When thinking about my wedding, it was always very important to me that my dad be included in our day, even though he couldn't be with me. At the same time, I didn't want to turn our happy, joyous wedding into a somber occasion either. Below, I have written the ways we chose to include him - in hopes that it may help other couple come up with ideas.
When we were planning our wedding, I had no idea how I was going to walk down the aisle; I didn't want to walk alone, but I didn't want my mom to walk me either. It didn't seem right that my brother do the whole thing, so I decided that I would walk the first half alone - and my brother was waiting for me in the middle - this was my symbol for my dad handing me to him, and then he "gave me away".
At the entrance to our reception, we had a table with the guest book and a small album of pictures of us - and then there was a picture of my father with a poem I wrote and a memory candle. Apparently, this was VERY emotional for most of my family/friends as they read it - but it was something that I NEEDED to have there.
In terms of the parent dances, my original plan was to just skip them altogether; then I thought that maybe I would just dance with my mom....then I had an idea - I would dance with my mom and my brother. I didn't tell her that however; she knew that we would have a dance together - and after 40 seconds or so I signaled to my brother that it was time - and he came over and joined us. The only people that knew this was happening were my brother, hubby, myself and my cousin/MOH. Most of my family got very emotional when they witnessed our dance - and my hubby's family commented on just how close the 3 of us are.
Lastly, this was not my inclusion, but my mom and brother.....growing up, my father always gave my mom and I 11 roses; not 12, because we were the most beautiful (equaling the 12th rose). As a teenager, I heard a song on the radio called "A Dozen Red Roses" by Joan Kennedy...... the song is about a bride on her wedding day, who receives a dozen red roses and a card - the card is written by her dad - he wrote it before he died and gave it to her mom for their daughters wedding day.
My mom knew how much this song affected me, and I was pretty sure that there would be a flower delivery that day - but I didn't know when....I thought maybe while I was getting ready, but that didn't happen. Then I thought maybe at the church (but REALLY hoped that wasn't the case because I don't think I could have made it down the aisle if they did it then...) but it happened after dinner. After the speeches were done, I was getting ready to go get a drink and in walked my mom and brother, with a bouquet of 11 roses......just for me. It was EXTREMELY emotional for the 3 of us, but I was so glad to get them. Even though my father didn't send them for me - I KNOW in my heart that he would have given me 11 red roses on my wedding day had he been alive --- and so did my mom.
And there you have it - a rundown of how I included my dad in our wedding.