Sometimes I get questions and I immediately want to punt them to our brilliant readers. This question is really hard!
I actually think the best way to solve this problem is to sit down with your family and chat about it. I think you should share your vision for your wedding (e.g., no aisle and no archaic traditions), as well as your desire to honor and involve them in some way. Then you can break out the chart paper, tape it to the wall, and record everyone's ideas. There's nothing like a good old fashioned brainstorm to get people involved and let their voices be heard! Seriously, this kind of collaboration generates some great ideas.
If you want a few ideas to bring to the discussion with your family, here's what I've got:
- In our own ceremony, I said, "We would like to thank our families who have nurtured our independence..." and Matt finished the sentence with, "and put up with our quirkiness." We then walked into the audience and hugged our moms and dads (you could also give them a flower or some other token of appreciation). Then Matt said, "We would also like to thank each other's families for welcoming us so kindly..." and I finished the sentence with, "and for putting up with our quirkiness." We again walked into the audience, this time hugging our in-laws. You can read the whole ceremony here.
- If you change your mind about the aisle idea, you could have both parents walk you down, and your fiance could have his/her parents walk him/her down.
- You could invite them to do a reading or play some other integral role in the ceremony (like bringing forth the rings if you choose to do a ring exchange).
I will say, however, that I love the idea of creating our ceremonies and our weddings on our own terms. We don't have to follow the same script that we have all seen played out in weddings so many times (although we can if we want to!). That's the whole point. We can choose to adhere to traditions, we can modify them, we can throw them out, or we can create new ones. And we can do a combination of all four things!
I will also say that sometimes it makes sense to compromise and do something you might not want to do, in order to honor a family member. You have to be careful going down this path because it can snowball and your wedding can quickly become someone else's, but compromise can be good.
Insightful and smart readers, what are your ideas?