You’re looking at the roles on your wedding day and matching them to the people you love most then suddenly, you realise, you want your siblings to have a special part to play but what?!
As with all ways of including others in your day, my rule is to do it in a way that will suit who they are and what you think they would be up for.
Families are made up of a mix of personalities, we all know that! So here are a range of options to suit all kinds of individuals and wedding styles.
Maybe your sister has had unfulfilled dreams of being a flower girl when she was younger or you have a pair or more of clownish brothers who will up the ante. Usually, adult flower people start the ceremony as a bit of a laugh. They toss petals out of bumbags and break the petal-tossing rules by aiming for the face. Often they make their entrance with a banger backing track and work the aisle like it’s their own personal runway!
Note: they don’t have to have flowers, they may have bubbles, eco-fetti, be handing out beers/drinks, fans on a hot day… Lots of variations to consider.
For many, their wedding day is a nod to their parents or family. Traditionally, the “bride” (or one party to the marriage) comes down the aisle with a family member but often the other side of the family aren't "on show".
If you’d like to acknowledge your family more formally, consider having siblings walk down the aisle with a parent or together either when the ceremony starts or informally once the housekeeping has finished. They can even accompany younger family members as a sense of comfort to get them down the aisle.
In the Housekeeping section of the ceremony, I usually cover off how to throw petals/confetti when you, the couple, walk back up the aisle. This can include a demonstration by a unsuspecting guest or a planned demonstration from a sibling, whereby they would come out the front and show us all how it is done – following my instructions of course. Think of it like an in-flight air host demonstration. It’s a lot of fun and full of laughs!
Siblings don’t often get the chance to make a speech at the wedding reception, instead we can weave some of their first impressions and memories with you as a couple into the ceremony as a surprise element.
To do this, I usually send them a questionnaire with some questions to answer along the lines of:
· How did you find out x and y were dating?
· In what ways do you think they compliment each other?
The responses are usually a mix of heartfelt sentiments and fun recollections. As your celebrant, I won’t share with you who said what or what is being said so you can all experience it firsthand.
A common choice is for siblings to deliver a reading during the ceremony. This might be a poem, a sample of text from a book or song, a bible verse or something more creative. In the past, I’ve had siblings re-write popular poems like “Oh The Places You Will Go” to be about the couple, write their own poem, even share an email/letter they received when the couple began dating, or the wish list of "perfect partner" qualities they dreamed up together and all the ways those boxes have been checked.
Siblings might like to do it together as a joint-reading or you may ask them to do separate ones. I recommend limiting it to two readings and suggest each is capped around 2 minutes.
If you are one of my couples and would like some suggestions of readings, let me know.
Have your sibling/s come up to close the ceremony with a toast. Traditionally, this would be finished with a “to the married couple” but they can make it their own, in any way they’d like.
Note: you will need to check if your venue is happy to provide champagne for this or opt for BYO shots or even “three cheers” as a substitute.
When the ceremony finishes, I would typically ask everyone to be upstanding and cheer for the married couple (or the variation of that we have discussed). But there’s no legal reason another person can’t take the mic and be the ones to pronounce you married. In some cases, this is a really nice “welcome to the family”. A celebratory gesture that shows you are one big family now!
Usually, couples request family portraits to take place after the ceremony and in this case, family captains come in handy. They have a list of who is in what photo and round them up, sub them in, basically ensuring no one misses out and the photos happen in a streamlined fashion.
They can also carry their role on to help family members find seating, ensure everyone has drinks for speeches, coordinate family dance offs and so forth.
Again, this one applies to the ceremony and reception. Instead of having staff hold trays of drinks, give the role to your siblings. They can act as a welcome party for guests, adding a personal touch and giving everyone the opportunity to meet them.
Note: check with your venue if this will be OK. Some venues are strict on RSAs.
This is applicable for the ceremony and the reception. If you’re planning on adding some wow factor to your ceremony with confetti cannons or flower petal cannons, you can designate the fire power to siblings. In the ceremony, this can be done on the kiss or when you walk up the aisle at the end. Ask me for more directions on placement and how it works.
Otherwise, you can use the same tactic to make a grand entrance at your reception. As the couple is announced and walk in the room – pow, pow off go the cannons!
Word up your MC that your siblings are starting the conga line after the first round of speeches. The MC will call them up, cue the DJ and around they go!
Most couples want everyone to join them in their first dance, at a point. This is an opportunity to get your siblings involved. Maybe you go so far as to have them learn a choreographed dance! Or you can simply ask them to grab a partner and join at a point in the song.
Note: I’ve had siblings learn the bus stop and dance it to other songs, so long as there’s a beat, a choreographed dance can be that easy. It doesn’t have to be a TikTok viral wedding sensation to be good!
If you are doing a sparkler exit to close the evening, ask your siblings to host the exit by handing out sparklers and arranging everyone into two lines, then lighting the sparklers.
These are a sample of ideas to suit a wide range of couples. If you have something in mind but aren’t sure how to make it happen by all means reach out. Likewise, if you’ve found or seen something in your wedding planning that you think would work, go for it!
Photography by: Elise Hassey