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Remembering loved ones at your wedding: "Those we love live forever in our hearts"

Oh the excitement of the wedding day, celebrating with your nearest and dearest! But for some brides and grooms the day is also tinged with sadness, if a beloved Mam, Dad or a beloved Grandparent is missing. Knowing that I have worked for years in hospice, many couples have asked me about ways to include a loved one, while still holding on to the joy of the day. So here are a few suggestions:

1. It can be lovely to light a candle at the start of the ceremony, after you welcome your guests, the celebrant can light it, or invite someone else, include a few words about how they are there in spirit and are missed. Leave the candle lighting for the duration of the ceremony, as a symbol of their presence.

2. I recently gave this bereavement pin to a bride to wear on her wedding day, she chose to wear it discreetly on her dress, other brides have included it in their bouquet and many grooms wear them in their lapel. After my own Dad died. I collaborated with the wonderful jewellery designer Alan Ardiff, who designed the pin and gifted it to the Hospice Foundation. The pins are available from the Irish Hospice Foundation website (

3. Another thoughtful way to remember someone and to help a great charity at the same time is to give guests a gift of these little packets of sunflower seeds. They get to plant some sunflowers ( who doesn't love sunflowers!) as a reminder of your day, and all proceeds go to bereavement services. These are available from the above website too.

Remember it is possible to enjoy your wedding day AND to miss someone. Rather than keeping it to yourself, choose a way to include them during the ceremony.

And you might raise a glass to them later. xxx

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