Dear Barb – Involving extended family in the wedding

Dear Barb:

My fiancé and I are planning our wedding. The problem is that my parents are divorced and both are remarried. I know tradition says my father should walk me down the isle, but I don’t want to leave out my stepparents or my mother.

Do you have any suggestions on how I could include my parents as well as stepparents in the ceremony?

Nicole in Chicago

Hi Nicole, and congratulations on your upcoming wedding. It is very nice that you want to include both parents and stepparents in your wedding. While I don’t know your situation, I am assuming your parents and stepparents contributed significantly to your upbringing, which is why you want to include them both.

Wedding ceremonies today are a reflection of our changing society. With the high divorce rate, most families have been touched to some degree by family separation and remarriage.

I am not sure of your religious denomination, or if the wedding will be taking place in a Church, but I will assume that is the case. There are a number of options open to you; in fact, I think any way you choose to have your ceremony would be accommodated by most Churches, or where ever your wedding is to take place.

Have you considered having just your mother and father walk you down the isle? Perhaps you could have your father on one side and your stepfather on the other. The mothers could then light a special candle at the beginning of the ceremony, along with the groom’s mother of course.

Another option, which is my favorite, is to have your mother and stepfather, or your father and stepmother bring you halfway down the isle, where the other set of parents is waiting in the pews to take you the rest of the way. When you reach the halfway point, the set of parents that is with you drops behind while the other set brings you the rest of the way, with the first set of parents following behind. Once everyone reaches the altar, you go to your waiting groom, while the parents sit together in their prearranged seats.

I have actually witnessed a wedding like this and it worked out beautifully. The transition from one set of parents to the other was done naturally and looked every elegant.

Ultimately the final decision is up to you and your fiancé, as you can pretty well do whatever you desire. It’s your day, and a day that people will remember always, so carefully consider all your options.

I hope I was helpful and best wishes Nicole, I’m sure you will have a beautiful day no matter what you choose.

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