Modern Ways to Include Family in your Wedding Ceremony

Family and friends, hey? You want to let them know that they are special!

Why Bother?

One of the best aspects about getting married or having any form of ceremony is that you can take the opportunity to recognise your loved ones and thank them for all that they do. It is also an opportunity to make sure that everyone is feeling loved up and inclusive. It breaks the ice, it can make a ceremony more memorable and it can help personalise a ceremony so that it is a true reflection of the couple uniting. There are so many reasons … these are just a few!

I could prattle on about the significance of marriage and unity in bringing families together – but I’d like to assume that this is pretty obvious. In most cases we want to bring families together and willingly!

Having a laugh with family during a wedding ceremony

Having a laugh with family during and friends during a wedding ceremony – personalising it to the couple getting married = FUN. Image by Shannon Stent.

The image above was captured at a wedding conducted in Pemberton Western Australia. It was a memorable and fun occassion in which two very different families were united in a wedding ceremony at Stonebarn. The Bride’s family were South Korean, the Groom’s family were Italian. In getting to know the couple and learning about their different cultures and religions, it was just scratching the surface! What inspired careful listening during the ceremony and ripples of laughter was engaging with family and friends on a deeper level. The bride and groom had told me a funny story about how a particular Uncle was such a loving and sensitive soul that he had the habit of crying at the best of times – even when they were happy – due to his sensitive side. The couple advised me that there was absolute certainty he would shed a tear through their wedding. With sparkles in our eyes, we plotted to acknowledge this relative by having a box of tissues on hand … so that we could be in readiness for his tears and make him feel special when it came to prospering him a tissue when he needed it most! The result was simply wonderful! Just as planned, the relative arced up with big crocodile tears and …we were ready. When he was offered a tissue he couldnt believe it! And then when he realised it was a gentle jab and the bride and groom were in raucous laughter, he returned the humour by offering me (their celebrant) the tissues back. It all took no longer than a few seconds and the gesture was a simple one. The bride and groom successfully acknowledged their appreciation for their family caring about the two of them and despite the linguistic barriers etc, everyone managed to see the light in the gesture and have a laugh. Laughter … is so effective in joining people together and breaking the ice. It is also just one example of how to include family in a wedding ceremony – without it being too cheesy!

The questions I often get asked as a wedding celebrant are not only “What are Modern Ways to Include Family in my Wedding Ceremony?” but more explicit questions include:

“How can we involve our kids?”

“What can we do to make our mums feel special?”

“Does anyone do the ‘giving away thingy” these days?”

and even more common the question is asked of me (with raised eyebrows and confused expressions):

“How can we include something that’s not CHEESY?”

Sound familiar?

The fact is, each of us is very different. We all have different norms, values, experiences, religions, senses of humour, ideas of what is cheesy…..

It is a bit tricky for any marriage celebrant to answer the above questions without knowing their couple better and asking lots of questions. If they launch straight into giving you a host of copy and pasted recommendations without asking you lots of questions first then BEWARE. Cheeeeeeeezzzzzy Celebrant alert!

As a couple about to get hitched, my assumption is that you both know your families and each other better than anyone else. Letting the celebrant know as much information as possible helps. Their initial questions (direct or by way of a questionnaire should help guide you).

Getting to know a couple well is essential if you want the desired outcome to be genuine and heartfelt. Questions pitched to a couple by a celebrant can then be narrowed down further.

“Who is the person or the people that you most want to acknowledge? ”

“Why do you want to acknowledge them?”

“Does this person or do they like being the center of attention?”

“What have you perhaps seen at other weddings or ceremonies that you liked or disliked?”

“Are you religious or do you hold any firm believes or passions?”

In the next couple of months I hope to share some really innovative ideas on how to be creative with ceremonies so that you can make your loved ones feel special and involved without feeling like a …. complete wally. 

Modern Ways to Include Family in your Wedding Ceremony. Topics include (and are not limited to):

Unique Walks down the Aisle

Giving Always that are Simply Awesome

Recommended Wedding Readings and Blessings

Using Symbolism in Traditional and Non Traditional Weddings

Sensational Ways to Open and Close a Wedding (or other) Ceremony

Marriage Rituals for Merging Couples and Families

Weddings and making the most of Culture and Tradition

Wedding Acknowledgements: the Cool Approach to Honouring Loved Ones (Present and Not Present)

Including Pets in your Wedding Ceremony: Tips for Animal Lovers

If anyone has anything they wish to add to the mix … or any comments … I welcome them. Each of these pieces will be organic with each topic pointing to a dedicated page which will be updated with new ideas learned and suggestions shared. The desired outcome is that this page and linking pages will really be useful to people who are seeking “Modern Ways to Include Family in your Wedding Ceremony”. Please feel free to contact  me, Joanne Armstrong, marriage celebrant in Margaret River and surroundings, via emailonline form or phone +61 416 218 799.


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