How to honor the deceased mother of the groom at a wedding

Updated February 21, 2017

Honouring a deceased parent on your wedding day is a personal decision. Honour the groom's deceased mother in a way that isn't offensive to other family members, such as the widower, but still allows you to include her in a special way. Honouring the groom's mother during the wedding can include a small gesture only the bride and groom are aware of, or something more significant that you can publicly share with the rest of your guests.

Light a candle on the altar in her honour. The groom can light the candle at the beginning of the ceremony or ask another relative, such as his father or grandmother, to light it. Place a picture of her next to the candle if you want.

Place a white rose on the seat where she would have sat in the front row during the ceremony. Move the rose to the reception area in a vase on the cake table or where she would have sat at the reception.

Ask a friend or relative to read her favourite Scripture, poem, quote or sing her favourite song. Including something that was meaningful to her will likely be meaningful to the groom and his close relatives, as well. Alternatively, ask the officiant to say something along the lines of, "We'd like to take a moment of silence for those who could not be here in person, but are with us in spirit."

Include a note in the wedding program to explain why you have the candle, rose or recital. A quote, such as "In loving memory of Sarah Jones, mother of the groom" can accompany the groom's favourite picture of her on the back of the program.

Use her favourite flowers in the groom's boutonnière or add something of hers to his attire. For example, he can pin her favourite pendant to his tuxedo or shirt or slip her wedding ring into his jacket pocket. This keeps her close to him all day in a private, but important way.

Dance your first dance as husband and wife to her favourite song if it's appropriate. The DJ can mention something along the lines of, "And now Mr. and Mrs. Jackson will share their first dance as husband and wife to Salena Jackson's favourite song."


Discuss your plans to honour the groom's mother with his father if her death is recent, as it could make the wedding a sad experience for him. The same goes for his siblings. Honour her memory without making it seem more like a funeral than a wedding.

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About the Author

Janece Bass is a freelance writer specializing in weddings, family, health, parenting, relationships, dating, decorating, travel, music and sports. She has been writing for more than 15 years and has numerous published pieces on various websites and blogs. Bass has also ghostwritten various fiction-based novels.