If you are blessed to have a father, stepfather (or both) on your wedding day, you are one lucky woman. Losing my father at an early age taught me two things: life is short and a good dad is hard to find. Remember, on your wedding day you will be marking the passage from being one man’s daughter to another man’s wife. It is a bittersweet occasion for him and a good time to remind him of how much he means to you. It is also a good time to remind him of his role in the wedding, that he has a very special place and purpose for being there, other than to pay for everything, if that is even your dynamic.
Walk Down The Aisle– If your father will be walking you down the aisle, this will be a very emotional moment for him. As you let go of his hand, remind him of how much it means to you with a kiss on the cheek, a nod, a whisper. Don’t be in a hurry to move forward, he might need a moment to digest this.
Father /Daughter Dance – This is when, traditionally, the father cuts in to the first dance of the newlyweds and dances with his daughter for the first time as a married woman as the music transitions into ‘their song’. Or you can have a completely different dance just for the two of you. “Daddy’s Little Girl” is a bit outdated and kind of (whats the word?) … creepy. Find a song that means something to the two of you, and no one else.
Speech – The father of the bride gives the first speech at the reception. Whether it is lighthearted, serious, or sentimental, it should be whatever suits his personality and your relationship together. He might need help with this as some men are not as eloquent or profound as others. Spend some alone time with him leading up to the wedding, giving him an opportunity to reminisce and ponder………
Gift – Finding the right gift for your dad can mean a lot. I know from experience that men who do not express emotions easily are touched by small gestures. A framed photo of the two of you when you were a little girl, a pair of cuff-links, an embroidered handkerchief. Stay away from t-shirts or mugs with photos of shotguns. It’s only funny because it’s tacky.
Don’t be surprised if , many years down the road, you wind up thinking that your husband is a lot like your dad, it happens all the time. When it is all said and done, he was the first man you loved, the one who taught you to sit up straight and respect yourself and set the standard for what to look for in a husband in the first place. For that, he deserves special recognition.
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago