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Our Favorite Ways to Include Moms and Matriarchs in a Wedding Ceremony

Published Sunday, May. 9th, 2021

Illustration by Jessica Levey

Show your mother how much she means to you by including her in your wedding ceremony! 



We love seeing moms honored in wedding ceremonies, especially with offbeat and original spins on old traditions. This simple but powerful gesture gives couples a chance to express their gratitude, and mothers the opportunity to show their love and support for a new marriage. 


Of course, we’re using the term ‘mom’ symbolically here, not literally, because families and friendships form in so many beautiful and varied ways! 


‘Moms’ can be traditional figures, or anyone in a whole village of women who hold us up, support us, champion our successes, and give us unconditional love. You might want to include a friend’s mom who you love as if they’re your own, a step-mom who willingly joined your quirky family, or any other beloved matriarch who keeps your family strong and thriving. You might even want to honor an ancestor, or the memories of a long line of kickass women who came before you! 


So whoever ‘mom’ is to you... 


She’s someone you cherish and want to honor on your wedding day! 


Here are a few of our favorite ways to include one mom, two moms, or a whole group of loving moms in your wedding ceremony, to show them how much they mean to you: 



Have your mom/s escort you down the aisle


Tradition can be a wonderful thing, and it can be a wonderful thing to break too. Ask your mom/s to walk you down the aisle, symbolically giving you and your partner her blessing and support as you start your marriage. Remember to give her a big hug of gratitude before she takes her seat at the front of the room. 




Make her part of your unity ritual


There are several popular unity rituals that include mothers that you can choose from, or you can work with your wedding officiant to create your own! 

Sand Ceremony


If you decide on a sand ceremony, we suggest using a different color of sand to represent your mom or matriarch’s important role in your family’s lives. 


At the start of the ritual, ask her to pour a small amount into the bottom of the vase before you and your partner add yours. This can represent a blessing, or her role as the foundation of your family. The sand ceremony can be modified to include both you and your fiance/e’s mothers (and children and other family members, to create a wonderfully multigenerational ceremony), or to use something other than sand (like sugar, coffee, or soil!). 

Unity Candle Lighting 


In a traditional variation of the unity candle ceremony, each partner’s mother lights one of two small candles placed beside the larger unity candle. The flames of these small candles represent their love and support for the marriage, and are used by the couple to light the unity candle. 

Mothers’ Rose Ceremony


In a traditional twist on a rose or flower ceremony, each partner’s mother or matriarch is given a rose at the start of the ceremony. During the unity ritual, the mothers will stand and place their rose in a decorative vase, followed by each partner. 


Eco-friendly variation: If you don’t want to use cut flowers, only to throw them away at the end of the day, consider a planting ceremony as a ‘greener’ alternative to the flower ceremony. In this version, you and your moms can plant herbs, bulbs, or other annuals in a planter or flower box. These plants will flourish for years to come, or bloom again and again on your anniversary!




Invite her to give a special reading 


Invite your mom/s to read a poem, sing a song, or give a heartfelt speech as part of your wedding ceremony. Ask her early on, so that she has plenty of time to select something she loves.


Once she’s chosen a reading, share it with your wedding officiant so they know how much time it will take to include in the wedding ceremony -- which will make the rest of the ceremony easier for you and your officiant to plan. Or, if you want her reading to be a surprise on the day of the wedding, you can ask her to give it directly to the officiant instead.




Thoughtfully incorporate an item of hers 


This option works well for mothers who are still with us, and to honor the memory of those who have passed away. 


You can choose any item to incorporate in your ceremony look -- a necklace, brooch, dress, favorite dress shirt, or even a perfume -- to make sure your mom or her memory is close to you on the wedding day.


If you don’t want to wear the item (or don’t have one that fits or fits your style), you can include something in other ways -- for example, place a framed picture or favorite vase or table cloth on the wedding altar, or reserve a seat at the front of the room in her honor. Any meaningful item that instantly makes you smile and think of her can be included! 



Mention her at the start of the ceremony


If you want to honor the memory of your mother, or want to give a shout out to an ancestor or long line of matriarchs, 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. 




Ask her 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 mom to perform your wedding! We wouldn’t recommend this for every couple, but for some it might just be the perfect fit. ( Asking a Friend or Family Member to Officiate Your Wedding? Read This First… )



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As a bonus, after the ceremony ask your mom to join you on the dance floor. This mother-daughter or mother-son pairing is a fun and festive way to show your love. Like we said before, traditions are a wonderful thing to break! 



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