Your mum and dad have stuck by you through all your awkward phases. Including your desperate pleas for a horse at 8 (of course I will feed it every day, Dad!), your emo phase at 14 (black was the new black) and your obsession with a really, really dodgy local band at 21 (don't deny it, you know it's true). And if your siblings are anything like mine, they would have mocked and teased you mercilessly through the aforementioned phases.
But here you are, planning your wedding and you really want to acknowledge and include them in your big day. Sure, your dad can walk you down the aisle, but what are your other options?
Well I'm glad you asked..
There are 3 main ways you can include them; practically, in a supportive function or by honouring them and the special relationship you share.
The least sappy way to include your family is to utilise their unique and natural talents. Do you have a budding musician, videographer, artist, designer or handyman in the ranks? Then incorporate their strengths; perhaps your little brother playing guitar as you walk down the aisle towards the arbour that your father in law built wearing the dress your sister designed?
Brothers and sisters can also provide a much needed focal point for organisation and information while handing out wedding favours (rose petals, sunscreen or fans etc.), seating guests or distributing order of ceremony booklets. Once the ceremony gets underway, you also may need assistance with the rings (anyone can be holding them) or a symbolic ritual like the wine box or love lock ceremonies, or the releasing of butterflies, doves or ferrets.
Your mother, father, brothers and sisters can be included in your bridal party as your bridesmaids or groomsmen. It can be a smart way to ensure quality time is spent with them and makes for some beautiful memories. They'll be with you while you're getting ready and be literally by your side during the ceremony. I've also seen a bride escorted down the aisle by her entire immediate family. She didn't want to have to pick between them so they all walked down together – it was an emotional and beautiful moment.
Anyone with a little confidence can be a reader at your ceremony. This includes your parents and siblings. Not many couples that I marry are excited by Shakespeare or readings from the bible, but when we find just the right quote from their favourite movie or tv series, the lyrics to their favourite song or footy chant, they're well on their way to making their ceremony touching, personal and memorable, rather than a yawn-fest.
In Australia you are required to have 2 witnesses sign your marriage certificates that are 18 years of age or older. But why not buck the trend of having your maid of honour and best man? How about asking your grandparents, parents, brother or sister to come forward? It's a lovely and permanent way to honour your relationship.
When you choose to include family in your ceremony and delegate specific responsibilities to them, it develops a sense of community, acceptance and togetherness - all feelings that you are trying to foster on your wedding day.
How are you planning to, or already have, included family in your wedding ceremony?
Let me know in the comments.