Memorial Candles... ideas for acknowledging loved-ones

For those planning a wedding and wanting to acknowledge the absence of a loved one no longer with us; there are a myriad of suggestions:

  • Some people play a piece of music (which results in a room full of tears)!

  • Some say a prayer... not my thing sorry, hence the fact that I'm a civil celebrant, but still... it's an option.

  • Some place a flower or a photo on an empty chair, symbolic, subtle yet powerful...

  • But my favourite, is the lighting of a memorial candle. Usually performed somewhere near the beginning of the ceremony, along with a few short words, either spoken by myself, or the bride and groom, or even the deceased's husband or wife.

Whomever you choose to speak the words, and however you choose to mark the moment, if you're looking for some wording, I've done some web-surfing and found a number of examples, to spare you the mission! 
Here are my favourites.... you're welcome!

  1. B and G are so thankful to be surrounded by family and friends who are here to witness their wedding. Life is full of the unexpected and there is one person close to B and G who is not able to share this day. We invite G's mother J to join the couple to light a candle in remembrance of G's father A. This candle reminds us that A's spirit is here with us, sharing in our joy and happiness.
  2. Before we begin our celebration today, B and G would like us all to take a moment to remember those family members who are with them today only in spirit, especially mother of the bride A.  B appreciates all of the love and support A has given her throughout the years and would like to take a moment to remember her now. 
  3. At this time, we remember K, a caring and exceptional soul, B's mother & closest friend, taken away from her family far too young. I now invite B & G to light a candle in her honour so that we can feel her presence as we celebrate this momentous occasion.
    We now light this candle in acknowledgment that K's spirit is here with us, sharing in our joy. She is missed. She will always remain in the hearts of those who love her.
  4. We would now like to take a moment to remember G's father A who is no longer with us. Though he cannot be with us physically, we acknowledge that he is here in spirit sharing in our joy. The light of his memory can never be extinguished in the hearts of those who loved him.
  5. B & G now wish to light a candle in honour of B's father A, whom they dearly miss, and who they know is present with them here today.
  6. Our community is shared, if in a different way, by those who have passed beyond this life. Their roles in the lives of B and G are no less remembered and honoured as we savour today’s joyous moments. Join with us, then, in remembering and honouring all these people, and in particular A, B's father.
    In his memory, we now light this candle.
  7. Because life is full of the unexpected, there are those close to B and G who are not able to share this day with us.  Please, join me in a quiet remembrance of these important loved ones and recognize the love and support they bestowed on B and G."

What ever wording you decide (if any) works for you, let these suggestions be a starting point. Write your own. Look into your hearts and think about what you'd really like to say. After all, it's you that loved them, that miss them, that wish beyond anything else, that they could be there with you celebrating.

Now, here's my final tip on the matter: make sure the candle is within a jar of some sort as there's nothing worse than a memorial flame going out during the ceremony. I've seen it. We had a laugh... which was good for distracting from the sadness.. but still, not ideal.

So if you'd like to honour someone special, by all means, talk to your celebrant, find a way to do it that's both tasteful and respectful yet hopefully, avoids sending the entire room into tears, it's your wedding day after all, this is meant to be fun!