There’s plenty of advice out there for including your mom (who, for so many of our brides, doubles as an additional wedding planner!), and many tips for the Mother of the Groom. However, we think one special lady can unfortunately go forgotten on your special day: your grandmother! And she, like your mom and the groom’s mom, is so deserving of a special role at your wedding. If your grandmother is able to attend your wedding, consider these ways of including her in the ceremony and reception, and throughout the whole wedding process:
- Procession: it is traditional to include your grandparents in the aisle procession, as the first to enter the ceremony site. Ask your grandmother to participate in this honor. Chances are, she’ll be overjoyed to be a part of your special celebration.
- The “Married” Dance: one of our favorite reception activities, The Married Dance is a great way to get people into the music. Ask all married couples to join the newlyweds out on the dance floor. Then have the DJ count down years of marriage, asking couples married less than one day (hint hint, newlyweds!), one year, five years, and so on to exit the dance floor. The longest-married couple will be the last one dancing at the end of the song—a feat worth a round of applause and perhaps a special prize bouquet. Trust us, your elderly guests will love this activity, and it’s a lovely way to honor their marriages.
- Wardrobe assistance: let this be her prerogative, but offer your assistance if desired. Perhaps she’d like to find a gorgeous new gown to wear to your special day—in that case, a girls’ shopping trip is an absolute necessity. You’ll cherish the time spent together, and she’ll be grateful for your morale-boosting as she tries on dresses. Don’t forget to surprise her with a corsage or small posey accessory on the day of the wedding!
- Photos: will you be displaying family photos at the reception or rehearsal dinner? Ask your grandmother for a few of her favorite images to put on display. Be sure to ask her about the story behind each photo! And, don’t forget to have your photographer snap a few pictures of you with your grandmother on your wedding day. Afterward, you can either present the photo to her as a gift in an elegant frame, or ask if you can keep it to hang in your new home.
- Something old/borrowed: ask your grandmother if she has anything she would like to contribute to your bridal accessories. We think there’s something so sweet about carrying a family heirloom down the aisle. If your grandma is willing to lend heirloom jewelry, an antique handkerchief, or another precious item, take her up on the opportunity. You’ll cherish having that special item on your wedding day and for years to come.
- Bridal showers: whenever appropriate, make certain that she is included on the guest list. Of course, some showers will be reserved for college friends or perhaps just the groom’s family. But whenever the guest list has room, ask the hostess of your bridal shower to please include your grandmother. She’ll be delighted by the invitation, and it will be a perfect opportunity for her to meet other guests prior to the big day.
If your grandmother is not living (may she rest in peace), you can still honor her at your reception. Light a candle for deceased relatives, or reserve an empty chair in her honor. Surely she’ll be smiling down on your happiness.
As a general rule of thumb, plan ahead for elderly guests at your barn wedding venue. Provide ample seating, and consider dedicating a quieter area of the venue to your elderly loved ones. Whether they want to relax for a few minutes in peace, or prefer to tear it up on the dance floor, it will be a treat to have them with you on your wedding day.
Of course, the most important thing you can do is simply love your grandmother in the way that only you know how. Show your affection and gratefulness for her support throughout the planning process. Take care to ensure that she is included and that her presence does not go unappreciated. After all, your grandmother is one special lady… and you wouldn’t be here today without her!