For many, siblings are our first friends, our greatest supporters and even our fiercest rivals! They typically play a special role in our lives, and in many cases, will be key fixtures involved in a couple's wedding day.
Traditional wedding etiquette dictates that siblings be honored as bridesmaids and groomsmen, including the coveted Maid of Honor and Best Man roles.
However, for less-traditional couples, including siblings as their bridesmaids and groomsmen may not be the right fit – and that’s okay! If you’re seeking an alternative, there are many thoughtful and loving ways to include your siblings in your wedding day, which can minimize the potential for hurt feelings or speculation.
Choosing a non-traditional role for your brother or sister may come with some pushback from family, so it’s first and foremost important that both you and your fiancé support each other in your decision. Listen to your partner’s feelings, and when possible, defer to their judgment on their own siblings.
Thoughtful consideration of your siblings and elevating them in a unique role should help your family share your vision and excitement.
We’ve frequently seen siblings cast as program attendants, guest book hosts, ushers and junior-status bridesmaids and groomsmen (when much younger) – but there are several meaningful ways in which siblings can contribute to your day.
For Big Personalities
- Officiant – If your brother or sister is a skilled public speaker, consider asking them to officiate your ceremony.
- Master Of Ceremony – As your MC for the evening, they can offer transitions throughout special moments, a mini-speech in your honor, help by announcing the bridal party, calling up those giving formal speeches, announcing special dances and keeping the night moving along smoothly.
Showcase Special Skills
- Musical Guest – If your brother or sister is a particularly skilled musician, they may be honored to perform a special song during your ceremony or reception.
- Dedicated Dance – Is your brother or sister a talented dancer, or is there a certain style of dance special to your family or heritage? They could help get the party going!
- Special Décor – Consider how his or her special skills – computer design, typography, woodworking, crafting – may contribute to your vision – and be sure to write a special acknowledgement in your wedding program.
- Unity Ritual – A unity ritual is a beautiful way to incorporate your siblings in a small yet meaningful way.
- Cultural Traditions – You might draw inspiration from religious and cultural traditions that allow for additional participants. As examples, many Christian ceremonies include candle lighters and gift bearers who process down the aisle and help adorn the altar. Jewish ceremonies traditionally include family members carrying the chuppah canopy – a symbol of hospitality and unity.
- Reader – The reading of a poem or scripture passage is a special moment that’s easy to incorporate within a marriage ceremony. Looking for something even shorter? Siblings can offer a simple blessing or piece of advice to the couple.
- Ring “Warmer” – Who says the Best Man must hold your wedding rings? He’ll already have a lot of responsibilities that day. Appoint your brother or sister with the bands, and when the time comes, have them present the rings to your officiant.
Have A "House Party"!
One of our favorite ways to honor siblings is a southern tradition called the House Party. Signify members of your House Party with a simple boutonnière, piece of jewelry or corsage and consider asking them to wear your wedding colors – this can also provide for gorgeously coordinated wedding photos. There are many simple ways to incorporate your House Party into your wedding, even if they won’t be standing with you at the altar:
- List House Party members on your website and/or programs
- Invite them to process down the aisle and sit in the first rows with your parents and family
- Give them recessional celebratory duties like tossing flower petals or blowing bubbles to shower you as you joyfully recess down the aisle
- You may also want to include your house party in traditional ‘perks’ of your bridal party – invite them to get ready with you in the morning, join for photos, and if logistically possible, you may want to offer them transportation or special seating arrangements at the reception
When it comes down to it, each wedding – just like each family – is unique and personal. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to involve your siblings on your wedding day. And for many, friends truly have become their nearest and dearest, like family! We strongly advise couples to be 100% certain when appointing important roles for your wedding day. Do what feels right to you and your fiancé – and your vision will come together for the most perfect celebration of your forever.
xoxo Krissy + Team MAE