According to wedding tradition, it’s usually the father of the bride who gives his daughter away on her wedding day. But with traditions going to the wind, more same-sex couples, and couples in general choosing to make their wedding day their own, there are more ways than one to have your parents involved in your wedding day.
If you have a good relationship with your parents, step-parents or in-laws, it can be a nice touch to include them in the wedding day. Not only will it be a special memory of your day that you can reflect on, but it will also likely be a special moment for them to remember and treasure.
We chatted with Queensland celebrant Geoff Mazlin from I Do Creative Ceremonies about how you can change up traditions when it comes to involving your parents in the wedding.
Walking a bride down the aisle
This is something we’re seeing a lot more of as a trend, and something that celebrants are working into more and more weddings.
“Personalised and tailored ceremonies are very important for couples,” he says.
“My experience has taught me that every couple has an expectation that their ceremony will contain all the elements of the journey to that special day, as well as involve their loved ones.”
With the days of ‘giving the bride away’ as a possession gone, Geoff recommends that after the father traditionally walks his daughter down the aisle, both parents stand together to give their blessing and share that special moment.
“Having both parents involved means that they can share that moment together, the same way that they’ve shared the big moments with you in the past.”
If you want both parents to be even more involved, you can also have them walk you down the aisle together.
Giving grooms away
Of course, it’s not just the bride’s parents who should be involved in the day.
“Many years ago I officiated a large ceremony with all the trimmings, but noticed that the groom’s mother was off to the side after the ceremony,” Geoff says.
“I asked her if she was OK and her response actually took me off guard.”
Geoff says that the groom’s mother was upset because she felt like her son wasn’t treated as important during the wedding and that it was all about the bride instead of being about both of them.
“That emotional statement stayed with me and I thought, ‘why can’t both parents be involved?'”
Geoff now asks all of his grooms what they think about having their parents walk them down the aisle, and says the reaction has been positive. In these ceremonies, the groom is walked down by his parents before waiting at the altar for his bride, or fellow groom, to come down the aisle.
Same-sex couples meeting at the altar
For many same-sex couples, the aisle moment is often a bit different. Whether two grooms are walking down the aisle, two brides, or one person is waiting at the altar, Geoff says that having the parents involved is still important.
“Couples are very excited, and sometimes a little bit emotional when they realised that all their parents can be involved in this precious moment with them,” he says.
“It’s just as important, if not sometimes more important, for many same-sex couples to have their parents involved in their big day giving them their full support.”
At many same-sex weddings, there are two aisles for each member of a couple to walk from separate sides with their parents before meeting in the middle or at the altar. Alternatively, a couple can choose to walk down the aisle together, alone or with their parents, before their parents stand up and give them their blessing and support in front of all their guests.
Parents giving their blessing of the couple together
Having your parents involved in your wedding day doesn’t have to be reserved to having them walk you down the aisle. Geoff has a personal moment in around 80% of his ceremonies where the parents from each side give their blessing to the couple.
“I ask the parents to stand with their daughter and son to say some special words that reflect the moment,” he says.
“I then ask each set of parents whether they take the bride or groom as their future daughter or son-in-law.”
“Hearing the words of love and blessing from the parents is very memorable and there are often lots of tissues on hand.”
We love the idea of each parent accepting the future member of their family during the ceremony for everyone to see. It’s a really sweet moment that goes that bit further than giving your child away to someone.
It can also be tailored for stepparents, children, grandparents or anyone else who is particularly special to the couple.
And that’s what we love about the ways wedding traditions are changing. They are reflective of every couple. So here’s to making your perfect ceremony even more intimate, personal and memorable.