Planning a wedding ceremony presents unique and sensitive difficulties. A bride may fear offending a close friend or relative who she can’t quite squeeze into the bridal party, but the confusion thickens when a special friend or relative simply can’t be included as a bridesmaid or groomsman at all. As much as a bride may love her grandmother, some grandmas simply feel too awkward donning bridesmaid dresses. Luckily, a special someone can be incorporated into the wedding without flanking the bride at the head table.
“I come from a very large Italian family,” says Mississauga-based bride-to-be Dianna Thomson, “so when it comes down to choosing the bridal party, I might do what my aunt did. She’s very close to everyone in our family, but obviously couldn’t include everyone she invited [to her wedding] in the bridal party. She picked a sister and a niece for the wedding party, and asked one of her cousins to sing in church. She also rented a limo bus for the entire family, so people not in the ceremony felt included.”
Thomson says that her aunt also made sure to name each relative in her speech, something she’ll aim to do to keep extended family a crucial part of the event. “I would also want everyone to be included in the professional photos,” says Thomson. “It’s important to capture everyone in beautiful photos that you can give out afterwards. I would also be sure to include important people in the slideshow.”
Some brides might include important attendants by allowing them to give a speech, but it’s important to remember that if speeches are overlong or too plentiful, it can leave other guests bored and restless — especially if the speeches need to be completed before dancing or, worse, dinner. A possible solution to speech-happy guests would be to limit air time to a minute or two, or propose a joint speech that can be given by two or more people. If the wedding ceremony is a religious one, enthusiastic public orators can be given the opportunity to read a spiritual passage.
As for more unique and creative means of inclusion, Thomson says that group dances may work. “My entire family wouldn’t agree to dance,” laughs Thomson, “but my cousins might agree to do a dance with me!”
Another off-the-beaten path solution to too many loved ones and too little space in the bridal party? A wedding website. “Two friends of mine recently made a wedding website where they put up pictures of friends and family, mentioned the deceased friends and family whom they loved, and mentioned non-wedding party loved ones by name,” says Thomson. “It was a nice way to make everyone feel involved.”