Honouring missing loved ones at life events

Weddings, birthdays and anniversaries are times to celebrate all that’s joyous about life, but for many there are bittersweet moments when thinking about loved ones who won’t be there to share in the day. With a little thought and a little time, there are so many ways to honour those who have passed on long before we were ready.


Before we move through a list of ways you might honour your deceased loved ones, there are a few things to consider first.

How recent is the loss? Where you, and others, are in the grieving process is likely to have a big impact on how emotional a tribute may become. Keep in mind that there are others feeling that loss too, but they may be processing it differently than you.

Should it be a private or public tribute? Everyone deals with loss differently – consider if your tribute should stay privately personal, or if you want a public message of love (or a combination). For any public tribute, you will need to make sure you let others affected by the loss know of your intentions ahead of time so they can prepare themselves.

What would the loved one(s) want? Consider the personality of your loved one, their hobbies, and what bonded the two of you. Taking a look at your relationship will help guide what might be most appropriate.

Some sweet private, and public, ways to honour the memory of cherished loved ones during festivities:

  • Wear a piece of their jewelry
  • Create crystal family photo ornaments, or charms, to hang from bouquets or centerpieces
  • Leave a photo, flower or something meaningful at the event to save a spot for them
  • A Photo wall or a memorial table displaying loved one’s photos
  • A balloon release or butterfly release at the at the end of a ceremony
  • Have a moment of silence and reflection to remember them before the ceremony or event begins
  • Raise your glasses in a toast at the start of the meal or reception, (keeping the speech short and sweet)
  • Offer little take home packets of Forget Me Not seeds to plant in honor of your loved one
  • Share a special family recipe by making a batch of your loved one’s famous treats
  • Japanese lantern lighting ceremony if your venue is by a body of water
  • Share a dance with the spouse of a missing parent or grandparent to a special song.

Don’t be afraid to incorporate little touches of beloved memories into big life events. It is very often those loved ones who helped shape us into who we are today and for that we honour them.