How to honor a lost loved one at a wedding? Please help!?

I lost my older brother one month ago. He was 27 and had cancer. He and I were extremely close. He was the first one I called when I set my wedding date, and I had planned on him being a huge part of my special day. Now that he is gone, I do not want my day to not include him in some way. Do you have any suggestions for how I can honor him on this day? I have heard of remembrance candles and tables, but I am hoping for some more unique ideas. Thanks so much!


Wow, thanks to everyone for all the great ideas! I realize my wedding day is one to be happy and joyous- and it will be! I just want a nice way for him to be included to make myself and my fiance feel as though he is still a part of the big day!

42 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I just got choked up reading your question because I went through the same thing.

    I lost my big brother (27 also) to cancer in March. At my wedding in July, the priest said a prayer for him during the Mass. It was important to me that he was mentioned because my brother was to be best man and give me away. Both my husband and I were very close to him.

    If you are not comfortable with the prayer, maybe you could have a favorite song of his played in his honor. I also like the idea of lighting a candle during the ceremony.


  • 1 decade ago

    You can have a short video of pictures of your brother when he was young up until the most recent. Find some with both you and he together set to happy music. Present this at the reception. Just take a few minutes to mention your brother before dinner is served. Appoint one person to stand up and do this; it could be a close friend of your brother, the maid of honor or the groom. Remember no longer than 1-3 minutes. The video should have happy music (no lyrics) playing in the background and pick the most happiest pictures of your brother. After the video have the DJ or band play something uplifting. Congrats on your marriage.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Did your brother have a long time, close buddy; someone who knew him well? Maybe someone he was friends with from grade school?

    If so, maybe this friend could "stand in" for your brother in some parts of the wedding. He could wear a small button that had a picture of your brother. Perhaps he could be an usher, or even a groomsman. He could be introduced as "Joe, standing in for my brother, Mark. They were good buddies".

    If that is not feasible, make sure that the person officiating the wedding includes a paragraph about your brother and how much he is missed at this joyous event.

    Just a thought. May you have many happy years of married life.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    sorry for your loss sweetie, such a horrid disease! however you don't' want to turn this day of joy and happiness into a sombre memorial for him. and he wouldn't want you to do it either.

    so, you could at the reception make a toast to him. also instead of having your guests 'clink' their glasses every time they want to see the bride and groom kiss they would have to make a buck or two donation to your charity - the cancer society!

    we have seen this done several times and it is always a huge hit and a good moneymaker for the charity.

    the bride and groom usually put a tall glass vase on the head table with a couple of bucks in it and the m.c. makes a bit of an announcement telling folks this is how it will work and all monies will go to the cancer society.

    people react very generously to this and every wedding we've been to has collected several hundred dollars - its done in a fun and playful way so that even though you are doing it to honor your brother it isn't a sad and morbid occasion! the antics of the bride and groom are always fun to watch.

    what better way to honor him than to collect funds in an effort to find the cure and to ensure that in the future others will survive this horrible disease. you could also give up 'favours' and donate that money as well - your m.c. could annouce that at the same time. you will be a hero to the cancer society, to those patients they help, as well as to your friends and family!

    good luck to you, stand tall and proud at your wedding - that's what he would want - and if you look quickly over your shoulder you'll see him standing there smiling at your joy! happy wedding sweetie!

    edit: as a cancer survivor myself i can tell you the money collected does a world of good - ten years ago folks with my cancer generally passed away, but because money from donations was there for research - - i am here!

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  • 1 decade ago

    I lost my dad several years ago to cancer as well so I understand what you are going through. I too wanted my dad to be a big part of my wedding. I would say try to think of something like a remembrance candle but put a personalized twist on it, like try to do something that was really special to your brother. My dad use to sing you are my sunshine to me when I was a little girl, so my husband and I had our first dance to you are my sunshine. We also took a moment of silence before the ceremony started, the preacher said we would like to take a moment to remember Virginia's loving father, then there was silence. I know its hard to hear people tell you don't be sad on that day because that special person isn't there but its true, it was very hard for me to not be sad but my dad would have wanted the day to be about me not about him not being there. Good luck and I hope you have an amazing wedding.

  • 4 years ago

    Pictures do not always need to be creepy. We had a virtual photo body set to "shuffle" with all older pics of beyond weddings in our household which integrated household contributors who had been not with is. It grew to become whatever unhappy (no longer having our spouse and children there) into whatever fine (celebrating marriage). I feel probably the most preferred factor to do is go away a chair empty for a deceased relative, even though I discover that style of morbid.

  • Mickey
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    RN2B said exactly my words. Have an empty chair (or spot in the pew) and place a single red rose on it. You may also have your minister or officiate at the wedding make a short announcement. When I got married my father was desceased. Each of my 3 brothers walked me down the aisle to the next. My youngest brother started out and right before we entered the church leaned over and whispered "By the way, I'm wearing dad's shoes" Talk about emotional but happy all at the same time. If there's a tie, shoes or other piece of your "brother" which your dad (or whomever walks you down the aisle) can wear, that will also serve a purpose in your heart.

  • 1 decade ago

    You could even dedicate a reading to hm or if you are doing it with a priest there is a time during the petitions and I think one other point where loved ones are honored. I wouldn't do too much with the candles because it is supposed to be a happy time or you could even announce him during the toasts or just make an announcement during the reception for a moment of silence, or mention him in some way, it doesn't have to be about his passing, maybe something he said. Even when people enter the church or reception area you can have a picture with a sign that may say in loving memory or have the money people give you or ask for donations to the American cancer society. Ask for your family's advice as well and your fiance's and what they would be comfortable with and ideas that they have.

    I am very sorry for your loss and congratulations on your engagement, Best wishes and god bless.

  • 1 decade ago

    My husband and I each bought 2 red roses. His two were for his grandparents, mine were for my brother and grandpa. When our mother's were escorted down the isle, they placed the roses up at the front table with the unity vase. (We poured sand into a vase instead of using candles, it was an outdoor wedding.) The next day we took the flowers to the cemeteries and made some long over due visits.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I do like the idea of you putting a flower on a chair at the front as you walk up the aisle. Even having a chair for him at the head/family table. Might sound a bit drab but what about a book for your family and friends to write their fave memory of you and him together?

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