It's your wedding, but there's another couple who deserves a nod on your big day: Your parents. "While a wedding is about the joining of two lives, a wedding truly is about the joining of two families," explains Chandra Keel, owner of Chandra Keel Events in Phoenix.
And such a merger, she says, deserves recognition. "Getting married is such a pivotal point in a person's life that it's only fitting to include your parents and honor them in a way that shows gratitude for this beautiful time in your life and theirs as well," Keel says. "It's important that they feel not just included but that they are the highest guests of honor." Here's how to do just that.
Ask the Father of the Bride to Give a Speech
"There is no greater way for couples to honor their parents than to ask the father of the bride to give a speech in recognition of his daughter and son-in-law, and thank everyone for attending," says Keel. Traditionally, a father would toast the couple because he'd paid for the occasion. Even though many of today's couples foot the bill for their fetes, Keel says, "allowing the father of the bride or another parent to give a speech really shows your gratitude for their role in your life and their continuing role in both of your lives."
Show Them How Much They Mean to You Throughout Your Wedding Day
Rather than setting aside a single moment to show gratitude, consider extending small gestures throughout the day to thank your mom and dad. "It's often easy for parents to feel like they've been forgotten about throughout the wedding day," says Keel. Simple, thoughtful gestures, she says, will make them feel wanted and needed at your wedding. "What mom doesn't want to be hugged, kissed and told 'I love you' by her children?" asks Keel. "Take time to do that. And when you thank your guests for coming, take the opportunity to express your love and gratitude for your parents. Tell them that the day would not be complete without them. Hearing these words in the presence of all your guests will touch them dearly."
Don't Forget Your Step-Parents
Honoring your biological parents is a no-brainer. But don't forget your step-parent or parents if they've played a major role in your life. "One way to include them is to ask them to join in on the parent dances," suggests Keel. "For example, if a bride has both a father and step-father who have been present in her life, she can choose a song that's fitting for both parents and begin the father-daughter dance with her dad and then finish it with her step-dad. This way, both dads are shown honor but neither are slighted."