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Include Dads & Father-Figures in a Wedding Ceremony With These Sweet Ideas

Published Friday, Feb. 23rd, 2024

Bride links arms with her father as he walks her down the aisle on her wedding day. It's sunny and they are outdoors, they look very happy.
Photo: Emil Lime/ / Adobe Stock

Feel the dad vibes! Show your father how much he means to you by including him in your wedding ceremony.



We love seeing dads, step-dads, grandads, uncles, and other patriarchs honored in wedding ceremonies, especially with offbeat spins on old traditions. 

It’s a great way for adult children to express gratitude for their dear old Dad, and gives fathers the chance to show their support for the marriage. 
(We’re using the term ‘dad’ symbolically, since families form in many beautiful ways. You’re a dad if you say you are, and we love uncles, grandfathers, big brothers, and other manly mentors too!) 
So whoever ‘dad’ is to you... He’s someone you cherish and want to honor on your wedding day! 
Below are a few of our favorite ways to include one dad, two dads, or a whole group of loving father-figures in your wedding ceremony, to show them how much they mean to you. 



The father of the bride escorts her down the aisle, they are both smiling happily and looking ahead

Photo: Delmaine Donson / iStock



1. Have your dad/s escort you down the aisle


Tradition can be a wonderful thing. Ask your dad/s to walk you down the aisle, symbolically giving you and your partner his blessing and support as you start your marriage. 



2. Ask him to officiate the ceremony


Of course, if your relationship is so close that you can’t imagine anyone else helping you say your vows, invite your dad to perform your wedding! We wouldn’t recommend this for every couple, but for some it might just be the perfect fit.






A father stands next to his son while officiating his wedding on the beach. Beside them, the bride smiles and laughs happily

Need an officiant script for when Dad officiates? This script was written by a loving father and professional officiant, Dan Henkel, who officiated his daughter's wedding: Sweet Wedding Script for When a Parent Officiates the Ceremony



3. Make him a part of your unity ritual


There are several popular unity rituals that include fathers to choose from, or you can talk with your wedding officiant to create your own. 

Sand Ceremony


If you decide on a sand ceremony, we suggest using different colors of sand to represent you, your partner, and your father’s important role in your lives. 
At the start of the ritual, ask your father-figure to pour a small amount of sand into the bottom of the vase before you and your partner add yours. This can represent a blessing, or his role as the foundation or anchor in your family. 


The sand ceremony can also be modified to include multiple parents, children, and anyone who’s important to you. 




Unity Candle Lighting 


In a traditional variation of the unity candle ceremony, each partner’s father lights a small taper candle and hands it to the partner. These candles are then used by the couple to light the unity candle. 


This ritual represents the parents’ blessings and support as their children are married.  




Fathers’ Rose Ceremony


In a twist on a ‘Mothers’ Rose Ceremony,’ each partner’s father or father-figure is given a rose at the start of the ceremony. During the unity ritual, the fathers will stand and place their rose in a decorative vase, followed by each partner. 



4. Invite him to give a special reading 


Invite your dad/s to read a poem, sing a song, or give a heartfelt speech as part of your wedding ceremony. Give him plenty of time to prepare before the ceremony, so he can choose the perfect reading and practice it a few times. 


Once he’s chosen a reading, he can share it with your wedding officiant so they know how much time it will take during the wedding ceremony. This will make the rest of the ceremony easier for your officiant to plan.



5. Thoughtfully incorporate an item of his in the ceremony


This option works well for fathers who are still with us, or to honor the memory of those who have passed away. 
Choose a meaningful item to wear or carry in your pocket on the big day -- a tie, suit, cufflinks, hat, or watch, or even his favorite cologne -- to make sure your dad or his memory is close to you on the wedding day.


You can also place a framed picture of him on the wedding altar, or reserve a seat upfront with a small memento. Any meaningful item that instantly makes you smile and think of her can be included! 



Father and groom stand together as the groom gets ready for his wedding ceremony. The father is helping him with his cufflinks, they are both looking down as the dad fastens them.

Photo:  Antonio Gravante / Adobe Stock

Borrow your dad's cufflinks, or a favorite tie, as a thoughtful way to include him (or his memory) in your ceremony 



6. Mention him at the start of the ceremony


If you want to honor the memory of your father, or another ancestor who’s passed away, ask your officiant to say a few words at the start of your ceremony.


There are many ways to honor the memory of someone you love in the wedding ceremony while keeping the mood lighthearted and upbeat. 




As a bonus, after the ceremony ask your dad to join you on the dance floor. This father-daughter, father-son, or father-child pairing is a fun and sweet way to show your love. 




You Might Also Like: 



Family Oriented Wedding Ceremony Script


This ceremony script is perfect for couples that have parents they want to honor and include, or for couples that have children that they want to recognize.





Wedding at night, friends and family hold up sparklers as the newlyweds kiss



Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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