It’s Father’s Day this weekend and so we thought we’d make this blog post all about Dad. For many brides (and grooms too), showing their love and appreciation for their father is an important (and often emotional) part of the wedding day. Of course, there’s the obvious ways to include Dad in your wedding plans, but there are more ways than you might think, and ways to cope with not having your Dad at your wedding too. Dads are often an incredibly underrated wedding resource! Every Dad is different, and not all of the points below will suit every father of the bride / groom, but here’s some ideas of how to include Dad in your wedding.
How to Include Dad in Your Wedding
Invite him to make a reading at the ceremony
This way to include Dad in your wedding can be incredibly personal and emotional. He could read an excerpt from your favourite childhood book that he’d read to you, or a poem that expresses a father’s love. Spend some quality time together talking it over and finding the perfect passage.
Allow him to be overprotective
So your boyfriends or girlfriends so far haven’t cut the mustard with Dad? Well, let’s face it, they probably never will! But you could put this mistrust to good use and ask your father to check the reviews of wedding suppliers and make his recommendations based upon his findings.
“Sawdust is Man Glitter” – ask Dad to help you with any DIY wedding projects
Growing up, did you spend time with your dad in the garage or shed? Recapture some of these childhood moments by asking your dad to help you with making something special for the day itself (and get in a little quality time with him while you’re at it!).
Ask Dad to choose the Father / Daughter dance song
Instead of picking the song yourself, ask your dad to choose it. He might even already have a song in mind but might be too afraid to mention it… after all, many dads spend years thinking about this moment! And while we are at it…
Taking some time out of the wedding planning in order to attend some dance lessons with your dad will not only be a stress buster for you, but will allow you to spend some real quality time with him too.
Tying up loose ends
You’ve planned, prepped, and scheduled, but even so there are some last minute things that need to be done. Show how much you still need your dad by asking for his help – confirming the number of guests, calling wedding suppliers to confirm delivery / collection times… and generally keeping you calm!
Ask you dad to coordinate the timing of the reception. You’ll be amazed at how he can keep the evening flowing from the wedding breakfast to the speeches to the first dance to the cutting of the cake… and he might just like being given the responsibility.
What about your Step-Dad?
We know that families evolve. I have a step-dad, a step-mum and step-siblings too. While there are no traditional formal roles for step-parents, that’s not to say that you can’t (or shouldn’t) include them in your wedding.
An alternative walk down the aisle
If you’d like your step-father involved in the ceremony, then why not ask him to walk you down the aisle? Whether that is part way down the aisle before handing over to your dad to walk you the rest of the way, or whether it’s asking both of them to walk you down the aisle together, it’s your big day! Just ask.
Just as we suggested asking your dad to give a reading at your ceremony, why not ask your step dad too? It could be a nice way to bring the family together.
What to do if your dad has passed away.
Fret not, there are still ways you can remember and acknowledge your dad throughout the day if he’s no longer with us. This can be done in a very joyous and happy way too. After all, your wedding day is a celebration!
A small table in memory
I’ve seen this a number of times now and love how it brings loved ones we’ve lost into the celebration. A table with photographs of any close loved ones that have passed away with a bouquet of flowers. That’s all that’s needed.
Wear some jewellery
Something as simple as wearing your dad’s ring, or carrying his handkerchief with you can make them feel like he’s there with you and a part of your big day.
Walk up the aisle alone?
A tricky decision to make, but you could walk up the aisle alone, carrying something belonging to your father, such as his handkerchief as mentioned above.
Dance with your mother
Have your DJ play one of your dad’s favourite songs and dance with your mum to remember him.
And if there is no father figure in your life?
There may be many moments throughout the day where tradition dictates that your dad should have a particular role. Again, bend the ‘rules’ to overcome this.
Ask a male family member to walk you down the aisle
Your brother, your grandad, your uncle… or maybe even ditch the tradition of being given away and ask your husband to be to walk down the aisle with you. Give the ritual a little meaning by asking someone who’s given you some guidance in your life, making it an honour.
Ask your mum to give you away
Why not? Your mum might well have been fulfilling both mother and father roles throughout your life so she’s bound to be honoured to do so.
Skip the Father of the Bride speech
Begin with the most important man in your life now – your husband! Or if you’re close enough, ask your groom’s father to begin the speeches.
What about same sex weddings? How do you include Dad in your wedding when there’s no bride, or two brides?
As we’ve seen above, not every wedding has two sets of happily married parents. Likewise, not every wedding features a young bride and a young groom. Some of the most heartfelt speeches I’ve heard have been at same sex weddings. Why is this? Well, I think it’s because traditions and formalities go out the window. In fact, of the LGBT weddings I have been a part of, very few have adopted traditional formalities.
Ask either or both of your parents to walk you down the aisle
Whether you’re a guy or a girl, being walked down the aisle is your choice and if you choose to do so, the image of your proud parents walking you down the aisle will be moving.
Talk to your dad about a dance
Dancing with family members at the reception symbolises the joining of the two families and if you’d like this to be a part of your big day, just ask your dad… you might be surprised at his response! There’s no requirement for parents to act as set pairs, so juggle it about a bit and dance with your parents and your partner’s parents.
Both dads make a speech
At any wedding, there is nearly always at least one proud parent. If you’ve more than one… perfect! Ask each of your dads to make the first speech at the wedding reception, allowing them to show how proud they are of who you’ve become and how much they love you.
So there you have it; we hope you’ve found our ideas useful. Our advice above all is to let Dad be Dad. Every family is different, and relationships can be complicated… we know that all too well. However, if you’ve got this far in reading our blog post, it’s probably because you really do want to have your family involved in your wedding day. So, let you Dad, Step-Dad, Grandad, Uncle, Brother, or whoever it may be, be themselves and allow yourself to enjoy the special time with them. Don’t try and force anyone into a stereotypical ‘Father-of-the-Bride’ role. Instead appreciate them for the person that they are.