mother for the father-daughter dance, to her late-father’s favorite song.

Joan says “My older brother will stand in for my dad who died 2 years ago.We will play a special song by Heartland “I loved her first” I am getting married Dec. 23, 06 to my best friend.”

Robin suggests leaving empty chairs for favorite deceased relatives at the wedding ceremony.

Melissa had lots of great suggestions: 1)placing photo charms of loved ones in the bride’s bouquet. 2)lighting candles during the wedding ceremony for each of the deceased relatives. 3)a son standing in for his grandfather in walking the bride down the aisle and during the traditional father-daughter dance.

At her wedding, Ria set a table with a photograph of her deceased parents, a button holer, a corsage and two candles. The following day she placed her head table’s floral arrangement on their graves, along with a wedding photo.

Shelby plans to honor her beloved grandfather by displaying his WWII flag at her wedding.

Cyndy plans to incorporate her father’s wedding ring into her bouquet.

Kristin will honor her father, who coached her soccer team, by wearing shinguards under her wedding dress!

Related posts:

  1. Parental Honoring Readings | Parts of a Wedding Ceremony
  2. The Wedding Processional | Traditional & Alternative Ideas | Parts of a Wedding Ceremony
  3. Wedding Ceremonies | The Hand Blessing Ceremony | Optional
  4. Candle Lighting Ceremony |Unity| Parts of a Wedding Ceremony

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