Everyone has seen the happy father of the bride escort his daughter down the aisle of the church and hand her to the groom. It's perhaps the most poignant symbol of the wedding-a father passing the responsibility of his grown child to her soon-to-be husband. However, this is just one of the duties that the father of the bride is responsible for to ensure that the wedding nuptials go as planned. From hosting pre-wedding events to picking up some of the bill, the father of the bride is a major part of the wedding party.
Traditional Duties of the Father of the Bride
In the past, the father of the bride was the one who pays for the bulk of the wedding expenses. While there are many lists in wedding planning literature that attempt to distribute the cost between the bride's family and the groom's family, today's father of the bride may be expected to pay for all, part or none of his little girl's big day.
It's a good idea for the father of the bride to talk about budget and financial obligations very early in the engagement. That way, everyone has a clear understanding of who is responsible for what and how much is allotted. More modern brides and grooms often pay for many wedding expenses themselves, and the lines between what is the "bride's" and what is the "groom's" financial responsibility is blurring. Ultimately, each couple must evaluate the family situation, consult with the groom's family if they plan to contribute and make plans accordingly.
The father of the bride typically dresses in a tuxedo for the wedding and the reception. Depending on the bride's preference, his outfit may match the outfits of the other men in the wedding party, or it may be a little different in cut, color or accessories. Make sure you get a good fit, and rent the appropriate shoes and accessories so you'll look your best walking down the aisle. Communicate with your daughter on where and when to attend a fitting.
The father of the bride and the mother of the bride are the official hosts of the wedding and reception. The father of the bride should plan on greeting guests at the reception, provide introductions and express thanks on behalf of the bride and groom for everyone's attendance. Mingling with the guests is important during the reception, as is escorting everyone out the door when it's time to go home.
During the reception, it's traditional for the father of the bride to make the first speech of the evening. Usually, the father of the bride speech will welcome the groom into the family and share some sweet childhood memories of the bride. Whether the speech is sincere and emotional or lighthearted and warm is up to the personalities of the father of the bride, the couple and the setting.
If the reception has dancing, the father of the bride usually cuts in toward the end of the couple's first dance to have a turn dancing with his daughter. Some wedding receptions are more relaxed and have a father-daughter dance with a special song selected by the bride for this tender moment. As the father of the bride, just make sure you have clear instructions on when you are supposed to dance and with whom.
Balancing Relationships as the Father of the Bride
With so many blended families nowadays, keeping a balanced relationship between ex-spouses, stepfamilies and even the groom's family can be a tricky thing for the father of the bride. When each side of the family remembers that ultimately the bride and groom are the reason for the event, most people will be accommodating to just about any request.
As the father of the bride, you can help lessen tension by setting a good example yourself. If you are divorced from the bride's mother, work hard to put aside any differences and come together for the sake of your daughter. If one or both of you are remarried, you will still co-host the wedding events with the bride's mother. Just make sure to communicate with your daughter and let her know that you'll be happy to do whatever she feels comfortable with.
Some blended families have made creative and sincere compromises when it comes to father of the bride roles. If a bride is closer to her stepfather, she may wish for him to assume the duties of the father of the bride. If both men are equally present in her life, she may wish for joint duties. The bottom line is that the bride and groom want their loved ones to join them in celebrating their special day, so ease up on your ex and don't pick a fight with her new husband-all for the sake of your daughter. Remember that this is a day to celebrate her emergence from a child to a grown woman, and all her loved ones should gather around her in support and peace.
The mother of the bride has an important supporting role as the wedding plans unfold. From contributing to the guest list, shower planning and even choosing the dress, there's no more emotional or exciting time in the life of a mother.
For the mother of the bride, the trickiest part about choosing a wedding hairstyle is making sure it doesn't upstage the bride's look.