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How to Celebrate Loved Ones During the Wedding Ceremony

Consider these five ways to acknowledge your closest family members.

The ceremony is the perfect time to call out these important loved ones in the presence of all your guests and acknowledge how their support has helped you reach this important day.

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Photo: Cornelia Lietz Photography

Weddings are more than the joining of two people in marriage – they're also a time to celebrate your families and honor the special roles they have played in your lives. The wedding ceremony is the perfect time to call out these important loved ones in the presence of all your guests and acknowledge how their support has helped you reach this important day.

Since wedding ceremonies don't often feature specific opportunities to recognize various loved ones throughout the service, brides and grooms can feel free to brainstorm creative ways to involve them in the ceremony with their wedding planner and wedding officiant. To offer some expert suggestions, we asked event planner Charley Izabella King of Bluebell Events what some of her favorite ways to bring family members into the ceremony are (even if they aren't able to be there in person), as well as how to symbolize their significance in your lives. You'll make your special day even more meaningful for those dearest to you by utilizing these five helpful suggestions.

1. Present parents with a meaningful token.

During the ceremony, many couples offer their parents a memorable token to hold. For example, many pairs choose to give their moms roses during the ceremony. "I recently had a groom give his father a bag of pine tree seeds, so that he could plant a tree for them representing the new family tree, growth, and unity," King says. "I really loved that!"

2. Ask family members to do a reading.

Whether you're having a secular or religious ceremony, asking your close family members to do a reading is a special way to personalize the ceremony and also include your loved ones. This is a perfect task for sisters and brothers who are not in the wedding party, as well as extended family like aunts and uncles. From scripture to song lyrics to poems, the options are endless!

3. Have your officiant mention family members who couldn't be there.

At the top of the ceremony, your wedding officiant can acknowledge specific loved ones who were unable to attend the wedding and remark that they are still in your hearts today. "[It's] lovely, especially if the ceremony is being filmed. They will see it one day and know that they were thought about," King explains.

4. Represent deceased loved ones with a candle.

It's important to honor late loved ones during your wedding. Should you choose to do this with a candle, place the candle on a chair where he or she would have sat at the ceremony, so you can feel that they are still with you. (Find more ideas on how to honor a deceased family member or friend.)

5. Live stream the ceremony.

For those who are unable to attend, having a live stream of the wedding ceremony available is a great way to allow loved ones who couldn't make it (especially if they live in another country) feel like they are still a part of the celebration. "I have live streamed weddings all the way to India before," King reveals.

Planning your wedding ceremony but unsure where to start? Check out a guide to each part of the ceremony. Want to pay your respects to those who are no longer with you during the ceremony? Be inspired by 15 ideas for honoring late loved ones throughout your wedding celebration.

Opening photo by Cornelia Lietz Photography; Planning & Design by Bluebell Events; From Real Wedding: Fairy-Tale Wedding Abroad at Castle in Groom's Hometown in Germany