“What do you mean I can’t have 20 bridesmaids in my wedding party?”
We all know the easy way to include special people in a wedding: make them bridesmaids or groomsmen. But what if you have more special people than room in your wedding party? Or what if, like me, you’re not even having a wedding party? There are plenty of alternative options for incorporating important friends or family members on your special day.
In traditional religious ceremonies, persons close to the bride or groom are often asked to give readings from holy books. But you can incorporate this in non-religious ways as well: read a special poem, a passage from a book or play, or even something the person wrote for the couple.
Something else that works well for all types of ceremonies is to have a friend or family member sing. It could be anything from a hymn to a showtune to a modern piece of music. At my sister’s wedding, our niece and a friend sang a romantic pop song during the ceremony. For my upcoming wedding, one of my best friends will be singing when I walk down the aisle.
If a friend or family member has a business or hobby that is wedding- or party-oriented, you could ask them to perform that task at your wedding. For example, you may have a friend who is a DJ or a cousin who is a photographer. Just be sure to offer them their professional rate! They may respond by offering their services for free as a wedding gift, but that should come from them and not be assumed by you.
You can always set aside a special dance for someone as well. Yes, there are the father-daughter and mother-son dances, but who says the groom can’t also select a song to dance to with his stepmother, or the bride with her grandfather?
If you are having a secular or non-denominational wedding, one option that has gained popularity in recent years is to have a friend or family member perform the ceremony. Getting ordained online is quick and easy, and it can make the ceremony much more personal and special. One of my closest friends will be officiating at our wedding!
Other ideas for including those who are special to you:
- give them the opportunity to give a toast
- allow them to be a witness to the signing of your marriage license
- give them the task of lighting candles before or during the ceremony.
- Children can also be included in special ways, such as presenting the guestbook, laying out the aisle runner, or announcing the bride and groom.