Ask Team Practical: Where’s Time for Mom?

How to honor the mother of the bride

I am the Mother of the Bride. My daughter is an incredible young woman who is passionate about life and has a positive attitude towards EVERYTHING. She amazes me and I am very proud of the woman she has become. She and her fiance have planned and coordinated their wedding including every little detail. From creating their own invitation/centerpieces and ceremony. Her father and I have been divorced for 18 years. During her younger years, her father although involved in their lives through me, was a non-participatory parent. I was the sole care giver and provider through the young adolescent and teen age years. We had some difficult times, but was her advocate every step of the way. We are extremely close and great friends. When she and her sister were older, their father was able to establish a better relationship with them and they have become friends. I am happy they have built a relationship with their father. Which brings me to the wedding. My daughter wants a somewhat traditional wedding with her father walking her down the aisle. Her father will be walking her down the aisle and… there will be a father daughter dance. I would like my “moment” with her as well. Is there some sort of “moment” you think would be appropriate? My daughter is so happy and so in love with her fiance, she is walking on air. I do not want her to know that I am hurt I was not considered to also walk her down the aisle. That is why I was thinking…. maybe… there would be something I can do to participate in her wedding day other than helping her to get ready for the big day. Any ideas, thoughts, direction? 


Dear Anonymous,

As much as it stings, I’m really guessing your daughter wasn’t trying to exclude you or intending to slight you. Often those traditional roles aren’t thoughtfully considered, and it’s easy to think, “Oh, dad goes into this spot, here’s my dad, let’s put him here.” It’s really easy to get caught up in how things are “supposed” to be done, rather than just ask, “Who do I want to honor?”

So, running with that assumption: ask her. It feels super rude to say, “Hey, how’re you going to honor me at this thing? (and it would be) But it’s not rude to ask her for a special moment in the day. There’s a back and forth, mutual honoring and loving component to weddings. Couples choose who they’d like to honor, yeah, but loved ones get to jump in and love on that couple (in couple-approved sorts of ways). Asking to have a place in the ceremony or reception doesn’t mean, “I want to be special too!” so much as, “I’m excited for you and I want to show everyone,” or, “I want to honor our relationship.” Both of which are a-okay requests.

I’d just flat out ask if she has any ideas first (she might once you get her thinking), but consider coming to the conversation equipped with ideas of your own, just in case. Is there a special reading from her childhood, a song you’d like to sing, a toast you’d like to propose? Maybe she would be comfortable with both of you walking her down the aisle (it might never have occurred to her!) or maybe she could add in a special dance with mom. It sounds like your daughter was stuck in the mire of traditionalism. Don’t you do the same! Instead of looking at the wedding, trying to find a little cut-out where you fit, think about how you’d like to honor your relationship with your daughter. Then, see how that figures in a wedding. What sorts of things do you two share? How can you share them through the wedding?

Meanwhile, let’s ask the smart, smart APW community for their ideas.


You heard me, Team Practical, how do you honor your mom in your wedding? Have you ever asked to be involved in a ceremony that didn’t already have a special place for you?

Photo by APW sponsor Lisa Wiseman.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

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  • Steph

    I think this is great advice. I was raised by my mom but now that I’m older, I’ve started a relationship with my dad. I didn’t think about having both of them walk me down the aisle until I went to a friend’s wedding and she did that. After that wedding, I asked my mom of she’d walk me down the aisle too and she’s excited about it!

  • Emily

    Oh, I can’t wait to read these ideas!! My fiance was raised by a single mom, and she’s so amazing. I’ve always been in awe of her strength, and I’d love to find a way to honor her on our wedding day. After all, without her I’d not have the amazing guy I do! Of course my own mom rocks too.

    • I think having your husband and his mom walk down the aisle together would be lovely – and isn’t even uncommon. My husband had both his parents walk him, and it worked really nicely and they loved it and felt very touched.

      • Emily

        That’s an awesome idea! Thanks.

      • My fiance is having both his mom and dad walk him down the aisle, too — they were so touched when we asked! Parents of the groom don’t always get that “special moment,” either, and we wanted to incorporate a way to recognize them and how special they are to us.

        We’re also doing a rose ceremony before our actual exchanging of vows, during the ceremony. Our officiant is going to speak on how our marriage is joining together two families. We didn’t want a unity candle or sand ceremony, so this will take the place of that! After our officiant speaks, I’m going to give a rose to his mother while he gives a rose to mine. I’m really excited about it — and it’s a surprise!

  • I think asking/offering to give a toast is totally appropriate and sweet. I also have seen the moms light the unity candle or do readings. I agree with Liz that it’s rude to ask her to honor you, but I don’t think it’s rude to point out that the way weddings are constructed means she gets these great moments with her Dad and not with you.

    Alternatively, perhaps rather than the maid of honor you could be the one to straighten her train and take her bouquet from her when she gets to the end of the aisle? Or maybe if it’s a super traditional wedding, if they ask “who gives this woman?” you could be the one to say “her father and I do”?

    • Laura C

      Those seem like some great, concrete suggestions that fit into the model of wedding the bride seems to want. I’d add, if she’s not yet decided about a receiving line vs. the couple making the rounds of all the tables, a receiving line is a way to include all the parents on equal footing, at least. Doesn’t change the mom-dad imbalance, but at least it visibly includes mom.

    • Lindsey

      I had the moms light the tapers for the unity candle as well. A toast is also a great option. Exactly what I came here to say!

    • Emmers

      I have also seen moms do readings. There was a recent wedding I went to where the moms were from different traditions (Lebanese and American), and one mom read a reading in Arabic (along with translation), and another did in English. It was lovely, since you could tell the readings meant something to them.

    • MDBethann

      We had my cousin escort my mom down the isle and my husband’s brother-in-law escort hubby’s mom down the isle and then each one lit a candle from which we would then light the unity candle during the ceremony.

      I definitely agree that this is a great way to give a bride or groom’s mom a role in the wedding other than “getting ready.”

  • stealinghoney

    Having both parents walk you down the aisle is such a lovely idea! I hadn’t thought about it before, but I will definitely consider it now. My parents are still married but I love the idea of honoring them equally. I just hope my Dad doesn’t feel slighted that I would want him to have to share the moment.

    • Catherine McK

      I did this and it worked out great. But…. my mom had a hard time with it! I was so surprised, I thought she’d be honored. Instead, it didn’t match her long held vision of watching me walk down the aisle with my dad. Something to consider when you approach your parents about it.

      • Jen

        I LOVE the idea of both parents walking me down the aisle, and when I floated the idea to my mom, she was so confused! She was like “Huh? No no, that’s for your dad.” Like you, I thought she’d be excited and honored, but it was a good lesson that how your parents might like to be honored may not be the same as your vision. I’m glad she spoke up so now we can come up with a way in which she feels comfortable.

      • Same here! I asked my mom how she would feel about walking me in with my dad, as I’m so close to both parents, and I thought she’d be really excited . . . but she politely declined! She said it was a special moment she knows my dad wants to share with me, and she would be fine in the audience. Who knew?

    • Sara

      It sounds like by “traditional” the mom posting meant American Protestant because it’s traditional in a Jewish wedding for both the bride and the groom to be walked down the aisle by both parents. I have to admit, I never considered NOT having my mom as part of that moment, even though our ceremony is completely secular.

      Another thought would be to have the mother of the bride carry the rings. We’ve asked my future sister-in-law to take on that role and she was more honored than I expected her to be. Not as a ring bearer, mind, but in sort of a Best Man/Maid of Honor way. She could also provide “something old/borrowed/new/blue” –like a handkerchief to catch the bride’s happy tears, though I suppose that is a quieter and less publicly recognized honor.

    • Cass

      I did this and my husband walked down the aisle before me with both of his parents. Everyone, including my ultra-traditional in-laws, love it and my dad didn’t mind sharing the gig.

    • J

      I had both my parents walk me down the aisle. I talked to my dad about it first – I was sure that he would be onboard, but I wanted to get his buy-in before talking to my mom about it, just in case he had been imagining it differently. You could take that approach if you’re not sure how he’d feel – if nothing else, he’d probably be touched that you value his input enough to ask. I know people feel how they feel, but I sort of think he “shouldn’t” feel slighted about sharing the moment, 1) because there’s no real reason dads should get higher billing than moms, and 2) if you’re doing a father-daughter dance, he’ll have a big moment to shine then, and there’s nothing traditionally mom-centric in the ceremonies and rituals of a traditional Christian-ish American wedding.

      • J

        Oh, also, my parents both ended up making toasts. At the start of the dinner, where the father of the bride often makes a toast, my parents both stood up, but only my dad said actually spoke. Then, around the cake cutting, they both made another toast – I don’t think that was really planned, I think they just had more warm and fuzzy things to say. :)

    • Rachael

      I had both of my parents walk me down the aisle. They are still married, I have good relationships with both of them, it just felt odd to have one there and the other not. My mom was really honored by it and my dad didn’t seem to mind “sharing the moment”.

      What I do regret, though, is not planning something to honor my husband’s parents. I should have been more creative and devised a way to involve them in the actual ceremony.

    • Just tell him you’re doing it the Jewish way! As a Jew, I give you permission.

      • Brenda

        I think this is one of the loveliest things in Jewish weddings, and something that everyone else can borrow without getting into cultural appropriation. The wedding is about both the bride and the groom, and all the parents were necessary to get to that point. My non-Jewish husband and his parents loved that we did it this way.

    • MT

      In preparing for my wedding, I learned that the wedding rite for the Roman Catholic Church actually indicates that the bride and groom should either enter the church together OR be escorted by both of their parents. (My parish did not require us to choose one of those options, but they made it clear that those were in fact options, and recommended options at that.) My husband wasn’t keen on us walking in together (he had a more Protestant/”traditional” view on how this was supposed to go down, and frankly, I did not have strong feelings about that option), so we did not do that. But I was all over having both my parents walk me down the aisle, and I was thrilled to find that this was completely supported by the Church. I was nervous that asking my dad to share the spotlight might possibly hurt his feelings, too, but he was really cool about it, and my mom was pretty delighted to be in on that aspect of the wedding. It was great having them both beside me!

    • Iz

      I had both my parents walk me down the aisle (which is not at all traditional in the UK where I got married). My main reason was not wanting to be given away by one man to another, but I did also want my mother to be included in the day, as my father was also giving a toast. She was very touched to be asked and loved doing it. I wondered what my 97-year old grandmother’s reaction would be, but she commented quite unprompted that it was a lovely idea ad only fair since my parents had both raised me. I was relieved on all counts as I really didn’t know what to expect.

  • Annie

    I once attended a wedding where the bride’s father had died and the bride had a great relationship with her mother. The mother gave a beautiful toast during the reception/dinner. It was a wonderful way for guests to recognize her role in the life of the bride/couple and for her to share her support. As long as the MOB is comfortable speaking in front of a group, it could be a good option!

  • kate

    I feel like we’ve probably discussed this somewhere on the site and I don’t want to take attention away from anon-mom’s question, but I could use a little advice on how to handle my dad’s role in the wedding. Let’s just say he’s been mostly absent for the past ten years and before that he prioritized his new wife over me his 10-17 year old daughter (and I have no doubt that he still does) but he was part of my life then, I lived with them the majority of the time. I think he is trying to be part of my life now. Trying somewhat.

    I’m making it clear in our program that I would not be where I am now in my life, and marrying Matt without the support of my mom and stepdad and also honoring his mom there. My mom and I will be dancing together to “I Knew I Loved You,” her pick, and after the wedding we’ll have some alone time together as she bustles my dress.

    My dad will not be walking me down the aisle. I’m walking myself. Nothing inside of the ceremony. I’m not sure if we should do a fifth dance in the ritual dances (matt+me, mom+me, patti+matt, santi+me, dad+me?) which would be a simple way to recognize him.

    So maybe this doesn’t need to be a separate question, sorry, and I can just pull the most non-gushy ideas from here. A toast sounds nice. But if anyone does have anything… how you recognized your partner’s father? I’d appreciate it. I’ve been struggling with this.

    • Amy March

      I’d encourage a family dance configuration. One for you and Matt, and then one with all the parents are you guys, with a plan for cutting in and out of different partnerings. Allows your dad to have a role, but nit single him out as special in a way that doesn’t feel authentic, without having half an hour of performance dancing.

      • We did this with our parents and it was great! Plus, my mom is a way better dancer than my dad, so that was a good opportunity to shave off some dance time with him and spend it with her instead!

    • Penny

      I went to a wedding where the bride had a similar relationship with her father. She let him walk her from the car up to the start of the isle, and then walked the rest of the way on her own. I thought it was a nice way to recognise him while still retaining her sense of independence and self.

  • Jessica

    I honored my mom (and she honored me right back) in the following ways:

    – She walked me down the aisle with my father (one on each arm)

    – She gave a toast (as did my father, maid of honor, and two best men. It was a lot of speeches. I didn’t care – they were lovely and I will treasure their words forever.)

    – She participated in the ceremony (gave us a blessing). Obviously this would only work if your religion/culture supported this type of ceremony. Also, this idea would probably have to come from her.

    My mom also made a slideshow for us and first shared it with us prior to the wedding. It meant so much to us and it was a really special way to feel connected with her.

    You might also consider spending a few moments alone either the morning before the wedding (if logistically practical) or in the week before the wedding. Do something special and celebratory just the two of you.

  • Amy March

    You could offer a blessing at the start of the reception meal, or a brief welcome speech if that’s more your speed.


    I think I read this somewhere on APW but now I can’t remember where… If you having your father walk you down the aisle, an option is to hug your mom on the way down, right before your dad gives you away. I know it’s a small/simple gesture, but I’m planning on doing it since I know it would mean a lot to her.

    • Oh, I LOVE this. I will probably start crying like a psycho, but I love it.

  • Robyn

    I had both parents walk me down the aisle and both of my parents (and siblings) did the “welcome to the family” speech. So did my husband’s family. It made the speeches run long but it was worth it, we had many comments that they were some of the best wedding speeches our guests had heard. We didn’t have an official dance because that’s not our thing. All of our parents were surprised that we asked them to participate in these ways but so honoured as well.

  • Lauren

    My mom is my only parent, and I know she really wanted to walk me down the aisle, but I wanted to walk down by myself. Which I did (and don’t regret.) However, it was really important to me that she felt special, and that everyone knew she was special! I did a few things for this:

    -I had no wedding party, so my brother walked my mom and grandmother down the aisle to music in front of me, instead of bridesmaids. It was awesome, and the pictures of this moment are fantastic.

    -She did a reading with my husband’s mother, and they were adorable.

    -She gave a toast (which she had asked to do.)

    -We scheduled a mother/daughter dance, but this ended up being cut because everyone just wanted to boogie. She suggested we cut it, so she could boogie. The pictures of this are also fantastic.

  • Jessica B

    My mom and my FH’s mom are going to read aloud from our favorite picture books from our childhood to book end the toasts. We thought it would be a good way to let them do something for us they did when we were younger, while also being very entertaining. My future MIL still has “Fox in Sox” mostly memorized.

  • Leslie

    I ended up in a similar situation as a bride: Mom has really been my only parent, and my relationship with my dad has grown since I’ve become an adult.

    My husband and I decided we wanted to honor our families (and have a voice at our own wedding/reception) by giving our own toasts. This was an especially great idea for my side of the family, which has several people who have been like parents to me at some point during my life. I loved being able to thank them all directly, in front of the whole gaggle of family and friends. Some guests from my husband’s side of the family said that the toast I gave to my mom was one of the most memorable things about the whole night.

    This may not help LW, but I submit it as an option for other people struggling to figure out how to honor important people in new ways.

    • Yes! I wish more couples would give toasts/small speeches at their own weddings. Especially if the couple plans and executes the wedding, it makes perfect sense, and it’s a nice opportunity to give back and thank folks.

  • alyssa

    I also had a traditional wedding, and when I got to the end of the aisle with my dad, my mom stood up and held my other hand, so I was surrounded by the two of them. Then my mom lifted my veil. It was so nice to be standing with both of them for that moment, and I got hugs and kisses from both of them. It was simple, but meant a lot to me.

    • NTB

      That is beautiful!

    • Olivia

      I love this! It brings tears to my eyes to think about my mom being up there with me too.

  • never.the.same

    What did you do to honor your mother at your wedding? If there was something she did, you could offer to do the same for your daughter, which would fit in neatly with her hope to have a “traditional” wedding.

  • NTB

    I had a very traditional wedding. At the reception, we said a brief prayer before our meal and I presented a special bouquet of flowers to my mom after the prayer. It didn’t add a huge cost to our budget. You could do something similar; you could even present her with a special gift, like a photo of the two of you at a special moment in your life as mother and daughter.

    What a sweet note. It made me cry at work! Good luck to you and to your daughter on her special day <3

  • Kara

    I very much wanted both my parents to walk me down the aisle, but I knew my mother would be bawling her eyes out & would make me cry too. When I mentioned my wish to my parents they were both incredibly confused by the idea & my mom flat out said no, that’s the dad’s responsibility. I offered her a toast at the rehearsal dinner or wedding & both were turned down as well. In the end I gave her a small hankerchief & called it a day. I wanted to honor my mom in a bigger way, but she didn’t want it!

  • KC

    I think semi-traditionally, the mother of the bride has more of a behind the scenes prep (consulting on dresses/flowers/etc.) plus answering gobs of questions/partial hostess of the day sort of role, whereas the father of the bride has these particular visual roles that don’t tend to include much behind the scenes (no teary finishing-touch-to-the-veil bits, etc.).

    Visible vs. invisible roles are, of course, not the same, but for some people, being trusted to help with making the wedding happen *is* being honored as part of the wedding. (I like the invisible roles, thankyouverymuch.) And a lot of people assume, rightly or wrongly, that the mother of the bride has been Very Involved in wedding prep, so you will most likely get accidental “credit” for some aspects of the wedding.

    How to bring up wanting a visible role (which is a legitimate thing to want – different things communicate differently to different people!), I have no idea. But I hope it goes well!

    • Allison

      This is a tough one, truthfully. I agree with KC that you are very likely to be a huge part of her day – I would assume you might be with her as she gets ready, button her dress, etc but while this is captured in pictures, it doesn’t occur in front of all guests.

      I would challenge you to figure out why it is important for you to have a visible role, if this is what you desire. This will help you articulate your request and make sure it doesn’t come off as competitive. I have a similar situation in that my mom did most of our “raising”, but there are other important people in our lives (both men and women). It seems unfair to divy up the roles like a lottery, but unfair to seperate by traditional standards as well. I would feel appreciative that a request would sound like: “Because you are so special to me, I would like to be able to show the world that on your wedding day by: standing beside you here, toasting you and your husband, or whatever you feel is appropriate etc” vs. “Your father is walking you down the aisle and I want to feel included too”. Truly making it about your daughter and your relationship with her will add all the necessary importance and value onto your request.

  • E.

    My parents both walked me down the aisle (and both my husband’s parents walked him–which, despite being more traditionally-minded, they loved). We did one “parents” dance, so my husband danced with his mom while I danced with my dad–but then my dad pulled my mom in partway through so the three of us danced together (awkwardly and goofily, but of course no one minded). My parents divorced when I was in college, so that moment of inclusion was especially meaningful. You could plan a switch halfway through the song, though! Songs are LONG. I agree a special reading (or song, if you sing or play an instrument) would be a great way to honor Mom, as well.

  • Casey

    We had a rose ceremony at the start of the ceremony, where we presented ribbon roses that I made to our mothers. Our officiant read a little passage that she uses for rose ceremonies, partially modified by us.

    Also, my parents put a penny in my shoe shortly before the ceremony. It was the same penny my grandpa gave my mom on her wedding day, and it’s from my grandpa’s year of birth. She has a picture of her dad putting it in her shoe at the back of the chapel. Both parents are in my pictures of same! Then my mom went to sit down and my dad walked me down the aisle.

    It was just family at our ceremony – our brothers were our witnesses and we had no other attendants. So my mom did the things like arranging my train, etc. My sister-in-law held my bouquet.

    Also, all four parents and our brothers made toasts. We had 45 guests total. We didn’t have any dancing.

    I think having a smaller family-only wedding made things more special for my mom.

  • Charity

    A few things we did, that may give you ideas:
    -We had my brothers walk my mom down the aisle as part of the processional, before my dad walked me down. This way she was also one of the special folks, even though she wasn’t walking with me.
    -All of our parents gave us a “parental blessing”- his parents, then mine. This was so special and they all were honored by it I think, they had the chance to talk about us, our relationship with each other and them, and what they hope for our marriage. You could also do this as a toast, but it was special for us to have it included in the ceremony.

  • Kathy

    I also had both my parents walk me to the ceremony (no aisle, but we walked through a meadow to a tree). Those were very powerful and meaningful moments for both of them.

    My mom is a knitter so I asked her to make a shawl for me. (Our outdoor wedding in the mountains was sure to be cool by the evening hours of the reception). She knitted the most gorgeous cream shawl that she spent hour after hour crafting. It was a complicated design and was truly a labor of love. She was so proud of the finished design and it was an honor to wear it. I now have a treasured forever keepsake made by her hands and she had the joy of knowing she did something special and singular for me for that day.

    Good luck with finding the special way that works just right for you and your daughter!

    • Your shawl sounds so beautiful, Kathy — what a lovely idea, and definitely a treasure!

    • Ann

      My MIL knitted me a complicated shawl, too. I was nervous about asking her–I knew I wanted a shawl in case the weather was cool, and I thought it would be nice if the shawl itself had significance. But my husband said go for it, so I asked and she was so happy to do it. It ended up being 75+ degrees and I wore the shawl anyways. I wasn’t going to not wear it after my MIL spent 4 months making it!

      I had my mom participate in other, small ways. I walked in with my husband, but my mom held my bouquet during the ceremony (no bridesmaids). I asked my dad if he wanted to provide the music, but he politely declined. My parents did a lot to make the DIY picnic come together, and so that was a big role for both of them.

  • Anon

    One of my biggest regrets from my wedding day is not honoring my mom more- no picture just with her, no special moments, and to top it off I was kind of mean to her that morning because I was SO nervous. Even though it might feel weird, PLEASE consider saying something to your daughter about a special role or moment. I don’t know how my mom felt that day, but it just wasn’t something I even thought about until after since it wasn’t a traditional aspect of the day.

  • L

    I haven’t read through all the responses, but I just wanted to tell you what my Mom did. I live in a different state and was pretty much on top of all the big stuff happening. We didn’t do many traditional things so my Mom never felt left out in that sense, but I knew she was looking for a way to contribute. A few months before the wedding she asked if we had thought about the guest book at all. I told her not really and she told me she would take care of it. She contacted everyone we invited (she had all their email addresses thanks to my helpful Google Drive document) and asked for pictures of us and for any advice they wanted to share about marriage/life. We had no idea. Everyone kept it a secret. The morning of the wedding she gave it to us as a gift. There were pages she had interspersed through the book for people to leave their name and info or a handwritten message. I love what everyone wrote and we are so moved by the pictures. A lot of my extended family who couldn’t make it contributed really lovely poems or words of wisdom. And everyone knew that it was my Mom who had made it happen. She wrote something in the first section of the book and on the back cover. It was so moving and wonderful and really perfect for the love she shares with us every day. I would say it had a big impact on the day and reflected perfectly what we were looking for on that day – the love and support of our larger community.

    Anyway, my point is that depending on what you are looking for and your relationship with your daughter, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and just follow your heart. Also, for something like that, you definitely don’t need permission.

    • lauren

      This is amazing. Such a lovely idea!

  • Aileen

    I asked my mom if she would walk me down the aisle with my dad, but she wasn’t comfortable with that.

    What she wanted, was a mother/daughter dance. We danced to my (deceased) grandfather and step-grandmother’s favorite dance song as a way to honor them as well, it was Glen Miller’s In The Mood. Since it’s a longer song, toward the end we broke off and grabbed other people as a cue to open up the dance floor.

  • Lou

    I am not sure how it works in the US, as your toasts are different to our (UK) speeches. Traditionally we have the father of the bride, the best man and the groom speak.

    Traditionally, one of the key parts of the grooms speech is to thank both the mothers (that of the bride and groom). Although it is the groom who says the thank you, they say it on behalf of themselves and the bride, and the bride often stands and presents the bouquets with a hug and a kiss for the recipient.
    This is usually a thank you for their help with the wedding planning, but this is sometimes expanded to thank them for raising them. The bride could even interject at that point?
    So although it is inappropriate for the MOB to request this in this instance, it could be incorporated by other brides looking to honour their mothers.

  • Jackie

    I’m an adult (32) and have lived away from my mother for 10 years and in a different state for 2 years. She and I *aren’t* that close, prior to my engagement we only talked every few weeks, and she’s helping with the wedding in smaller, less expensive ways (making garlands, researching venues, making favors, etc). I don’t have something planned to specifically honor her because to me that would feel really disingenuous. Am I a horrible person?

    • KimBee

      I totally sympathize. My mother and I have vastly different views on the closeness of our relationship; she had a lot of personal issues that made my teenage years complicated and I feel like she was more or less absent as a parent since I was in middle school. I know that she thinks of me as her little girl and she wants to be included and honored. I will likely try to figure out something, but (like you) I feel that it’s a bit disingenuous.

    • Emily

      No, not at all! I think it would be more “horrible” if you went ahead and did something that feels disingenuous to you and how your life is, out of some sense of obligation. So if singling out your mom at your wedding isn’t your thing, don’t. Nobody will expect it, so don’t worry.

    • No, not at all! I totally sympathize with you.
      My mother and I didn’t speak for the last three years. In fact, she only called me to talk after I called her to tell her I got engaged. I’ve been struggling with the same issue as you for a year now – what to do that feels authentic to the (messed up) relationship we have presently?
      What we came up with is to have her do a reading at the ceremony. This way, she is still part of the event, without being placed in a position of “honor”.
      You need to do what will feel – if not necessarily good – at least, not awful. I don’t think anyone will notice her level of involvement unless you point it out.

  • Emma

    Hi Anonymous,
    I agree with the advice to talk to you daughter, let her know you’d like to participate in the day in a way that honours your relationship, and give her chance to think about it so she won’t have to make a decision straight away.
    It’s a good idea to have some suggestions, and if there’s something specific you’d really like to do, say so. It sounds like you’ve respected the planning decisions made by her and her fiancé, so I’m sure you would let her know without being pushy.
    Here are some suggestions for ways you could be involved, if your daughter agrees:
    – You could walk her down the aisle with her father, if you’re all comfortable with that (my parents have been separated since I was young, and I wouldn’t have been comfortable with that, so I’d understand if you weren’t)
    – Your daughter and her fiancé could include a parents’ blessing in the ceremony, where all the parents give their blessing rather than the father “giving away” the bride
    – You could do a reading as part of the ceremony (I asked my mum to do a reading – she was very touched and read beautifully)
    – You could give a speech or toast. In the UK it’s traditional for the Father of the Bride to give a speech, but if your daughter’s father is walking her down the aisle and doing a father-daughter dance, it might balance things out for you to do the speech. At my wedding, I walked down the aisle with my husband, and didn’t have a father-daughter dance, so the speech was my dad’s big moment, but he very considerately asked my mum if she’d liked to contribute to it, so in parts he was able to speak on behalf of them both, which was lovely.
    – You could contribute “something borrowed” for your daughter to wear – maybe a piece of jewellery? This is a small way of participating but a nice idea, I think. Of course it only works if your daughter is doing the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition!

    Good luck, and please let us know how it goes.

  • My husband and I both come from families that have divorced and remarried, so we had six parents we wanted to feel included in the day. We decided to have the parents process in at the beginning of the ceremony, before the bridal party. The married couples walked in together, and then my dad and my hubby’s mom walked in together.

    I walked down the aisle with my husband, which felt right since we 1) had been hanging out for hours already 2) felt most comfortable thinking about ourselves as independent adults who were in this together.

    Our dads gave toasts at the rehearsal dinner, and the moms gave toasts at the reception. We also gave them all notes thanking them for the ways they supported us at the rehearsal dinner. I didn’t get a chance to have a meaningful heart-to-heart with everyone on the day, and the notes ensured that we said what we needed to say to everyone.

  • K down under

    My mum spoke at the reception as well as my dad. Mum wanted especially to talk about our grandparents, and although (like most of that day) I can’t remember much now, I remember being touched by what she was saying at the time.