For most people their wedding day is one of those they will remember for the rest of their lives.

It’s also usually one that they have planned out in their minds a million times before… and family and friends play a big part in that!

Throwing confetti, whooping and cheering and ringing bells!!

In this article, I’ll take you through lots of ways that you can make your friends and family feel included in your wedding ceremony. From playing music to giving readings to ‘giving away’, there are so many ways they can be involved!

Let’s start at the beginning of the wedding ceremony…

Which of your family or friends will you choose to walk you down the aisle? And this question can be to either of you!

Choosing who it will be who gets this honour is just another way of including family and friends. You might choose just one family member and, traditionally, it is the father of that half of the couple. It’s seen as a great honour (and often it’s one he’s been dreaming about since the moment he set eyes on you!) but there might be reasons why that’s just not possible, or even appropriate.

Often your mum might be the one to walk you down the aisle, either with your dad or on her own. It’s a powerful way to acknowledge the role that she has played in your life so far too!

On occasions when parents are not an obvious choice, siblings, step-parents or close friends can also be invited to fulfil this role.

I once had a bride who had several father figures in her life and we talked about them handing her from one to the other as she made her way down the aisle. On the day, her mum walked ahead of her and she entered flanked by her bridesmaids. It was a total ‘girl power’ entrance!

And whilst it’s traditional for one partner to already be waiting at the front, there is no reason why you can’t both have an entrance and involve even more family and friends!

Bride entering with her bridesmaids to show how you can include your friends and family
Yas decided to enter her wedding ceremony with her bridesmaids by her side.
Moment captured by Paul Fuller Photo

Now, let’s make them cry with a modern ‘giving away’!

I have a slight (major!) aversion to “giving away”. For me, it is too reminiscent of the patriarchal past of marriage… but don’t get me started on the patriarchy! However, what I do love is to take the opportunity to thank those people who have both brought you up and brought you down the aisle… and have a damn good go at making them cry!

“You could get a tear out of a glass eye, you could…”

one lovely dad who succumbed to a tear!

Just the person who brought you down the aisle? Both parents? All the parents? All the parents and step-parents? We can involve anyone who you want to at this point. They can stand where they are, come forward or even stay seated if they are more on the introverted side.

It’s a beautiful way to make sure everyone feels honoured, if that’s what feels important to you.

Making Dad cry - an alternative to 'giving away'
Making Dad cry with an alternative to ‘giving away’.
Captured by Nick at Parkershots

Friends and family make great readers!

A wonderful way to get friends and family involved is to ask them to deliver a reading. This is a fabulous job for one or two close friends or family members who would relish the chance to get up and share some (pre-written!) words with everyone.

You could choose the readings or they could choose what they read as a gift to you both. Either way, make sure they will see it as an honour and not as a task to be got through!

Friends of the couple make great readers. Hannah stands in front of the Love Shack at Oak Tree Barn. Amy Sanders captured her mid flow.
Yasin & John’s reader at Oak Tree Barn, Tonbridge. Captured mid flow by

Have you got any musicians amongst your friends and family?

Sometimes people don’t want to speak in front of everyone, but they would happily play you a gift! Everyone has a ‘love language’! Do make sure you know they are up to the task beforehand though…

Bride's cousin made everyone emotional when he played a Paulo Nutini song in the ceremony.
Photo by Paul Fuller

Here, Joseph, one of the bride’s cousins made everyone well up with his acoustic guitar rendition of ‘Through the Echoes’ by Paulo Nutini. It was such a heartfelt moment…

Photo by Amy Sanders

I’ll never be able to hear ‘I See Love’ by Passenger again without thinking of the time he sang it live for his two friends, Yasin & John, as Yasin and her bridesmaids walked down the aisle at Oak Tree Barn. It gives me tingles just to remember it!

How about a mid-ceremony quiz?

Here’s something a little different! Why not have a mid-ceremony quiz all about the two of you? You could even go ‘heads or tails’ on the answers until you find a winner!

Maybe that person could even be the ring bearer…?!

John & Yasin’s family and friends had an awful lot of fun doing just that at their wedding ceremony at Oak Tree Barn Weddings, Tonbridge. They are still talking about it now!! captured it all.

But maybe that should be one for the next blog post: “alternative ways to include your guests in your wedding ceremony”!

There are so many ways you can include your loved ones. For more ideas, get in touch and we can find out what ways would suit you and your story!

Call or WhatsApp me on 07784 761846 or click on a ‘Book a Call’ button anywhere around this site!