Scenic City Weddings

8 Special Ways to Honor Mom & Dad at Your Wedding

Etiquette & Traditions >

It’s the biggest day of your life, but you wouldn’t have gotten to the altar if it weren’t for your parents. Don’t forget to take some time to creatively thank your family. Here are 8 great ways to celebrate the couple who helped get you to the point of saying “I do.”

1. Family first

Honor your parents’ legacy by including their wedding pictures around your ceremony and reception. Angela Margolis, co-owner of Sterling Social event planning in Los Angeles suggests putting your parents’ pictures in beautiful frames and displaying them at key stopping points at your event, such as by the guestbook or on the cake table.

2. Entryway splash

Take a page from newlyweds Sara Dorchak-DeSoto and Jonathan DeSoto’s book. The couple created a portrait gallery in the main lobby of their June wedding site, showing generations of love, including them, their parents and grandparents. As guests walked into the wedding, they could see how important family was to the couple.

3. Surprise them with a note

Parents love thank you notes too, and they mean more when they’re unexpected. Take some time before your wedding day to write a heartfelt note of thanks, says Margolis, and then place the notes in envelops on their seats at the ceremony or reception.

4. Include them in the ceremony

Ask your parents to participate in the ceremony in a way that’s special to all of you, such as reading a poem or doing a joint prayer. During the DeSotos’ wedding ceremony, their mothers did a reading and then lit votives for the unity candle.

5. Honor the departed

Don’t forget beloved family members who have passed away. Write a special message in your program to honor and recognize deceased parents and grandparents is by writing a message to them in your program.

For an outdoor wedding, a butterfly or dove release is a truly unique way to honor the deceased. At one of Margolis’s weddings, the bride and groom released butterflies in honor of her mother and his grandmother.

“Dozens of butterflies were released from the box, and miraculously exactly two butterflies stayed behind for the remainder of the ceremony. One attached to the bride’s dress and the other to the groom’s tuxedo. We have no doubt this was her mom and his grandmother!” says Margolis.

6. Play their tunes

Playing your parents’ wedding songs during your celebration can keep their flame alive. During their unity candle ceremony, the DeSotos played “The Wedding Song” by Peter, Paul and Mary, which was Jonathan's parents’ wedding song. During the reception, they played Billy Joel's “Just the Way You Are,” Sara’s parents’ song.

7. Give them a preview

While your guests are enjoying the cocktail hour, you and your groom can steal your parents for a moment and give them a sneak peek of the reception area before any of the guests come in. “Your parents will love getting to see your beautiful set up and all the details that went into the design of the wedding,” says Margolis.

8. Give back

One of wedding planner Stacey Sainato’s clients made a big statement by paying it forward. The Peony Events owner says the bride’s father had battled cancer and was in remission at their wedding, so the couple presented them with an oversized check donation to a cancer association and treated her parents with a trip to Napa for some much needed R&R.

Whether big or small, a creative thank you shows big appreciation for your parents’ unconditional support.

Tags: Brides365, mom and dad, loved ones, parents