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Customs and Traditions

Ways to Include Dad in Wedding

Hi everyone. My dad passed away in August of this year and my wedding is June of 2019. I was wondering if anyone had any alternate ways of honoring a loved one or particularly a father who won't be there. My dad and I were super close, so his loss makes it difficult for me. I really want him mentioned or present in some way. Any ideas?? Should I do a father/daughter dance still? With who? Who walks me down the aisle? 
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Re: Ways to Include Dad in Wedding

  • Hi everyone. My dad passed away in August of this year and my wedding is June of 2019. I was wondering if anyone had any alternate ways of honoring a loved one or particularly a father who won't be there. My dad and I were super close, so his loss makes it difficult for me. I really want him mentioned or present in some way. Any ideas?? Should I do a father/daughter dance still? With who? Who walks me down the aisle? 
    You can choose another individual to walk you down the aisle or dance (or both), you can walk alone, or walk with your FI. A friend of mine who had lost her father asked her Mom to walk and dance with her.
    Did your father have a favorite song or food/drink item that you can incorporate? Doing these types of things are great in memory without being "in your face" to anyone who might still be mournful. I tied a picture of my grandmother in a small locket around my bouquet because she had passed before my wedding and I wanted to know I had something there of her.
    image
    ahoyweddingshort+sassy
  • I am sorry for your loss. This will be an emotional day for you. To keep the focus on the marriage, it might be best to do a wedding program (if you weren't planning on doing this, you might want to reconsider) and simply list his name in the program as your father. 

    And you can walk down the aisle alone, or with your mother.

    You don't have to substitute anyone in a father/daughter dance. Just skip it altogether.

    short+sassy
  • We did a paragraph on the back of our programs "in remembrance" of those who are no longer with us, and specifically listed our grandparents. Not the same as losing a parent, I know. However, I agree with PP's that subtle touches are best. Dance to his favorite song, serve his favorite cocktail as a signature drink, have his favorite appetizer passed, incorporate something of his that you love into your something old, new, borrowed, blue (if you're doing that). I'm so sorry for your loss.
    short+sassy
  • TK won't let me edit - but I wanted to add that if he had a favorite poem, bible reading, etc that work for a wedding you could use those in your ceremony as well if you are having any readings.
    MairePoppy
  • I am so very sorry for your loss. Your wedding day will be very emotional for many reasons. I agree with PPs to keep the remembrances subtle. Many good ideas have already been listed. 

    You don't have to do a spotlight dance. It may be a good idea to have either your mother or another relative walk you down the aisle. You may be very emotional a need an arm to lean on or may be not. Only you know yourself and how you deal with such things. 

    Best wishes for your wedding day!
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    edited September 2018
    I'm very sorry for your loss.

    As PPs mention, you can do several subtle things to remember your father: if your ceremony is religious, you can have appropriate prayers said for him, you can give him a tribute in a wedding program if you are using them; you can wear or carry something he owned or associated with him, offer food, drinks, decorations or entertainment he would have enjoyed, and you or another person can mention him briefly in a speech. If you have a photo display, you can include a photo of your father if it is subtle: include photos of others, including living persons, in the display. Don't have "reserved" seats with flowers or photos of your father on them because they're too funereal.

    You can walk down the aisle with your mother and/or someone else of your choice and even have a dance, but you can also skip the dance. If you do these things, the one caution I would advise is to treat the person/s you are walking or dancing with as your partners in their own capacities. For example, don't label the dance "father/daughter" or suggest that your aisle escort is "substituting" for your father.
    short+sassy
  • I'm so sorry for your loss.

    Ditto PPs. Have small, subtle reminders of your dad. Serve his favorite cocktail, play his favorite song, hang a locket with his picture or his cuff links on your bouquet, etc. If you're doing a slideshow, include pictures of him with you just as you would any other relatives. Too much "remembrance" turns a joyous celebration like a wedding into a time for mourning, which isn't what you want.

    Personally I would skip the dance. Your mom could walk you down the aisle or just walk solo, whatever you're comfortable with. 
    short+sassy
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    mod
    I was planning to do a slideshow with the intended father/daughter dance song we had picked prior to his passing, but based on the above responses, feel it might be too funeraly. I think I'm going to have my two brothers walk me down even though we aren't that close? I'm also considering not doing any spotlight dances other than my fiance and I's first dance so as not to draw attention to the fact my dad isn't there. Has anyone else ever not done spotlight dances?
    Most importantly, I'm so sorry for your loss.

    I didn't do any spotlight dances at all. NBD. The last wedding I attended only had a B&G first dance, no parent dances.

    And yes, I really think the slideshow would be too much. You and your family are going to be very aware that your dad isn't there on that day and it will be hard for you, without these huge visible reminders of it. I know that at first it seems like you "should" do something but you'll be feeling his loss without any of that, and big in-your-face reminders of the loss will bring down the good mood of the day. If you believe in this kind of thing, your dad will be there with you that day, even without a slideshow and I would hope he'd want you to be happy and enjoy your day as you become your FI's wife and not re-live his funeral. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    ahoyweddingshort+sassyInLoveInQueens
  • I think you are wise not to do the video. It will be too painful on what should be a joyous day. And it's fine not to do the spotlight dances. They really aren't required by etiquette or even by tradition. (I didn't even know they were called 'spotlight' dances until I came to this site!). But I did know that whatever one calls them, they can be quite boring to watch, so even without a loss like yours, it's fine just to do the bride/groom dance. That's sweet, and most people enjoy watching it.
    short+sassy
  • I was planning to do a slideshow with the intended father/daughter dance song we had picked prior to his passing, but based on the above responses, feel it might be too funeraly. I think I'm going to have my two brothers walk me down even though we aren't that close? I'm also considering not doing any spotlight dances other than my fiance and I's first dance so as not to draw attention to the fact my dad isn't there. Has anyone else ever not done spotlight dances?

    I am so sorry for your loss.  My own father unexpectedly passed when I was only 20.  My loss wasn't as recent as yours when I got married, but his absence was keenly missed.  However, it was still a joyful and beautiful day.  I hope it is the same for you.  I'm sure that is what your father would want.

    As others mentioned, I included remembrances of him, but they were small and personal.  My processional music was one of his favorite classical pieces.  I didn't buy my H a wedding ring, because he doesn't like rings and wouldn't wear it.  But, for the ceremony, we used my dad's wedding ring.  I realize that doesn't work for most people because their H will have their own ring.  However, for us, it was incredibly special.

    Here's a little secret for just us gals on here ;).  I had planned to walk myself down the aisle.  But my mom just assumed she would be walking me down the aisle.  I was fine with that also and went with it.  On the day of, I was glad she did.  Like other PP's said, you can choose whomever you want to walk you down the aisle or walk yourself down.

    Completely skip spotlight parent dances.  They aren't necessary.  I think dancing with your mom or your brothers at a time when it would normally have been your dad is potential for an emotional breakdown.  At least it would have been for me.

    Now that I've touched on your questions, I also want to give you some advice that I hope is helpful.

    I knew my wedding would be a day when I would especially miss my father, but I didn't want to be overcome with that.  I carved out some alone time that morning and went to a pretty outdoor spot.  I envisioned him in heaven listening to me and I talked to him.  I told him about my happiness and, as much as I wished he could be there physically, I knew he would be there watching down.  Then I let myself have a big cry.  Get it all out.

    For the rest of the day, when my thoughts turned to him, I pictured him smiling down on all the people he loved gathered together.  And I was happy and comforted, instead of sad. 


    ****This!!!! Just reading your words, I felt moved.
    ILoveBeachMusicshort+sassycharlotte989875
  • This is extremely comforting. There have been a lot of "emotional" moments so far in the planning and I just want to both remember him at the wedding, but also approach the wedding as a celebration as it will be. I think the hardest part is planning something so happy while also mourning such a big loss.
    ILoveBeachMusicshort+sassyJen4948
  • I am so sorry for your loss, I know how hard it is. My dad has passed away as well and thinking about the father daughter dance just tore me to pieces. BUT, my sister is doing something amazing for me that solves everything. She is going to put together a song with voice overs by my dad from home videos and I am going to dance with the important men in my life. Maybe this is something you can do as well, now I am looking forward to the dance rather than dreading it. As for walking down the aisle, still trying to figure that one out. 
  • Thanks for asking! I should have clarified better, I think I might have given you the wrong idea. My dad's voice isn't going to be singing the song, my sister is going to take snippets of home videos of my dad saying things like "i love you" etc. and play it over a father/daughter song. You are right it might take some guests by surprise and might make guests tear up, but for me it wouldn't be a sad thing it would make me really happy. And quite frankly, I am willing to 'shock' my guests if that means I get the privilege of hearing my dad's voice at my wedding:) however, I really don't think our guests will be too shocked to begin with. Everyone there who knew my dad will feel the same way as I do and anyone who didn't shouldn't care enough for it to bother them. It is different and its for sure not for everybody, but this has certainly taken away some grief about not being able to dance with my dad. You are also totally right though no dance needs to even happen, but if you do want to have some sort of a father/dance this is a cool way to do it. 
  • I have to agree with MobKaz and ShesSoCold. My mother passed away 15 years ago. There are still moments I get emotional - and it isn't always predictable. Your wedding will be a very emotional day for many reasons - very happy and joyous ones. This idea could really become a sad one for you and others there. I know I would be a total mess if it were me.
    eileenrob
  • I too have to agree with PPs. I tell the story often of a wedding I went to, where the bride set a flower/photo of a deceased family member at the ceremony. I started crying and had to leave, I missed the ceremony because I was so emotional. I would have never thought I would have had that reaction, and to this day I am a bit bitter that that person put me in that situation so unexpectedly. 
    image
  • I have to agree with MobKaz and ShesSoCold. My mother passed away 15 years ago. There are still moments I get emotional - and it isn't always predictable. Your wedding will be a very emotional day for many reasons - very happy and joyous ones. This idea could really become a sad one for you and others there. I know I would be a total mess if it were me.
     As I said before it's not for everybody. Its really going to be more of happy thing than a sad thing. To me it's way more important to include my dad in a way that makes me happy rather than worry about what other people are thinking. I lost my dad at a very young age, and I learned a long time ago not to tolerate people who feel uncomfortable about talking him or bringing him up. It will be very emotional, but weddings are emotional rollercoasters, and it's ok to cry one second and dance the next. SO. That being said, I will continue to plan on doing what makes me happy, and I was just sharing something that has really helped me throughout this process. Thanks for your opinions, but I really wasn't asking for them, I was just throwing an idea out there that might help the asker. 
  • I have to agree with MobKaz and ShesSoCold. My mother passed away 15 years ago. There are still moments I get emotional - and it isn't always predictable. Your wedding will be a very emotional day for many reasons - very happy and joyous ones. This idea could really become a sad one for you and others there. I know I would be a total mess if it were me.
     As I said before it's not for everybody. Its really going to be more of happy thing than a sad thing. To me it's way more important to include my dad in a way that makes me happy rather than worry about what other people are thinking. I lost my dad at a very young age, and I learned a long time ago not to tolerate people who feel uncomfortable about talking him or bringing him up. It will be very emotional, but weddings are emotional rollercoasters, and it's ok to cry one second and dance the next. SO. That being said, I will continue to plan on doing what makes me happy, and I was just sharing something that has really helped me throughout this process. Thanks for your opinions, but I really wasn't asking for them, I was just throwing an idea out there that might help the asker. 
    Well that's just great that you don't care if you upset your guests. I hope they can handle it. For the record, when you post something on a public forum expect people to comment it whether you ask them to or not. We are just trying to help you think about how people might feel while attending your wedding and reception. 
    ahoyweddingInLoveInQueens
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Find something else that both makes you happy to remember your dad AND doesn't negatively affect other people.

    Anniversary

    justsie
  • Find something else that both makes you happy to remember your dad AND doesn't negatively affect other people.
    This.  Serve one of his favorite foods at cocktail hour.  Play one of his favorite songs during the reception.  Tie one of his ties around your bouquet.  Hearing his voice could have a negative effect on some of your guests in a way these ideas won’t.
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