It’s often said that weddings are all about the bride and groom: it’s their day. While it’s true that the whole reason for the occasion is the marriage of two people, families play a significant role in the big day as well. From helping to plan and footing the bills to listening and offering support during the stressful process, families are something to be thanked and honored during a time of wedding excitement. Here’s a few ceremony traditions that you can customize for your own special people to honor them during the celebration.
One of the most well-known ceremonial family traditions is for the bride to be walked down the aisle by her father. This stems from the historical “transfer of liability” from the father to the groom for the bride’s wellbeing. Brides were historically under the charge of their fathers until they were married off. Now, as a society we have come a long way and no longer see women as financial liabilities (thank goodness!), but the tradition is still one of the most popular ones to uphold. It stands as a symbolic blessing passed from the bride’s family to their spouse. The “blesser” could be anyone who has held a meaningful role in her life, particularly if a father has not been present or has passed. A mother, uncle, or even a close friend can hold the honor of escorting the bride down the aisle and passing off a blessing for the union.
The Importance of Mothers
It’s a lovely gesture to give the mothers a bit of credit during marriage ceremonies. Traditionally, the father of the bride escorts her mother down the aisle before circling back to escort the bride, but anyone you designate could honor the role. Feel free to include the mother of the groom, as well! Weddings are particularly important to mothers who often have worked hard to ensure the big day has gone to plan. It’s nice to give them credit where it’s due.
The Bridal Party
A long-standing tradition is that of the bridal party, who continue to hold important roles for the wedding ceremony. This tradition stems from early Roman times when superstitious couples thought they needed protection and support to ward off anything or anyone who would stop the marriage. Today, this tradition is fairly similar to its historical roots. Bridesmaids and groomsmen are a chosen group of people to support and help the couple on the wedding day. Many times, this includes closest members of the family with a sister as a maid of honor or a brother as a best man. These are the people who will stand by you through thick and thin and whose support you couldn’t see yourself embarking on the journey of marriage without. Similarly, younger family members are included by acting as designated flower girls or ring bearers. These youngsters may not offer a lot of support, but they sure do feel special when chosen to act the part!
It should go without saying that family members should have prime seating at weddings—but that’s not always the case. Reserving the first two rows on either side of the aisle could be considered more of an etiquette tip, but should also be noted as a tradition. Guests love to have a great seat for marriage ceremonies so if there aren’t reserved signs, you could run the risk of shuffling guests around in order for granny to get her seat. It’s worth prioritizing, even if it’s not the most exciting tradition.
Unity ceremonies are a great way to celebrate the combining of two families into one. The ceremony symbolizes that the bride and groom are no longer individuals, but joined as one with all their family members included. This particular tradition includes family members on a more intimate level. It’s especially nice for couples who come from varying backgrounds or for those who have children prior to the marriage and are blending into new familial roles. Some popular ways to perform these ceremonies use sand, candles, water, or even paint as mediums to combine. The final products are lovely mementos that can be kept as a reminder of everyone’s commitment to the union.
Sometimes, not all family members are able to be present at the wedding ceremony. Some may have passed on, but are still important pieces of the family. To honor those special figures, a rose can be placed on a seat at the ceremony to symbolize their presence. Other items that can be used in place of a flower could be a small framed photo, a personal token like a watch or piece of jewelry, or maybe even a small memorial poem. This special ceremonial tradition can instill a lot of comfort during a time of heightened emotions.
Including your family in any of the above traditions serves as a way to honor loved ones and thank them for their support. While not all families look the same, we all have special people in our lives that continuously love and support us. It’s a lovely gesture to involve these people in your special day to express your gratitude. The nod is surely not to be forgotten anytime soon.
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