18 Short Memorial Poems for a Wedding Ceremony or Reception

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As celebratory as weddings usually are, sometimes they’re bittersweet events. During the significant moments in life, it’s natural to want grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings by your side. It’s unfair, but sometimes death takes these family members too soon, and they are unable to be there to celebrate with you. 

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If you are mourning the loss of someone who should be at your wedding, you may be looking for ways to memorialize your departed loved one. Consider displaying their photographs at the reception. You may also want to place a small bouquet in the chair where your deceased family member may have sat.

Finally, you may consider using one of these memorial poems. Print one in your wedding program or have someone read one during the ceremony or reception. You could also display one of the poems next to the photographs of those you are missing. 

Tip: No matter how long ago you lost a loved one, you may still be facing unfamiliar tasks and responsibilities, like writing a memorial speech. If you need help sorting it all out, check out our post-loss checklist.  

Wedding Memorial Poems for a Parent or Grandparent

Missing a parent or grandparent at a wedding may be incredibly difficult. Here are some poems you may consider using to make sure they are remembered during your special event.

You may also want to remember them by choosing a specific song to be played during the ceremony or reception.  

1. “Rain Light” by W.S. Merwin

In this heartfelt poem, a mother reminds her child that life will continue even though she won’t be there. The mother states, “When you are alone, you will be all right.” This may be a perfect choice for someone who lost a mother after an extended illness.

2. “Ave Atque Vale” by James Laughlin

Grief manifests itself in a variety of ways. In this poem, a person expresses anger, even rage, regarding the death of his father. While this may not be the typical poem someone would use at a wedding, it may be an accurate representation of how you feel.

3. “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden

This poem was made famous when used in the funeral scene during the movie, “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” In the poem, the speaker describes how unsettling it is that life continues when his “North, my South, my East, and West” is gone. 

4. “The Morning Baking” by Carolyn Forche

This poem begins, “Grandma, come back. I forgot how much lard for these rolls.” Many of us feel regret at not having paid enough attention to our grandparents before they died. 

5. “I Will Remember You” by Unknown 

This traditional remembrance poem begins, “In the rising of the sun and in its going down, I will remember you.”

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Wedding Memorial Poems for a Sibling

Are you missing your brother or sister as you plan your wedding? Here are some ideas for memorial poems to use on your remembrance table. You may also find other memorial ideas on our article called “in loving memory” poems if none of these say what you want to say.

6. “Never More Will the Wind” by Hilda Doolittle

Hilda Doolittle tries to explain what it feels like to lose a loved one. She describes it as feeling “like a bird out of our hand, like a light out of our heart.”

7. “Catullus 101” by Catullus

A man mourns his brother in this poem that was written before 54 B.C. Even though the poem is ancient, it expresses emotions we all would feel after such a loss. “I tender grief’s last offering to your memory drenched with fraternal tears of one who wept for you.”

8. “A Song” by Joseph Brodsky

This poem may be a bit dated. One line reads, “I wish it were still a quarter to dial your number.” Regardless, the refrain, “I wish you were here, dear” describes how many people feel after losing someone they love.

9. “Evening” by Hilda Doolittle

This poem is a reminder that death is a part of life. Sometimes the idea of death reminds us of the importance of living. 

10. “Remember Me” by Margaret Mead

In this poem, the speaker wants to be remembered each time a loved one gazes at the sea or admires a beautiful tree. If being in nature reminds you of your deceased loved one, you may feel a connection to Mead’s words. 

Wedding Memorial Poems for an Aunt or Uncle

When you think back to family weddings of your youth, you may remember watching your aunts and uncles cut loose at the reception. If you are missing one of those aunts or uncles at your own wedding, here are some poems to use as a creative way to honor them

Even though these poems aren’t specifically about the loss of an aunt or uncle, they still speak of the grief you feel after losing someone special. 

11. “Remember Me When I’m Gone Away” by Christina Rossetti

Even though the speaker in this poem wants to be remembered after she dies, she only wants others to think about the happy times.

Otherwise, she wants people to forget her existence. If this sounds like a belief your aunt or uncle would have held, you may use this poem in remembrance. 

12. “Loss” by Ruth Stone

This poem takes a realistic look at mourning. Instead of describing it in a series of euphemisms, it tells the story of someone with insomnia, who wanders through his house looking at things without seeing them.

13. “The Trees” by Philip Larkin

If you know that your loved one would have wanted you to carry on after his or her death without much ado, you may like this poem by Philip Larkin.

In it, he reminds us that trees “begin afresh” each season. While we remember our loved ones, we know that others count on us to carry on with life. 

14. “In Loving Memory” by Unknown

You may be able to find a beautiful print of this poem on wedding websites. It is made specifically for use at a wedding memorial table. It states, “The ones we love never go away. They walk beside us even on this day. Unseen, unheard, yet always near. Still loved, still missed, and very dear.”

Wedding Memorial Poems for a Child

Losing a child is a heart-wrenching experience. If you are facing your wedding while missing a beloved child, you may want to remember your child by using memorial candles at your wedding. Here are some poems to consider printing in the wedding program as well. 

15. “On My First Son” by Ben Jonson

Ben Jonson was a contemporary of William Shakespeare. He wrote this poem after the death of his seven-year-old son. Even though Ben Jonson’s work continues to be remembered, he says that his son was his “best piece of poetry.”

16. “Dirge” by William Shakespeare

Even though you miss your family member during your wedding, it may give you solace to realize that this person no longer has to experience fear or pain that comes from living in an imperfect world. 

17. “Talking to Grief” by Denise Levertov

We love this poem by Denise Levertov. In it, she accurately describes grief as a constant companion, similar to the friendship you have with a dog. Grief isn’t something you “go through.” It’s something that’s part of your life after you lose someone you love. 

18. “We Remember Them” by Sylvan Kamens and Jack Riemer

This poem can be used as a memorial poem for several different people. Since it is written in a plural form, you could use this to remember the loss of a child, a grandmother, and a brother. 

Other Remembrance Ideas for Your Wedding

Do you think a wedding memorial poem adds to your wedding memorial ideas? Some poems may describe your exact feelings but you may find that some are a little too raw to use on such a happy occasion. 

If the words of these poems would move you or your guests to tears, you may think of memorializing your loved one in other ways. Perhaps you could carry an item that reminds you of your grandfather or favorite aunt. One common tribute that's perfect for a wedding day is to create a memorial diamond using your loved one's hair or ashes. Eterneva specializes in custom, gorgeous memorial diamonds to honor a loved one's memory.

Alternatively, you could choose a song that your parents had at their wedding. You could also add specific flowers to your bouquet meant to remind you of those you have lost. If you have a custom urn from Foreverence or another provider, you could create a memorial space at your venue for the urn, photos, and mementos. These ideas make it so your loved one is symbolically a part of your big day. 

Even though you may be mourning the loss of your family member, don’t forget that weddings are joyous occasions. Don’t feel bad about celebrating because that’s what you should be doing. Your loved one would have wanted that for you. 

If you're looking for more ideas for remembering loves ones, read our guides on what to do on a one-year death anniversary and how to honor a deceased loved one on their birthday.

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