How to make dad feel special at your wedding

The bride's dad traditionally gets a few special moments on his daughter's wedding day, including the walk down the aisle and the father/daughter dance. But there's no reason to stop there - why not include a few more special moments to make his experience even more memorable?

And don't forget about your partner's dad - he can often be left out of everything! We suggest that you invite both dads to get ready with the groom's party (or the appropriate party, if there is no groom!), and then consider some of the following suggestions as additional ways to make his day special.

INCORPORATE HIS SPECIAL TALENTS

The bride's dad and uncle piping pre-ceremony

If your dad has any hidden talents, why not ask him to contribute them to your wedding? He'll likely be honoured to be asked, and to be able to contribute something special to your day. The sky's the limit, but here are some ideas:

  • If he's a musician: he could play pre-ceremony, or sing during the signing of the register
  • If he's an artist: he could create a special art piece for your guestbook, or create a unique ceremony backdrop
  • If he's a writer: he could write a piece of poetry or prose to be read at the ceremony
  • If he's a carpenter: he could build an arbor for your ceremony or a special photo backdrop

GET HIM A SPECIAL BOUTONNIERE

Show your dad some love and set him apart by honouring his interests with a boutonniere that's just a bit different than the other guys'. You could incorporate:

  • a fishing lure
  • a golf tee
  • a mini hockey stick
  • a flower that was used at his wedding
  • a mini action figure
  • a shell casing
  • a photo
  • a gear
  • a coin from his wedding year/your birth year

DO A FIRST LOOK WITH DAD

It's becoming more common to do a first look with your partner, but what if you schedule a special photo of the first time your dad sees you all dressed up? Typically, a bride's mom is part of the getting ready, but her dad often gets left out. Ask him to arrive, dressed, at the time you plan to be ready, and have your photographer capture a photo as he sees you for the first time. Pack the tissue!

WRITE A LETTER or GET A SPECIAL GIFT

Words from the heart will likely be the most meaningful thing you can give your dad on your day, though a thoughtful gift is also a lovely gesture. Write a card or letter telling your dad how proud you are to be his daughter, how grateful you are for the way he raised you, and how excited you are to walk down the aisle with him.

CARRY SOMETHING OF HIS

You could have your bouquet wrapped with one of his handkerchiefs, incorporate one of his cufflinks into your bouquet wrap, have one of his tie bars built into your hair flowers, or cut a heart from one of his ties and have it sewn into the lining of your dress. That way, you'll have a little piece of him with you (as your something old or borrowed!) all day.

ARRIVE AT THE CEREMONY TOGETHER

Spend those last few moments as a single lady with the one who loved you first, and make sure you get some great photos!

HAVE HIM AS PART OF YOUR WEDDING PARTY

There's no rule that says your wedding party has to be your BFFs from university! If you and your dad are super close, why not have him as part of your wedding party? There are no wedding police, so mix him in with your girls, or have him as your 'Dad of Honour'.

ASK HIM TO DO A READING AT YOUR CEREMONY

To make it even more special, you could ask him to choose the reading, and keep it a surprise until the time comes for him to read.

A WORD ABOUT STEPDADS

We know there are all kinds of amazing stepdads out there too! It can feel awkward if both your dad and your stepdad are in the picture, but finding ways to honour a stepdad who's been there for you as you've grown up is important too. Have an honest chat with your dad and your stepdad, and express that it's important to you that both of them play a role on your day. In addition to all of the above ideas with your stepdad, you could:

  • have your stepdad walk you halfway down the aisle, then hand you off to your dad
  • have both walk you down the aisle, one on each side
  • do half your father/daughter dance with your stepdad, then dance with your dad
  • do two father/daughter dances

IF YOUR DAD CAN'T BE THERE. . .

It's not a perfect world, and sometimes your dad can't be at your wedding, for many reasons. If you'd like to find a way to honour him even though he's not there, you could:

  • wear his ring on a necklace, or attach his picture to your bouquet
  • leave a seat for him (with a photo and a sign, if you want) at the ceremony or at the reception
  • create a memorial table with his photo, and a flower
  • have a boutonniere made and take it to his grave early in the morning (if you can handle it)

No matter what special things you do for your dad, stepdad, god father, or grandpa, know that he'll be over the moon proud and so touched that you thought to do something JUST for him on your wedding day.

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