How to Include Loved Ones in Your Wedding Who've Passed Away | Sam Starns

How to Include Loved Ones in Your Elopement Who Have Passed Away

July 12, 2021

Your elopement is one of the most memorable days of your life. Whether you choose to have a few close friends and family in attendance or decide to have an intimate day for just the two of you, your thoughts may still be with someone close who has passed away. Incorporating them into your elopement is a fabulous way to honor their memory and possibly even experience healing. Although it does take a little preplanning, remembering someone special doesn’t have to be lengthy or even a big focus of your day. However, there are several sweet—and creative—ways to memorialize your loved ones during your elopement. 

Tumalo Falls Lava Field Oregon elopement, burnt orange bouquet
Rachael and Matt incorporated a purple flower into their arrangements in honor of Matt’s late brother.

Incorporate their favorite flower into your elopement.

An especially meaningful way to give the nod to your loved one on your big day is to include their favorite flower. Blooms can be included in a boutonniere, wedding bouquet, or tiny toss bouquet to have alongside as you say your vows. If you’re unsure of their favorite flower, choose ones that are their favorite color or that they had grown in their yard.

Include sentiments in your wedding vows. 

If the person you are remembering never met your soon-to-be spouse, include a few things that your passed loved one would have loved about your partner. Not only will this be meaningful to your significant other, but it also shows what was important to the person who passed. 

Use temporary henna art to pay tribute.

An extremely subtle way to add meaning is to have their favorite quote, signature, or words from a letter they wrote written in henna on your body. Doing so can be a personal and private way to remember them without drawing too much attention to their passing. 

Light a candle or lantern in their memory. 

Another low-key way to honor someone’s memory is to use a flame to symbolize their presence. Lighting a candle on the beach, holding a lantern, or having a bonfire is a beautiful way to show that their light still shines on in your heart. For extra impact, light the candle at night and take photos with it to savor the moment long term. As with any flames outside, be sure to check the fire bans in the area, and stay away from fresh tinder and dry areas. The beach, sand dune desert and other areas where flames won’t spread quickly is a safer bet.

Have their favorite treat during your elopement.

Toast with their go-to wine. Include a favorite dessert into your post-elopement meal. You could even use their famous shortbread recipe and use cookies for your toast instead of a drink. Having something edible in their honor is both creative and unexpected (ok, and yummy, too!). 

Sew a swatch of fabric into your wedding day attire. 

Take a piece of fabric from one of their shirts, and have that sewn onto the inside of the wedding dress. Another option is to have a pocket square made out of the fabric or use a swatch to wrap the base of your wedding bouquet. If you don’t have one of their items, use a fabric swatch in their favorite color.

No matter how you decide to pay tribute, honoring your passed loved ones can provide a bit of comfort during your elopement. They may not be physically present, but you can feel their presence by thoughtfully including them into your big day.

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