What Is Dad’s Role at the Wedding?

The Championship Fathering blog by Carey Casey


It’s a huge moment in a daughter’s life, and we dads play a key role: walking her down the aisle. And we have our place when it’s a son getting married as well, whether it’s standing up as his best man or just being there to witness it and give our blessing.

Carey-Father-of-BrideI have been through the experience three times so far—with two daughters and a son. I walked down the aisle with Christie and Patrice, and I shared a few remarks at my son Marcellus’s wedding.

While we dads aren’t typically all that involved in the details of the event, I know quite a few guys who were surprised at how emotional it was for them. They found themselves alone in some corner of the church, staring out the window and reflecting on all they have been through with their son or daughter that has led to that moment—all the good times and challenges through the years. And then, what does the future hold?

Maybe you’re looking forward to that big day with your child. Some of you reading this might be just a few months away from being a father of a bride (or groom), and some of you still have a few decades, so you can file this away for when you need it. Here are three things to keep in mind. (And if you have a married child or two, I hope you’ll share your wisdom and add to my list below.)

First, the day is not about you. You know that, but with weddings there always seem to be issues that cause tension or even major divisions in families. If you have an agenda, put it on the back burner. This is a time to be humble, let others shine, and just enjoy the ride.

With that in mind, dads need to also be ready to get involved in the right ways. Be prepared to take on any role to help make it special for the wedding couple. It might be some behind-the-scenes task to help make sure things run smoothly, or it might be a brief moment in the spotlight when you dance with the bride. Maybe you could take on the challenge of making all the guests feel welcome, or get to know the people in your child’s new extended family. One of the best ways to make the day memorable is to find a time to publicly speak a father’s blessing on the new marriage.

And then, this might sound petty, but be ready to stroke the check. This is a difficult one, because money is a big area where we want our kids to learn responsibility, planning, and so on, and their poor money decisions are big learning opportunities. But when it comes to weddings, money can become a big source of disagreement, and it’s amazing how much some things cost. My thought would be: do all you can to not let financial stress steal joy from the event. Well beforehand, encourage the young couple to have a budget and plan wisely. But as the big day draws near, if you’re able to and if the expenses aren’t completely frivolous, be a hero when something unexpected comes up … and do it cheerfully! Be ready with a smile and a “You’re worth every penny.”

Remember, dad, you’re helping to make memories that will last a lifetime. Tweet this! And you’re setting the stage for continuing a positive relationship with your adult child.

What are you most looking forward to about that your child’s wedding day? Tweet this! Or, for veteran fathers of the bride, what advice would you add? Please leave a comment either below or at our Facebook page.


Carey CaseyCarey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering (NCF), as well as a husband, father, and grandfather. He is author of Championship Fathering and general editor of The 21-Day Dad’s Challenge. See more about Carey here.

NCF is a nonprofit organization seeking to improve the lives of children and establish a positive fathering and family legacy that will impact future generations by inspiring and equipping fathers and father figures to be actively engaged in the life of every child. We encourage you to help us change the culture of fathering in America by joining the Championship Fathering Team. You can also sign up for NCF’s Today’s Father Weekly email here.


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