8 Ways to Keep Family Involved in Wedding Traditions During the Ceremony

Including family and loved ones in wedding traditions can be tricky, but there are ways that they can still be a part of the big day. Read on for more!

By Shameika Rhymes

Keep Family Involved in Wedding Traditions
Photo by Brianna Wilbur Photography

The First Look ✨

  • Use “something borrowed” as a family heirloom that’s been passed down and incorporate it into your wedding ceremony.
  • Include family members by having a blending families part of the ceremony with roses, candles, or sand.
  • Mail out recipe cards or wedding cake so that everyone can participate in the reception wedding cake tradition.

Your wedding is a day to celebrate your union, your love, and creating a new family circle. One of the key parts of your wedding may be to find a way to honor you and your partner’s heritage, family, and/or cultural traditions. Whether it’s paying tribute to loved ones that have passed away to acknowledging specific loved ones, Zola is here to help you find a way to make sure that everyone feels included. With the pandemic, it can be a bit tricky to make sure that no one is left out, but, if the wedding is socially distanced or via video, here are eight ways to include loved ones into your big day.

8 Ways to Keep Family Involved in Wedding Traditions During the Ceremony Photo Credit // Nikk Nguyen Photo

#1 Choose Song Selections Together

Music has a way of uniting people and raising their spirits, so if you’re planning to incorporate music into your ceremony or reception, why not exchange a playlist of song ideas with your loved ones? You can use the music for special dances with family members, including the father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, or even your first dance as a married couple. Best of all, you can listen to each other’s choices, and narrow them down over the phone or a planned video chat. If you have musically talented family members or friends, perhaps include them by asking them to sing a selection or play an instrument as you walk down the aisle.

#2 Incorporate Generational Pieces into the Ceremony

One way to keep family close is to take a loved one’s piece of jewelry, such as a ring, brooch, or handkerchief, and secure it around your bouquet. It’s a subtle way to keep family close and involved in the ceremony. If you plan to jump the broom to seal your union, a traditional wedding act performed at some Black weddings, perhaps use a broom that’s been passed down from family members or have a loved one create a special one for the occasion. If there isn’t a special piece that’s been passed down from generation to generation, your wedding could be the one to kick-start a new family tradition.

#3 Have Loved Ones Stand Up at the Altar

Tradition has a wedding party, or a scaled-down version of the best man and maid of honor, surrounding the couple at the altar. You don’t have to stick to tradition, instead, you can have your loved ones, whether it’s both sets of parents, grandparents, or siblings stand with you at the altar as your wedding party. For example, if either the bride or groom’s family is Jewish, you can honor family and roots with a chuppah, a canopy on poles that represents your new home and marriage. You can have wedding guests sign it then attach it to the poles, so it symbolically has the blessings of loved ones hanging over you.

#4 Whip Up a Family Recipe for the Reception

There’s nothing like having your favorite recipe from a loved one as a main dish, or even on the dessert table during your reception. Imagine putting your grandma’s infamous pound cake or cobbler on the table for all to enjoy? If it’s a socially distanced wedding over video chat, you can share the recipe ahead of time and ask that everyone who will be tuning in to watch to make it for the big day and eat it during the wedding reception.

#5 Send a Piece of the Reception

During the pandemic, many families have had to watch their loved ones get married via video services such as Zoom or Skype. They miss out on attending the reception to celebrate and break bread, so why not include a piece of your wedding so that they have it ahead of the ceremony? Pick out mini cakes or slices that are the same flavor as your wedding cake and mail them to your guests. So, when you cut the cake over the video, your guests can also eat along with you and feel like they are a part of the reception activities.

#6 Blend Families Together

There are many rituals where you can include blending families. A sand ceremony that includes the bride and groom’s parents, or even the children of the bride of the groom, is one way to symbolically merge families. A unity candle is another way to help unite families, as is a rose ceremony where you give both mothers a red and white rose to symbolize the two families coming together.

#7 Have a Family Member Officiate

Whether it’s officiating the ceremony online or in person, a family member or loved one getting ordained for the occasion is another way to honor them and include them in the ceremony. It will make the ceremony personal and make it extra special knowing that the person that married you has a special place in your heart and you in theirs.

#8 Pay Homage to Those No Longer Here

8 Ways to Keep Family Involved in Wedding Traditions During the Ceremony Photo Credit // Tiffany Chapman Photography

There are many ways to honor loved ones that have passed away. You can ask for a moment of silence for those that aren’t there, or even have family members light a remembrance candle or light it yourself. Keep open seats to represent loved ones who have passed on with a nameplate and/or a flower resting on the seat to honor them. Create a memorial table or keep flowers on the altar in remembrance of them.

Zola can help with your wedding day planning and make sure that you include all of your family wedding traditions. Create a free custom wedding website. You can also explore our extensive library of wedding knowledge to help with your journey to the altar. Zola is here to help make it an easy and enjoyable experience.

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