How to include families while planning your wedding

As a bride, planning your wedding with fiance can be stressful enough, not to mention making sure each of your family’s feel included. Respectfully involving your parents and your future in-laws in the planning is a must. Here are a few tips to skim before you open the lines of communication.

Who is paying for what?

This is probably one of the most important conversations to have and having it early on will help ease everyone involved!  This clarity will help reduce stress rather than having tensions or expectations build. Since the parents of the bride traditionally pay for the majority of the wedding and reception costs, getting clarity on their expectations and what they can/are willing to contribute is very important. However, recently many couples as well as the groom’s family are contributing funds straight-up or offering to cover specific costs, like the photographer or alcohol.

Give them a unique task.

Not just running errands, but maybe have your father pick out the song (or at least come up with options) you can dance together to at the reception. Or maybe building something for the wedding that will be used on the wedding day, for example.

At the wedding:

Invite the family to spend time together before the ceremony.

Invite the family members for whom it would be appropriate to get ready together and spend sometime together before the wedding and reception, such as having the ladies get their hair and makeup done together. This can be a very special time to share stories and relax together.

Figure out who will be in the ceremony and what their role will be.

There are many options for family members, like having someone read scripture or a poem, sing or even having them serve as greeters, ushers or guest book attendants.

At the Reception:

Special dances.

Be sure and take advantage of those moments (father/daughter dance & mother/son dance), make them special. This is a special moment for the parents and for their newly married kids.

Say “THANK YOU,” publicly.

Taking some time out after all the toasts to say express your gratitude and thankfulness is a simple, thoughtful and meaningful way to involve family. With a little preparation, this can be a very touching moment in such a meaningful day. Just be sure to include everyone who needs to be included so that no one has their feelings hurt.

** Bonus**


One person you may want to pay special attention to is the groom’s mom, your future mother-in-law. Traditionally she may not have much involvement or responsibilities, but it would be a great idea to involve her as much as you can.  Be sure and invite her to all the bridal showers, various events (wedding dress shopping, visiting vendors, etc.), maybe even invite her to part of the bachelorette party (dinner/drinks beforehand). It’s better to include and extend an invitation rather than be exclusive, even if it is unintentional. She may have great talents that can be used and could use extra help for more laborious tasks.  One fun idea would be planning the rehearsal dinner together so it doesn’t just fall on her.

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