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8 Ways to Include Mothers in Wedding Ceremony Traditions

Discover touching ways to honor your mom during the wedding.

Whether you choose to incorporate one or all of these suggestions into your celebration, your mom is sure to appreciate that you thought of her when planning your big day.

Ceremony & Traditions
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Photo: Samuel Lippke Studios

Generally speaking, mothers help their daughters plan for their wedding, but then when it comes to the big day itself, the fathers traditionally tend to get all of the attention. Dads walk the bride down the aisle and help open up the reception with the father-daughter dance, generally taking center stage next to the couple themselves. While highlighting a father’s relationship with his daughter is a lovely tradition, it hardly feels fair to the wonderful mothers of the brides who were likely more involved in planning the day! While mother-son dances have risen in popularity at the reception, there are many other ways to honor moms before you exchange vows.

Therefore, we have come up with a list of different ways to honor your mom on the wedding day with unique wedding-ceremony ideas. There's everything from private moments with moms who don’t like to be the center of attention, as well as ways to make her feel special by putting your mother in the spotlight during the nuptials. Whether you choose to incorporate one or all of these suggestions into your wedding celebration, your mom is sure to appreciate that you thought of her when planning your big day. While some are traditional, we're also sharing unique ceremony ideas for weddings celebrating modern couples that may not follow traditional guidelines.

wedding ceremony with special custom ritual service for mothers ways to honor mom
Photo by Laurie Bailey Photography; Planning & Design by Tessa Lyn Events


How do you include mothers in a wedding? 

As with anything related to wedding planning, including your mom is no different: do what works for you! It's your wedding day and your relationship with your mom, so choose what works best for your nuptials as well as your personalities. We're sharing some ideas for a wedding ceremony below, but there are other ways you can honor her during the cocktail hour and reception as well – for instance, a mother-daughter dance at the reception or even highlighting her favorite color or flower in your cocktail hour décor. Your mom likely helped raise you to be the woman (or man) you are today, so be sure to honor the mother of the bride and/or groom throughout the wedding to not only make her feel special, but also appreciated on this special day she's been looking forward to for years. 

Take a look at ways to include the mother of the bride or groom at your wedding, below:

Ask if you can wear something of hers for your bridal look. 

Your mom will likely be so honored if you ask to wear something of hers for your bridal ensemble. It doesn’t have to be her wedding gown, but a piece of jewelry or hairpiece will be meaningful. We've also seen brides wear their mom's wedding dress and then change into a gown of their choice for the reception if that tradition is meaningful for you both. You can also wear her veil on the wedding day – whether in just photos or for your walk down the aisle. If your styles clash, consider ways to include fabric from her own wedding day to either be wrapped around the stems of your bouquet, be included in your chuppah or arbor, or be sewn into your wedding dress.

Offer her a gift of your appreciation. 

This may seem simple, but the gesture goes a long way. After your mom helps you get ready for the big day, give her a gift to show how much you appreciate her. Whether jewelry, a frame that will later hold a photo of you two from your wedding day, or even a handmade gift, she'll love that you thought of her even in the midst of planning one of the biggest events you'll ever organize. You can also write a letter letting her know how much you love and honor your mother-daughter bond.

Allow her to stand out with something special. 

Provide your mom with a corsage to wear throughout the day, preferably with similar flowers to your bridesmaids’ bouquets. Make sure it's ready for your family portraits!

Partake in the rose ceremony wedding tradition. 

After walking down the aisle with your father, take a moment with your future spouse to each present your mothers in the front row with a rose before exchanging vows. It's a common idea for wedding-ceremony traditions, and we love how it's a wonderful way to honor mom without taking up too much time during the service.

Include her in the actual service itself. 

If you and your beloved plan to light a unity candle, have a sand ceremony, or include a similar tradition in your proceedings, your mother and your sweetheart’s mom can take part, perhaps by presenting each of you with the lit candles that light the unity candle.

Ask her to give a reading. 

Having your mother give a reading during the service is a touching way to make her a part of the nuptials. She can either recite something you've selected, or include her in choosing one of the passages to make her feel even more included in the wedding day.

Consider having her walk you down the aisle. 

If you don’t have a father figure available, it’s always lovely to see a mother walking her daughter down the aisle. Even if your dad is around, having both of your parents escort you is a great idea – it's actually a common tradition at Jewish weddings! You may also have your mom walk you part of the way down the aisle, and then have your father finish the special walk down the aisle to incorporate tradition – with a twist!

Be sure to thank her! 

Hopefully you’re already planning to thank your mother in your reception toast, but an additional note in the  ceremony program is also a thoughtful touch. While typically fathers share wedding speeches, you can also ask your mom to give a speech if she'd like to do so as well!

How do you honor a deceased mother at a wedding? 

Weddings are a time of joy, happiness, and love; however, if you've lost a loved one whether recently or years ago, they can also be a reminder that they are not with you on your wedding day. Thankfully, there are a number of ceremony ideas, wedding reception ideas, and more to honor late loved ones throughout the wedding day. 

For parents who have passed away, brides and grooms often leave a chair empty in their loving memory, or they may incorporate a family heirloom into their wedding ensemble. Speeches during the ceremony or reception pay tribute to loved ones beautifully – but be sure to have tissues or an embroidered handkerchief at the ready. If she always envisioned something in particular for your future wedding day, be sure to include that in your nuptials as a way to honor her memory. 

Play your loved one's favorite song at the wedding for a subtle way to honor their memory, or choose a color palette that you know they'd love. You can also include a photo of your mom in a locket on your bridal bouquet, sew something of hers into your wedding dress, or choose one of her favorite design motifs to include in your décor (for example, we've seen couples incorporate roses, butterflies, or even various hues to honor their late mom). For more advice, click here.