A wedding is a joyful event that celebrates the union of two people who have found in each other a lifelong love. The ceremony symbolically affirms, and also legalizes the bond they share. And the party that follows is a salute to love, friendship and family.

However, a couple I'm currently working with reminded me that the joy of the day may sometimes be tempered. When either the bride or the groom has lost a parent, sibling or other loved one, there is often a hole in the fabric of the ceremony.

Many brides and grooms choose to walk down the aisle escorted by one or both parents. Traditionally, the bride is accompanied by her father who then "gives" her to the groom. A bride who loved her dad cannot help but wish he could be there to play a part in this rite.While a loved one cannot always be there in person, it is possible to honor them in spirit. Some couples do this with a candle ceremony, some with words. Here are two examples for you to consider:

"Welcome. Thank you for being here today. Jason and Camille are thrilled that you could be here to share their most special day with them. They would also like to acknowledge those who could not be here but would have loved to share in this occasion, particularly Camille's mother, Sarah."

"Welcome everyone. We appreciate that you've come from near and far to join us for this joyful ceremony. Marianne and David, you wish to remember both family and friends who cannot be with us in person today, and loved ones who have passed away. You hold their memories close to your hearts today and always. The bouquet of flowers on the altar is composed of one flower symbolizing each of these cherished people."

Whether you use words, candles, flowers or moment of silence, the moment of remembrance is what affirms the connection. On a day when two hearts join, it can be important to make sure both hearts are focused on love.