Honor the ones you love with these ideas.
wedding guests pose with bride outdoors
Credit: Branco Prata

When planning a wedding, it's hard to find a place for everyone who has played an important role in your life. We want to honor those who we love and who have loved us, but a massive bridal party isn't for everyone. If you already have a growing list of bridesmaids and groomsmen, here are other ways to make sure your family members and friends are involved.

Incorporate Your Family Members and Friends

Rosemary Hattenbach, owner of Rosemary Events, recommends that a bride and groom with a large inner circle limit their bridal party to siblings and one close friend each. Then, assign those you wish to honor-fraternity brothers, cousins, college roommates-a specific color palette to wear. One bride gave her sorority sisters flower crowns, while another handed out nosegays for honored individuals to carry. "That way, they have a common thing that connects them to the wedding party," Hattenbach explained.

Another option is to allow your other family members and friends to walk in with the processional. Instead of standing up front once they reach the end of the aisle, the group simply sits down and enjoys the ceremony. If you need just one extra spot for a close friend or relative, consider having that person officiate the wedding. It's becoming more and more popular to have someone close to the bride and groom perform the ceremony, instead of a religious figure or judge. Last but not least, assigning close friends or family a poem or part of the blessing is a popular option. Hattenbach recalls one bride who found a six-part blessing, and allowed her sorority sisters to each read one section of it.

Incorporate the Children

In many families, there are numerous small children and hardly any way to feature them. Take a cue from royal weddings and have small pageboys and flower girls walk down the aisle together; if there is a baby who can't quite walk yet, Hattenbach suggests having the other children pull them in a decorated wagon.

Combining two already-existing families is hard enough; creating a blended family presents an entirely different set of challenges. Hattenbach suggests the bride's children and the groom's children both light the unity candle, as a way to symbolize the families coming together as one. Another option is to have the children walk with the newly married couple back up the aisle, since they are now united as one family unit. "That way, the kids are embraced and part of the relationship, and included as family," Hattenbach said.

Use Seating to Your Advantage

An easy way to include people you wish to honor is in the form of special seating, both during the ceremony as well as the reception. Have your chosen few walk in during the processional and sit in a designated area. Or, if there is assigned seating at the reception, put your honored guests at a table closest to the bride and groom.

Overall, trends are leaning towards a more personal wedding ceremony; there's no better time to let your personality shine through. "Ideas like this evolve organically," Hattenbach explained. "It's truly a reflection of the people you're working with."


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