One of my favourite things about planning and co-ordinating weddings is seeing two families come together to celebrate marriage. Now that I’m engaged and planning my own wedding, I am so excited about involving my family and Glen’s in the process.
Something Glen and I decided at the beginning of our engagement is that our wedding is not entirely about us and the things we like. For the most part, our special day is about gathering our friends and family – the people who love us more than anyone – and honouring them with a big celebration. You can read more about our wedding philosophy here.
With that in mind, we are doing as much as we can to involve our families in our wedding, knowing that how we treat them during our engagement sets the tone for our relationships when we are married. Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for most of the wedding and heads up the wedding planning. These days, a lot of couples are throwing traditions out the window! Some of those traditions include who pays, who plans and who makes the decisions. Gone are the days where the bride gets to ignore her fiance’s – and his family’s – ideas. And I love that!
[Side note: I understand that a lot of people come from broken homes and the idea of including your parents, siblings or extended family in anything is complicated and painful. This blog post comes from the perspective of two loving families coming together.]
How To Involve Your Family In Planning Your Wedding
Whether you are a fan of tradition or not, there are lots of ways to involve your families in your wedding, right from the start. Glen and I aren’t including a lot of traditional things in our wedding, so some of our ideas may be new to you. I hope that my suggestions will help you to become even closer with your family and your fiance’s during this exciting season.
1. Decide how involved you would like everyone to be
Before you start getting creative, sit down with your fiance and decide how involve the two of you will be. As a bride, you may want to be a little more involved than your future husband, and he may be happy with that. You may be a bit more relaxed and open to letting him take charge. Regardless of the decision, you need to establish how involved you will be and only then can you start to include your families.
I am so blessed to have Glen by my side. He has been equally involved in every decision we have made. As a wedding co-ordinator, naturally I’m overseeing the admin side of things, but Glen knows as much about our wedding as I do, and I love it!
Once you and your fiance are on the same page, you can begin to chat about your families and how they can be involved. Then chat to your families and see how involved they would like to be.
2. Get them involved in your engagement
If you aren’t engaged yet, but you are thinking about it, tell your family. Get them on your side before things are official and the whole process will be that much easier. Glen asked my parents’ permission to marry me and he had his parents set up our proposal without me knowing about it. Now we have two sets of parents and siblings that not only love our wedding ideas, but also support our relationship.
3. Involve them in the budget
I think it goes without saying that most weddings are paid for by the parents. When putting together your wedding budget, ask your families how much they would like to contribute financially. They may be willing to contribute a lot more or a lot less than you expect, but being open with them and allowing them to be open with you will enable your parents to know how thankful you are.
4. Share your ideas with them
Before we began looking for our wedding venue, we made a list of the requirements we had and we shared that with our families. Glen’s mom spent ages looking at venues online for us, helping us to find something amazing. Every time we found a potential venue, we showed our parents photos to get their opinion.
Now that we have a venue and we are starting to think about decor ideas, we are showing our families photos of our ideas and getting their input. We aren’t asking them to do anything yet, but we are including them in our wedding day dreams.
5. Include your siblings in the bridal party
This is a very personal decision and it isn’t something you should take lightly. Some people choose not to have their siblings on their bridal party – for lots of reasons – and that’s okay. Glen and I are having my brother and Glen’s brother-in-law, Garth as groomsmen, and we are having Glen’s sister, Lauren and my brother’s fiance, Jess as bridesmaids. We love them all so that was a no brainer for us.
6. Take them to see your wedding venue
Once your family has seen your wedding venue, they will understand how special it is to you and they will be as excited as you are when you talk about it!
7. Get them involved in DIY decor
Ask your families to collect things that you need for the wedding (candles, jars, ribbons, etc). Plan a “decor day” and have your family and bridal party get together to make things for the wedding. Once your family walks into your wedding venue and sees something that they made, they will feel so special.
8. Show them your wedding outfits
This is another very personal decision not to be taken too lightly. Some brides choose to keep their dress a surprise and not show anyone at all. I’ve shown my bridesmaids, my parents, Glen’s parents and one or two groomsmen, including my brother. If you haven’t picked a dress yet, you may want to consider inviting your mom and future mother-in-law with you to try on dresses or look at wedding shoes and accessories.
If you aren’t excited about showing them your outfit, why not go shopping with them to buy theirs?
9. Ask your parents to tell you about their wedding
I love looking at wedding photos, and most people love to show off their wedding photos. Get your parents excited about your wedding by asking them to tell you about theirs! They may have some lovely traditions that you could include in your ceremony to honour them.
Have you done anything special to include your families in your wedding? I would love to hear all about it in the comments.