Two dads escort their daughter down the wedding aisle.

Honoring Dad On Your Wedding Day

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Put a Spin on Tradition

Tradition dictates that fathers walk their daughters down the wedding aisle on their wedding day.

However, there are so many other more meaningful ways of honoring Dad on your wedding day.

If he’s not a fan of attention, be sure to share a private moment together. Or, give him the opportunity to steal the spotlight with his dance moves.

No matter what you do to honor your dad, stepdad, and father-in-law at your wedding, it will mean the world to them.

Here are several ways to show your love and recognize the man or men who raised you through thick and thin.

Tap Into Dad’s Talents

A mother and father link arms and walk during the recessional at their daughter's wedding.
A proud Dad escorts his wife down the aisle following their daughter’s wedding.

Dads with DIY genes know just what to do with a hammer and nails. Leverage their skills at backyard weddings to appropriately deck out the yard. Their expertise will enable you to execute your wedding vision by knowing how to add things like gauzy fabric and lighting in a non-destructive way.

They may also be visionaries, creating a beautiful and romantic wedding backdrop, such as the gazebo as shown in the photo above!

Be sure to leverage Dad’s other skills and expertise:

  • Book lovers – Read a passage from a book, poem, or prayer at the ceremony that speaks about a Father’s love
  • Musicians – Ask Dad to accompany your wedding singer or perform a short song at the ceremony
  • Speakers/Humorists – Be sure to ask him to deliver a toast at the reception
  • Food – Bring Dad along as an expert taster at your menu sampling and cake tasting

Whatever your dad’s talents, all of these personal contributions make for a special and one-of-a-kind experience you will remember forever.

Thank Him with a Special Note

A dad prepares to walk his daughter down the wedding aisle at an outdoor wedding.
Before the solemn moment of being walked down the aisle, let your dad know how you feel.

Even if your dad isn’t sentimental, he will definitely experience wedding day emotions. A simple note expressing your thanks is an easy, heart-felt way to let your dad know how important he is to you and honor him on your wedding day.

Consider tucking a note into his suit jacket as a surprise. Or, enlist the help of a family member or friend to deliver the note with his wedding day gift when he’s getting ready.

He can then find a private moment alone during the day to read it.

Ask Dad to Officiate the Ceremony

A father holds a large tome as he officiates his daughter's wedding. Witnessed look on during this Dungeon and Dragons themed wedding.
This dad officiated the epic Dungeons and Dragons themed wedding of his daughter.

While Dad may prefer taking a back seat to your wedding affair, he will likely be more than honored if you asked him to officiate.

To make things official, look into getting your father ordained online. Dad may also be a great resource to work with you and your partner on finalizing your wedding vows and making them personal.

Consider, too, asking your father-In-law to officiate. This would be a great way of honoring your dad and your father-In-law by including both sides of the family and creating a doubly touching ceremony.

Do a Father-Daughter First Look

A father and daughter hug after a personal father-daughter first look.
Ask your bridesmaids to give you some private time with dad for a father-daughter first look before he walks you down the aisle.

A father-daughter first look is a moment when the father sees his daughter dressed as a bride for the first time. Since it happens in a more private setting, it can help capture those tender emotions that dads rarely reveal in public.

To include a father-daughter first look in your timeline, make sure to give your photographer and wedding planner a heads-up. Budget about 15 minutes right after the getting ready photos and before the first look with the groom, if you’re having one.

You should also let your dad know in advance that you’d like a few minutes together. Be sure to let him know the time when he should be finally dressed and the exact location.

Ideally, you will want an uncluttered spot with great lighting. To make things less hectic and more private, ask your bridesmaids to clear out beforehand.

Name a Signature Cocktail in His Honor

Signature cocktails, like this one, show your dad, father in law or step dad is a simple way of honoring them on your wedding.

Say cheers to the men who raised you by creating a cocktail in their name. Incorporate a favorite type of alcohol or style of drink that speaks to their character and preferencese.

It’s a truly unexpected way to pay tribute and incorporate their legacy into your day.

Make the Father/Daughter Dance Special

The father of the bride and his daughter dance together in a special wedding dance.
A bride and her father dance together during the reception.

Most weddings incorporate a father-daughter dance as part of the reception. It’s become something of a given, especially at traditional weddings.

Why not use this expectation as an excuse for some quality dad-daughter time and take dance lessons together in the months before the wedding?

Make some new memories with Dad and help him feel a part of the wedding day by learning some steps that just the two of you know. Keep this a secret from your other family members to surprise everyone at the reception.

Alternatively, you could both choreograph a special dance together where you can bust a move after the anticipated slow dancing. What better way to get the party started?

Remember Fathers Who Have Passed

If deceased, consider honoring your dad on your wedding day with a memory table filled with photos and a candle.
Weddings provide an opportunity to honor those missing in our lives.

Life’s biggest moments often cause people to pause and reflect on those now missing in their lives. Some couples may decide they’re emotionally comfortable to include a remembrance of their departed loved ones at their ceremony or reception.

If you’re looking to honor your dad who has passed, here are a few ideas:

  • Print a prayer, poem, or anecdote on the backside of the program
  • Include a small memento of your father in your bouquet or stitched inside your dress (jewelry, shirt, handkerchief)
  • Sing his favorite song at the ceremony or play it later at the reception
  • Lay a flower on an empty seat or next to your mother at your ceremony
  • Pause at the ceremony in a moment of silence/reflection or light a candle in his memory
  • Toast your dad at the reception
  • Create a memory table with framed photos
  • Consider guests donating to a special charity in his honor in lieu of gifts
  • Instead of wedding favors, donate the money to charity instead

For additional inspiration on honoring dad, read “7 Ways a Bride Chose to Honor Her Deceased Father” on Basic Invite. Have some tissue on hand–it’s a moving story.

Above All, Be Inclusive and Considerate

With a tear in his eye, the father of the bride and his wife dance together and look at the wedding couple.
A proud dad, with tears in his eyes, dances with his wife at his daughter’s wedding.

Remember, every relationship between a father and daughter is different.

Your dad may be sentimental and your groom’s father might not be.

No matter the type of man, be sure to include Dad on your wedding day and show him that you care.

“A father holds his daughter’s hand for a short while, but he holds her heart forever.”

– Unknown

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