Have you been blessed with lots of family members and loved ones who have greatly influenced your life throughout the years? Do you want to make sure to keep the peace and not ruffle any feathers? Maybe both?
Whatever your reasoning for including family members in your big day, it can be a challenge to figure out the perfect way to involve them. Here are a few of our favorite ways to incorporate loved ones into your celebration:
In the Ceremony
There are a few ways within your ceremony for you to involve those you love, such as having them read a passage of scripture, asking them to pray over you as a couple, or having them read a poem that is special to you. Another way to include family members in your ceremony is to have them walk in the processional before your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Both of these options give loved ones a way to be honored as a significant part of your life on one of the biggest days of your life.
Photo credit: Second Street Photography
This is a more traditional way of including loved ones – typically the father of the bride and the mother of the groom dance with the bride or groom.
You can always add another special dance, like a stepfather and bride dance or a dance shared between the groom and his daughter. These dances provide intimate moments with some of your most treasured people.
Photo credit: Thompson Photography Group
Toasts & Speeches
If you have some folks who would like to say a few words, toasts can be a great way to do this. This gives them the opportunity to share with the guests their relationship with you, what it has been like to be a part of your life, and to share their well wishes for you and your new spouse. While toasts are a great way to include guests, you want to be sure not to have too many toasts during your reception, as having too many can get lengthy and can hinder the momentum of the evening. A suggestion we often suggest to couples is to have a family members (possibly the Father/Parents of the Bride) do a welcome toast at the beginning of the evening to welcome everyone. Another option is to have a loved one pray over the meal before dinner is served. These both add an opportunity for another family member to have a role in your day, without having too many toasts or speeches.
Reception Toast Alternative: If you have a lot of people who want to make a speech or toast for your big day, a great alternative to this is to have them do so at your rehearsal dinner the evening before your big day. This will allow them to be recognized and speak, while not having numerous toasts slowing down the flow of your wedding reception.
Photo credit: La Vie Photography
First Look – Family Style
When we say first look, we often jump to the first look between the bride & groom before the ceremony that has become increasingly popular in the last few years (and with the gorgeous photos that they lead to, we totally understand why). A great alternative to a first look (or additional first look if you plan on doing one with your fiance) is to have a first look with a family member or group of loved ones. Some combinations we love are the bride & her father, the bride and her aunts, and the bride and her bridesmaids. This moment allows for an intimate time with some of your favorite people before you get whisked away into the celebration. Bonus: it almost allows leads to some beautiful and moving photos that you will cherish forever – like this photo series of this bride & her brothers!
Photo credit: The Harmons
Do you have a family member who is good at public speaking and who understands the beauty of marriage and the uniqueness of your relationship with your partner? Consider asking them to take part in your big day by officiating your wedding ceremony. Some of the most beautiful and moving ceremonies we have witnessed have been those performed by a family member or another person near and dear to the couple.
Photo credit: Olive & Ivory Events
Another way to allow people to be a significant part of your wedding day is to select two important people to be your witnesses to sign your marriage license, along with you and your chosen officiant. This can be an intimate moment with a small group after your ceremony where the necessary people sign the marriage license. Do you want there to be a little more recognition of this moment and these special people? Consider signing your marriage license during your ceremony for guests to witness as well.
Photo credit: Masson Liang Photography
Adding these special moments throughout your wedding day not only provides an opportunity to honor and recognize those people closest to you, but also helps to personalize your day to reflect you two as a couple!
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