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Including Family in Your Wedding

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April 19, 2020


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Written by Grace Graham

Foreword: Nóbl Events is lucky to be surrounded by a group of women who enjoy wedding planning as much as we do. In this time of uncertainty and fear, we asked some of them to write about moments in their lives where weddings brought happiness to them, as a small reminder of all the joy a wedding can bring. Enjoy!

“Asking The Groom’s Family to be Bridesmaids”

As the second youngest in a family of six (that’s right, my momma gave birth to six kids!) I look up to my eldest brother, Aidan. Aidan met his wife, Kelci, when he moved from Ontario to Alberta. They tied the knot in 2017. Not only was their wedding a 200 guest-list; dance-your-feet-off party with poutine trucks; bottomless drinks, and laughter… but one of timeless elegance, tradition, family and community.

When they announced their decision to host the wedding in Edmonton I was anxious. Leaving me to wonder how much I would actually get to experience and contribute to their special day.  Living halfway across the country from the bride, groom, and the bride’s side of the family posed so many unknowns. 

Importance of Family

I speak for my parents, siblings, and myself when I say we all felt a bit apprehensive and disconnected from our place in their celebration. Kelci being the youngest of three was the last of her siblings to get married. As a result, the bride’s parents were prepared and excited to be hospitable and generous with wedding festivities. Aidan, being the eldest in our family, was the first of our siblings to have a wedding we would celebrate. So we were eager to be involved… all eight of us! 

Family From the Eyes of a Little Sister

While I was genuinely happy that my brother was getting married, and for Kelci that she was surrounded by family in her hometown, I was sad to be out of the loop on their wedding planning. I was mindful to speak with enthusiasm of their wedding, I even reminded my parents that this day wasn’t about us, but about the couple. However, because they lived across the country. I was secretly worried I would miss out on big moments leading up to their day.

Knowing I was about to gain another sister, I wanted to gush over wedding gowns with her. Not to mention talk about Pinterest wedding themes, romantic honeymoon escapes, and her plans to build a future family! Since they didn’t live close by, I hadn’t had many opportunities to connect with my sister-in-law or her family. I was worried we wouldn’t have the chance to bond. Just as these thoughts started to build up, Kelci visited us at Thanksgiving. She gifted my sisters and me with rustic brown boxes tied by twine cord. Inside was a sequence of sticky notes expressing her excitement to gain a “little sister” and asking me to be a bridesmaid. 

Including Family Has a Big Impact

The thought had crossed my mind, but I did not expect her to include me in the bridal party, and honestly, I would have understood if she chose not to. 

My sisters and I agreed amongst ourselves that “we aren’t really that close to Kelci! So let’s not set any expectations to be asked.” I was pleasantly surprised and deeply touched that she wanted us to be a part of such a special moment in her life. The gesture showed sensitivity, warmth, and made us feel so included, oh so sisterly. Inviting each of us to stand by her side sparked the growth of our relationship.

Bonding Before the Wedding

Together, we created homemade scented candles as favours for the guests. We helped her with week-of wedding errands, collaborated on choosing bridesmaid dresses, and enjoyed getting our nails done at the spa. After that, we planned a formal sit down dinner for her bachelorette, took getting-ready photos in her hotel bridal suite, and so much more leading up to the wedding! We were extremely appreciative and joyful of her invitation to participate in our brother’s wedding. 

Regardless of who Kelci had pre-established relationships with or had known for the longest, she was making an effort to create a connection with us in the present and going forward. That’s what it means to join families. That’s part of what a wedding is about. Sometimes all it takes is the initiative.

Who Will Really Be There for Me?

I don’t fully know what went into her decision to ask me to be a bridesmaid. There were other ways she could have included me in the wedding. Maybe it was an instant and obvious choice, or perhaps the opposite. Behind the scenes, there are so many considerations for a bride to select her support-squad! As a Bride-to-Be You might ask yourself:

  • Who can I really trust and count on? 
  • Who will be able to handle my bridal-brain breakdowns? 
  • Is it really important to my husband to have his female family members included?
  • How do I avoid hurt feelings if I have to be selective?
  • What if personalities clash?
  • Who will be willing and able to spend money on dresses, makeup, hair etc.

Wedding Party – Who to Choose?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve known since you were a little girl who you want to be your Maid of Honor! But take your time to decide who you want in your bridal party, and ask your fiance for his input. Of course, he has his groomsmen, so consider if there is anyone in either of your families that you want to include. 

Oftentimes, I see signage at wedding ceremonies that read “Choose a seat, not a side. We’re all family once the knot is tied”. Extend that mentality to the bridal party. Whether you have a blend of relatives, childhood friends, or new friends joining you up there on the big day. It all comes down to feeling supported as a couple! Being surrounded by loved ones who are rooting for your happiness and collectively raising you up is what really matters.

“Including Family in Your Wedding”, Grace Graham, “Weddings Bring Joy”, Copyright ©2020, Nóbl Events, Nóbl Journal


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