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Dear DBS....

How do you work out the dynamic in mixed families, when you may have a step dad and dad that you’re very close to or even other family members that trump the traditional role in closeness?

This is a great question! There are so many different family dynamics out there making some of the past formal traditions of a wedding ceremony tricky to navigate. But never fear, 2019 is here, and it has pretty much been decided that what a couple wants at their ceremony goes! Relationships should trump etiquette -every time.

So in dealing with mixed family dynamics we suggest asking yourself privately the following questions when trying to fill the different roles in your ceremony: Who are you closest to? Who would you be sad about not including? Who do you need to see in those moments as your are coming down the aisle? When determining who plays a role in your wedding, these are the important things to ask yourself, rather than what’s expected or who will be upset if they aren’t included. This day will go by fast, and you don’t want to regret any part of it. So be honest with yourself.

How do you decide who escorts the bride down the aisle and/or who gets escorted down the aisle for the formal seating of the family?

We know that tradition says the father walks the bride down the aisle, but we also know that some family dynamics make that a modern-day dilemma. So again, we suggest asking yourself the hard question, when you think of the word “father” who is it that comes to mind first? Because we recognize it may not be your birth dad, and it may not even be your step dad. We recognize it could be anyone that has a heavy influence in your life, maybe your brother was like a father to you, or your youth pastor, or your neighbor, or even your sister. Or maybe when we asked this question you thought of two people simultaneously. That’s ok! We would like to remind you that having more than just one person who has loved you well is not a bad thing.

So, let’s deal with scenarios. Let’s say your birth father isn’t a person you are closest to, but you don’t want to leave him out. Or your birth father and step dad are equally important to you and you want to include both. There are lots of ways to include and honor family members, besides the obvious option of walking you down the aisle. Here are just a few suggestions: have them greet guests, give them an honorary moment to walk down the aisle and be seated before your procession, let them read scripture or a poem, sing or play a song, give a toast or bless the meal. Remember this is your day so you can get creative. We have seen one dad walk the bride halfway down the aisle only to be met by the other dad who finishes the job. You could also have your dad walk you down the aisle, but have your step dad standing up in the wedding party.

Bottom line, you need to be comfortable with who you choose, and once you make the decision you need to be committed to communicating it. We truly believe that being unafraid to set expectations with families members upfront is the key to making sure your wedding day goes the way you want.

Also, we'd like to add if these options aren't working for you don’t be afraid to toss out traditions altogether, especially if they cause you anxiety. You do not have to be escorted down the aisle, just like you don’t have to have a father/daughter dance, formal toast, traditional cake, or any of it really We sound like a broken record, but the most important thing is for you to decide as a couple and communicate with everyone involved. Make it yours and have fun!


Denton Bridal Show

Have a wedding dilemma or question about planning? Maybe we can help! Whether you are a bride or a groom, MOB or FOB, member of the bridal party or family, or a vendor please send your questions our way and we will do our best to answer them. Contact us on Instagram or via our website contact page.

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