The first step is asking.

While moms, friends, and other important women in a bride's life tend to have the most active roles in wedding planning and prep, that doesn't mean that every big day task should be left up to the girls. There are a number of ways that your dad, your stepdad, your future father-in-law, or other important male family members can be active participants in your celebration. (And we're not just talking about walking you down the aisle.)

No matter who you consider to be part of your inner circle, it's important to remember that if you want their input and help, you have to ask. In general, men tend to be a bit more passive when wedding planning kicks into full gear. It's not because they don't care, but rather because they figure you've got things covered. How do you go about involving the men in your life in this special process? Here, some of our favorite ideas.

Ask about his experiences with love and marriage.

You probably know how your parents met, but have you ever heard the whole proposal story? Have you ever asked your future father-in-law about how he met his wife? If you really want to engage the dads in your life, start by having a heart-to-heart about his life and experiences with love and marriage. In addition to hearing any stories he might like to share, your dad, stepdad, or future father-in-law may have some special words of wisdom for you and your fiancé.

Use him as a sounding board.

They may not want to spend entire weekends scouting out venues, but the dads in your life love being seen as a reliable sounding board with your best interests in mind. Once you find a few venues or vendors you really like, ask for his opinion. Totally stumped? He might have great ideas of his own that aren't even on your radar.

Make the ceremony ask early.

It's your responsibility to decide who will walk you down the aisle, and it's a thoughtful gesture to ask him (or them!) in a special way. If you make your ask early, your dad, future father-in-law, grandfather, uncle, or brother will feel especially inclined to be involved in the early parts of planning.

Ask him to take on a special job.

If you have multiple dads in your life that are important to you, know that walking down the aisle isn't the only job available to him. Musical performances, delivering readings, and officiating the ceremony are all special ways to include the key men in your life, and you two can work on his task together.

Invite him along for the fun stuff.

No matter how much your dad loves you, he may not feel comfortable joining you for dress shopping. But that doesn't mean he doesn't want to be involved in any planning tasks. Invite him to the food tasting, to hear a potential band perform, or to an appointment with a cake baker and he's bound to be there.


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