Imagining your granddaughter walking down the aisle may very well be as exciting as when it was your daughter who got married. But now you’re not the mother of the bride, you’re the grandmother. And you may very well be wondering what your role will be on your precious grandchild’s big day.
The Grandparents’ Role
Most immediate family members have traditional roles at a wedding. For example, the bride’s father is expected to walk her down the aisle. The groom’s mother is to dance with him at the reception. Siblings and cousins are usually part of the wedding party as bridesmaids and groomsmen. Close uncles and aunts are often asked to give a toast.
Most of the time, there is no specific role for grandparents at the wedding proper. However, grandparents are usually escorted and seated into the family pews or seats. Some cultures has customary roles for grandparents. In Jewish weddings, grandparents walk during the processional, where they enter second, right after the rabbi and the cantor. In traditional Chinese weddings, the bride and groom serve tea to their relatives, including both sets of parents and grandparents.
There are lots of simple ways to honor and acknowledge grandparents at a wedding, such as asking them to wear a corsage or boutonniere, or writing a dedication for them.
Wedding traditions and practices continually evolve, and couples getting married today are becoming more and more creative. If the bride or groom was raised by their grandparents, or they have a very special relationship, they can choose to give their grandmothers and grandfathers special roles in their wedding.
Couples may ask their grandparents for a dance at the reception. This is very fitting, especially if the grandparents have been married for a long time. Some couples even go as far as asking their grandmothers to be the flower girls or maid of honors!
Brides get even more creative by asking grandma to give her her ‘something old’ or ‘something borrowed’. It can be grandma’s wedding dress or veil, a piece of jewelry, a religious item or something with a personal meaning.
Many brides and grooms also opt to honor grandparents who have passed away at their wedding by using something symbolic to remember them by – like a specific flower on the bouquet or a photo included in the slideshow at the reception.
What should you do
Remember that at the end of the day, what is important is to honor the wishes of the couple. If they want you to participate in the wedding and the preparations, agree to it – as long as you are comfortable with what they are asking of you. If you are not, they talk to them and explain why. This is both an exciting and stressful time for the bride and groom, and they will appreciate help you can give. Proper communication is also key to avoid miscommunication and, well, drama.
Whether or not you are given a big role at the wedding, be happy that you are able to witness your granddaughter or grandson walk down the aisle and start this new life with their partner.