Family As Wedding Party by Meg Keene The thing that has given us the most problems in wedding planning has been getting our heads around the concept of a wedding party. First off, the exclusivity of wedding parties makes me a little bit uncomfortable. I’ve never liked how wedding parties can lead to something of a feeling of a ‘in crowd’ at weddings. Some people are good enough friends to get invited, and some people are good enough friends to wear special outfits and attend the rehearsal dinner and get flowers? It just feels weird to me. But I think more then anything what I find strange is the idea that we should physically surround ourselves with friends at our wedding, but not family. When I was a tiny girl, I used to point to the woman standing next to my mom in her wedding pictures and say “Who is that lady?” Turns out it was her best friend at the time, and maid of honor, someone she grew apart from right after she got married. Needless to say, I’m delighted with the Jewish wedding tradition of having your parents stand up with you at the huppah. This makes sense to me. You can’t, after all, grow apart from your parents, no matter how hard you try. So I was surprised and delighted when I saw this picture in Martha Stewart weddings this month: it’s a bride surrounded by her family, and her mother and sister in law are sporting… bouquets! A light bulb went on in my head when I saw it. “Of course!” I thought, “Why not give the ladies that are going to be in your life no matter what bouquets? Why not make them feel extra special?” I don’t know if we’ll give our close female family members little nosegays, since it’s a new idea to me, but we might. What I do know is that we’re going to focus on giving family members specific roles in the weddings. We’ll ask aunts and uncles and cousins to do readings, or bring up the kiddish cup, or make toasts. We feel like the people who watched us when we learned to crawl should be given at least as much honor on our wedding days as the people we learned to love in High School or college. We have friends who are like family who we will also include on our wedding day, and we’re figuring that out. But the one thing we have figured out is that for us, it’s going to be family surrounding us first. Are any of you including your family in special ways on your wedding day? Grappling with feeling like wedding parties feel like a in club? Negotiating non-traditional but meaningful wedding parties? Fill me in! (I need to know!) Photo via Martha Stewart Weddings (and check out the flower girls face!) Meg Keene Founder & Editor-In-Chief Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.