Ways To Commemorate Lost Loved Ones At Your Wedding 2

commemorate wedding

Here at Beyond, we realise that grief will affect each person differently. Often it can be comforting and insightful to read or hear someone’s own unique grief story; how they felt then, and how they feel now. The last time we had Kiri over to guest post on our blog, she told us what no one tells you about losing a parent, and the things she’s learned since losing her father. Two months later we welcome Kiri back to tell us about how she continues to remember her father, with examples from her upcoming wedding.

commemorate wedding

Anyone who has lost someone will probably agree that milestones are particularly difficult. These are the times when you would have had your loved ones there by your side, and facing these times without them is excruciatingly painful.


However, as time goes by you gradually become a little better at coping – the pain is always there and it’s just as strong as ever, you simply know how to manage it and channel it better. One technique I personally find useful is to use milestones as a chance to remember the good times and feel your lost loved one’s presence in a way that makes you feel happy and proud, not sad and upset.


I’ve been dreading that feeling of grief on my upcoming wedding day. For me, this is the hardest hurdle to overcome. Graduation was hard enough, but on a day when a father feels like such a pivotal part of proceedings, it’s rather difficult to push any feelings aside.


I’m bad enough at other people’s weddings let alone my own. Just last month I was a bridesmaid and when I saw the father of the bride cry when he first cast eyes upon her, something inside of me snapped. It was perhaps one of the toughest challenges so far, because I wanted to cry my eyes out and let all that emotion go, but I knew I had to be strong for my friend, so I cried inside and kept the tears from leaving my eyes.


I feel so torn thinking about my wedding. Torn because on one hand I feel like I’ve reached a point in my grief where I can cherish my father in the most beautiful way, but on the other hand, I think the fact that he won’t be there is going to hit me like a tidal wave.


He won’t see me in my wedding dress, walk me down the aisle, do a speech or dance with me, but he will be with me in other ways. Ways that are perhaps more meaningful than traditions or expectations, and ways that are far more salient.


I can’t promise that these ideas will work for you, but I’m hoping they will make my wedding day more special and make it feel as though he’s still an important part of the day.


A keyring for your bouquet

What do you carry with you for the majority of the day? Your bouquet. So why not have a little keyring tribute with a small photo or engraved keyring in memory of your lost loved one? As well as having it with you on the day this idea will be nice for photos that you can cherish. This was actually my mum’s idea, I’ve seen something similar before on Pinterest but as soon as she showed it to me I knew I had to have it.

Wear an item of their clothing

So my dad used to wear this grey leather jacket literally everywhere. It was his thing, and he looked darn cool in it, especially with his big moustache. This jacket reminds me of him so much, and we’ve still got it, it’s hanging up on display in my sister’s bedroom. I’ve asked my sister to walk me down the aisle in his place, and she’s going to wear his jacket with her bridesmaid dress.


It may be about ten sizes too big for her, but my sister, being quite alternative will most definitely pull it off. It will feel as though he’s there with us, keeping us strong as we walk down the aisle together. If you don’t have an item of clothing or want to wear one, another option is to bring a small object that reminds you of them and take it down the aisle with you



Include them on invitations

This won’t apply to everyone, only those who have lost a parent. It’s traditional to have on the invites your parents names and say ‘person A and person B request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of their daughter’. When I was thinking about what to do for this it didn’t seem right to just put my mum’s name. In life or in death my father is still my father, so I don’t see why he shouldn’t still get a mention. So I did a bit of research and apparently you can just write ‘person A and the late person B’. I felt so proud and pleased to be able to send my invites out with his name on.



Another idea is to wear a piece of jewellery. This can either be something that they used to wear, or you can get your own item made specially. For example, you could get a necklace with their star sign, or a bracelet with charms related to them. Personally, I’m wearing one of my dad’s rings. We took it to the jeweller who is going to engrave it with his name, make it a bit smaller and give it a silver coating.


Quote their words somewhere in a creative way

Did your loved one used to always come out with a particular saying or phrase? If so, you could have it on a sign somewhere in beautiful writing, or print out the quote and frame it. My father loved writing just as much as I do, and he’d often come out with really inspiring comments. After he died I found a box with letters he wrote to his parents, and also to my mum when he ended up in hospital for three months (he wrote her a letter every single day). I’m thinking of having this quote of his up somewhere at my wedding –

‘My problem is, I’m always too hopeful, and I can see so many good things and talk about them. Then when things don’t happen everyone says I am too much of a dreamer. Without dreams I would shrivel and crumple. I need to dream to make things happen, and I will. ‘

And just in case none of the above ideas suit you and your story, I’ve come up with a few more suggestions below:

  • Have a chair for them at the meal and put an object of theirs on the chair
  • Use them as inspiration for table names, such as places you’ve been together
  • Opt for their favourite flower
  • Play a few of their favourite songs
  • Raise a drink to them
  • Encourage guests to donate to a charity that they supported
  • Do a balloon release or firework display in their honour
  • Give guests seeds for your favours and request they plant them in their memory
  • Have someone light a candle for them as a part of your ceremony
  • Use sparklers to write their name and get your photographer to capture it on film
Previous ArticleNext Article


  1. My daughter is getting married next year. As a teen she lost her father to a rare disease. But her fiance also lost his mother to a car accident. Im so glad to have some ideas for their wedding day, especially what do on the invitations. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 Creative Ways to Remember Someone Who Has Died 0

Ways to remember someone who has died

When you lose someone, one of the scariest things about it is the idea that you might forget them. Or that the memory of losing them will overshadow the happier times you spent together. The good news is this: you won’t forget them, ever. We promise. And there are ways of remembering someone who has died that can help you celebrate all the great things about them. Here are some suggestions…


9 special things to do to remember someone who has died

Not sure how to remember someone who has died? We hope you’ll find some inspiration here.


  1. Start a tradition for their birthday

Find something that helps you feel close to them, and do it each year. For example, you could:

  • Do something your loved one liked to do
  • Take a trip to a place that meant something to you both
  • Have a big family dinner and raise a toast – and invite their close friends
  • Light a candle for them in the evening

Build on what you know about them. Take a class in something they knew well. Go on their favourite dog walk. Take the day off and make all their favourite foods.

“My sister and I go to a 40s event on Mum’s birthday each year,” explains Rachel, a funeral arranger at our Aylesbury branch. “She was a child of the 40s, and it helps us remember how life would have been for her growing up.”


  1. Talk to them

Japanese wind telephoneWe all have things we wish we could tell people who are no longer with us. Why not just give it a try? You could wait until you have a quiet moment alone to say what you want to say aloud. Or visit their grave or scattering place to speak to them.

While this might feel a little odd at first, a lot of people find comfort in these talks. After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, one bereaved relative set up a disconnected ‘wind telephone’ in his garden so that he could talk to the family he lost. Since then, people from all over the area have come to talk to their loved ones.


  1. Take a trip 

Go somewhere your loved one always wanted to go, do something they always wanted to do. A once-in-a-lifetime trip can be a fantastic way for a family to heal together after a rough year.


  1. Keep something of theirs close by

Ash Glass Design's cremation glass mourning ringThis could be something as simple as wearing their jewellery or watch every day. Or clothing: a favourite shirt could be worn, turned into a cushion, or framed to make art. Believe it or not, there is also a company that turns the clothing of people who have died into teddy bears. 

Another (slightly more unusual) way of remembering someone special who has died is to get their ashes made into jewellery. Specialist craftspeople can suspend the ashes in glass or resin beads and place them in pendants, earrings, bracelets or rings. 


  1. Go big with a firework displayfriends scattering ashes firework on a boat

A memorial fireworks display can be a lovely way to remember someone special. Team it with plenty of friends and family, some of your loved one’s favourite music, and some toasty hot drinks for a unique and cosy celebration of life.

The important thing here is safety. Always buy your fireworks from a registered seller or licenced shop and check that they are suitable for home use. Make sure bystanders are standing back as far as is recommended for that firework. You can find more safety advice here.

What about balloon, lantern, butterfly and dove launches? Here, it’s important to do your research to minimise the impact on local wildlife and pets. Always use biodegradable materials.


  1. Get something dedicated to them

Not sure if the traditional park bench is the best way of remembering someone who has died? There are all kinds of alternatives…

  • For lovers of the performing arts, you can dedicate theatre, opera, or concert hall seats
  • Football ground seats are a great way to remember fans of the beautiful game
  • For music lovers, you can call in to your local radio station and dedicate their favourite song to them on their birthday
  • You can get a rose named in memory of someone special, and give cuttings to family and friends
  • Or dedicate a tree (or an acre of woodland) to them with the Woodland Trust


  1. Write to them

Writing a letter to remember someone who has diedWhen you’re struggling with something – anything – writing can be very therapeutic.  So, writing a letter to a loved one who has died can be a lovely way to feel connected to them and work through your grief. Letters can be kept or ‘posted’ by burying them at the grave or scattering site. Other ideas are placing them in a fire or even sending them down a river in boat form. 

Not much of a letter writer? You’re not alone. When writer Rax King tweeted about the emails she sent her dad after he died, thousands of other people came forward to say that they did the same. Or sent texts, or g-chat messages. While it’s best not to actually press ‘send’ on these (numbers can be reallocated to other people, email accounts closed) just the act of writing can bring comfort. 


  1. Support a cause that mattered to them

Is there a cause your loved one cared deeply about that you could support? Or would you like to raise money for a charity that fights their final illness, or supports families like yours?

One of the best ways to remember someone who has died is to build something positive with their legacy. You could…

  • Set up an online crowdfunding obituary that asks friends and family to donate
  • Organise a fundraiser or do a charity run to raise money
  • Sign up to donate a small amount each month in their memory
  • Set up a scholarship or endowment at their old school, college or uni
  • Launch a charitable trust or foundation of your own to lobby for a cause
  • Sponsor a child (or even an animal) through a charity


  1. Visit their grave or scattering place

Forget-me-not flowersYour loved one’s grave, or the place where their ashes were scattered, can feel very meaningful. There’s comfort to be had in just giving yourself some time to sit with them there. 

If you like, you can also bring a wreath, bouquet or (land owner permitting) something to plant. In Victorian times, people would often use flowers to send messages: each one had a special meaning. This old mourning custom is still a lovely way to express how you feel. E.g. rosemary for remembrance, white periwinkle for happy memories, an oak-leaved geranium for true friendship or marigolds for grief. 

Then again, a bouquet of your loved one’s favourites is an equally thoughtful gesture. At natural burial grounds, where planting rules are strict, a scattering of native wildflowers can also be a beautiful way to remember someone who has died.


Share your favourite ways to remember someone who has died

How do you remember the special people you’ve lost? Share your suggestions with other bereaved families in the comment section below. We’d love to hear your stories.

10 Funny Funeral Poems for an Uplifting Service 0

Michael Ashby's A Long Cup of Tea, a funny funeral poem

‘Funny funeral poems’ might sound like a bit of a contradiction. But humour isn’t always out of place at a farewell. When we celebrate someone’s life, we celebrate all of it, all of the best things about them — and that can mean laughter as well as sadness.

Here, we’ve gathered together 10 popular funny funeral poems to inspire you. We hope you’ll find something your loved one would have giggled at.


Amy Roper's Pardon Me For Not Getting Up, one of our top 10 funny funeral poemsPardon Me For Not Getting Up by Kelly Roper

There’s puns galore in this poem by Kelly Roper, writer and hospice volunteer. It’s a popular light-hearted reading, especially in funerals for people who were always taking care of others.

Told from the perspective of someone who has died, Pardon Me For Not Getting Up asks funeral guests to excuse them from hosting this time — and asks them to go ahead and celebrate their life nevertheless.

 A Long Cup of Tea by Michael Ashby

Michael Ashby's A Long Cup of Tea, a funny funeral poem

Is this the most British funeral poem of all time? Perhaps. Full of sly jokes (‘Please pick the biggest mug you can find / Size really does matter at this time’) Michael Ashby’s funeral poem is perfect for someone who loved to kick back with a cuppa. And who doesn’t?

The Busman’s Prayer by Anon

The Busman's Prayer, one of our top 10 funny funeral poems
This parody of the Lord’s Prayer is one of the more original non-religious funny funeral poems. The version here is ideal for born-and-bred Londoners, but there are also versions for retired policemen and women (‘The Law’s Prayer’) and people in Derbyshire around.

You can, of course, also write your own. Simply swap out the London locations for local landmarks with a similar sound.

Death by Joe Brainard, one of our top 10 funny funeral poemsDeath by Joe Brainard

This wry, matter-of-fact poem by Joe Brainard has a lot of simple truth in it. And some very black humour. Noting that visualising death might help us not to be afraid, he adds:

“Try to visualize, for example, someone sneaking up behind
your back and hitting you over the head with a giant hammer.”

If your friend or relative was a straightforward sort of person with an appreciation for the darker variety of jokes, this could be the one.

Warning by Jenny Joseph

Jenny Joseph's Warning, one of the best funny funeral poems for mums.
This playful and funny funeral poem is all about how old age can be liberating — and how we’d act if we could just please ourselves all the time. It’s a wonderful funeral poem for anyone who spent their later years living life to the full.

It’s also an excellent message for us all: don’t let respectability get in the way of doing all the (silly) things that make you happy.

On a Tired Housewife, one of our top 10 funny funeral poems

On a Tired Housewife by Anon

This anonymous poem has something of a dark backstory. But it’s now one of the nation’s favourite comic poems.

In it, the reader explains that after a lifetime of hard work, she’s actually looking forward to a restful eternal sleep. This makes it one of the more fitting funny funeral poems for a friend or parent who was always busy looking after their family.

Untitled jisei by Moriya Sen’an

A jisei (death poem) by Moriya Sen'an
For some time, it was traditional in Japan for some people (the elite, samurai and monks in particular) to write short poems shortly before their death. Many of these jisei are beautiful and contemplative. Others, like this one, are comically frank and can have a place in funny funeral speeches.

Death by Sean Hughes, one of the best funny funeral poemsDeath by Sean Hughes

This poem, which describes Sean Hughes’ idea of a good funeral, is ideal for any ‘celebration of life’ style funeral service.

With free drinks and new friendships being forged, it actually does sound like a great way to send someone off. The poem was in fact read at Hughes’ own funeral.

I Didn’t Go To Church Today by Ogden Nash

I Didn't Go to Church Today, one of our top 10 funny funeral poems by Ogden Nash
In this quietly comic poem, the narrator explains why he skipped church that morning: the day was too beautiful not to spend at the beach. It’s a sweet piece about appreciating a perfect moment.

Although light-hearted, the poem does have comfort for those at a funeral. As Nash shares, God will likely understand. After all, ‘He knows when I am said and done / We’ll have plenty of time together’.

Last Will and Testament by Will Scratchmann

Last Will and Testament by Will Scratchmann, one of the best funny funeral poems
This short-but-sweet piece by Will Scratchmann could be a funny funeral poem for a dad. But behind the humour is a positive message about what we want for our loved ones after we’re gone. Not a lifetime of sadness, but a lot of joy (and parties!) in time.


One last note on funny funeral poems…

Giving a ‘funny’ reading at a funeral can be a bit nerve-wracking. What if it goes down badly? The best thing to ask yourself is what the person who has died would have thought. Does the poem sound like them? Is it something they might have found funny? After all, the day is all about them. And if you need advice on public speaking, take a look at our top tips from funeral celebrants.

Didn’t find the right funeral poem today? Not to worry. We have a round up of 33 beautiful non-religious funeral poems here to help you in your search.