Yes, your big day is all about you and your boo, but it’s also about two families coming together…and these days, family is made up of more than just blood. It's important that the people who have been there for you up until this moment, the people that mean the most to you, feel seen on your big day. Whether you have them play a role in your ceremony or simply make sure you get a photo with them, here are ten easy things you can do for your wedding to let the people you love know how special they are to you.
Here is a great example of a wedding that was all about tradition and a fusion between two cultures. And, check out this wedding where the bride remembered her grandmother with a special piece of jewelry or this one where the couple featured a table with their grandparent’s favorite desserts.
1. Let them be part of your ceremony
These days, it’s becoming more and more popular for couples to ask one of their loved ones to officiate, whether it’s a close friend or family member. It’s super easy and affordable to get ordained online on sites like American Marriage Ministries. If you don’t feel comfortable asking them to officiate, but you still want to acknowledge them during your ceremony, ask them to read a poem or say a blessing. If you do want to ask a friend or family member to marry you, here’s an article with everything you need to know.
2. Make sure you get a photo with them
Photo: Nicole Castonguay
This may seem intuitive, but everything happens so fast on your wedding day, that even important things like this can slip between the cracks. Talk to your photographer ahead of time and make a list of all of the people that you NEED to get photos with, this will make it easy to check off as the day goes on and make sure no one is left out. Here’s some fun inspo for cute photo ops with your besties.
3. Honor family traditions (in your own way)
Weddings are about bringing two families together, so it is important to celebrate the families as well as the individuals. If culture or religion is important to your family, find a way to incorporate it into your wedding that is meaningful to you. It can be anything from a traditional ceremony to a special location. Check out this styled shoot that puts a twist on a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.
4. Let them be part of the planning
Photo: Sarah Bradshaw Photography
Now, we’re not saying you should completely relinquish the planning to anyone, but just let your loved ones be a part of it where they can. Invite one to the cake tasting, ask a few to join you as you try on your gown or suit, ask for opinions on venues, etc. Just feeling like they helped you will make them feel important and seen.
5. Bring them shopping for their look
Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, give them the parameters and let them shop for their look for the big day. They will enjoy themselves even more if they feel like they look their best. This even applies to bridesmaids and groomsmen. Many couples are choosing a color or color palette and letting their bridal parties find the right look for them. We love these mix-and-match bridesmaid dresses!
6. Give them something special before and after
Photo: Olivia Marshall Photography
It is customary to give people in your wedding party a gift on the day of your wedding, but often, family members get overlooked. Find something special and sentimental to give them like an embroidered handkerchief for those happy tears or a special necktie or piece of jewelry that sets them apart. Another great way to show your gratitude is to send them a little something after the day has come and gone, like a framed photo of you with your loved one at your wedding! Here are six personalized gift ideas that your guests are sure to love.
7. Make sure they have a good seat
When you are planning your reception seating chart, make sure to put your guests (especially those you are closest with) at a table where they will feel comfortable and have the most fun. But did you know that you should plan seating for the ceremony too? You or your planner can speak to your loved ones ahead of time and tell them where they should sit during the ceremony (obviously the first few rows are the best). Put a reserved sign on the seat so that it’s waiting for them when they arrive.
8. Take song requests
Photo: Sarah Joan Studio
This is a lovely trend that we are seeing more and more of! Couples are asking their guests for song requests on their RSVP cards to give to the DJ or band ahead of time. This way, everyone is guaranteed to have one song that they simply can’t resist breaking it down to and it keeps the dancefloor packed all night long.
9. Honor their loved ones that can’t be there
Photo: Lauren Westra
Weddings are certainly happy times, but they can be difficult as well, especially if you and your family or friend group have lost someone close. By acknowledging their absence or the presence of their spirit with a photo or another heartfelt tribute like a candle or a reserved chair, it allows your loved ones to be comfortable expressing their feelings. Instead of keeping it bottled up, it creates a moment that you can share in together. This couple honored the groom’s dad by placing a flower on a chair in the front row for the ceremony.
10. Mention them on the invitations
Photo: Andreas K. Georgiou & Tomas Dolejsi
If any of your family members are helping you pay for the wedding, it is customary to mention them on your wedding invitations. You can speak with your stationery designer ahead of time to discuss how you would like them to be listed or featured.