12 Ways to Include Loved Ones in Your Wedding Ceremony


Asking someone to be in your wedding party is a lovely way to honor the special relationship you share. But that doesn’t mean that it’s the only way. In fact, there are many chances to include loved ones in your wedding ceremony. Whether they’re friends or family, young or old, your nearest and dearest can still fulfill a significant role. If you’re worried about leaving someone out, read on for some great ideas.

Give them a boutonniere or corsage. One of the simplest ways to acknowledge someone as having a special role in your life is with a boutonniere or corsage to wear. You could make it even more special by inviting them to be part of getting ready for the wedding and make sure they have a prime seat near the front of the ceremony.

Make them an usher. Ushers play a particularly useful role. They show guests where to sit and make sure everyone is seated in time for the ceremony to begin. It’s a job that would suit male or female friends who for whatever reason didn’t make the bridal party list.

Have them greet your guests. Similar to an usher, but can also be a separate job, especially if you need to make sure that guests don’t get lost on their way to the ceremony location. Guests who don’t know anyone else will particularly appreciate a friendly greeting!

Ask them to hand out programs or confetti. This is another job you can double up and have ushers or greeters do. However, if you have any children to include who are just a little too old for flower girl and ring bearer duties, this is the perfect job for them.

Invite them to walk you down the aisle. The aisle walk isn’t exclusive to fathers anymore! You could even ask more than one person, and have each walk you a portion of the aisle.

Let them stand up at the altar. For example, if you’re planning a Jewish wedding, you’ll need four loved ones to carry the¬†chuppah poles.

Ask them to perform the ceremony. It can be very special to have the vow exchange presided over by someone you know.

Give them a reading. Being part of the ceremony itself is a very special honor as it puts someone front and center. Ask them to read a poem, prayer or blessing that you love. You could also ask the person to select a reading themselves, or choose one that you know is significant to them.

Invite them to perform. If you have a particularly talented friend or family member, especially in the music department, ask them to be part of your ceremony. They could play an instrument or sing. It can be an especially moving way to include musical loved ones!

Appoint them as a ring guard. Think of this as an adult version of a child ring bearer. Ask your (responsible!) loved one to take charge of the rings and produce them at the appropriate moment. If you’re having a ring warming ceremony, it’s also a good idea to have someone in charge so you don’t lose track of the rings.

Can I get a witness? Many couples ask their parents or best man and maid of honor to act as legal witnesses during the ceremony. However, your witness can be anyone of adult age, so it can be a special option for including grandparents, for example.

Have a special ceremony. Another way to include loved ones in your ceremony is to create a special section that honors them. Unity candles are a popular option, but there are many others like sand ceremonies and tree planting. If you’re blending families, giving your children a chance to be part of the ceremony in this way is particularly meaningful.

All of these are good options, but one thing to remember is that before you plan anything, you should ask your loved one if they actually want to be involved. Some people feel shy about being in the spotlight, or may feel pressured by being given an important task. Sometimes just asking them is enough to show you care!



Image by Jose Villa Photography