I’m feeling a twinge of nostalgia and homesickness, so I’m going to write about one of the most important wedding topics to Mr. Wallaby and I: family. Our families are near and dear to our hearts; we both come from very close-knit families and we spend as much time with them as we can. We have dinner with Mr. W’s family every Friday night. My parents live further away, but we make as many trips up to Seattle as we can, and my parents are great about visiting every few months. My brother goes to college in Houston, so I see him weekly, depending on his course load and social life.
Our families have started blending together—my parents and grandma flew to Houston last Thanksgiving to celebrate the holiday with Mr. W’s extended family, and we all had a blast. (My grandma even said it was the best Thanksgiving ever!) Then this past February, Mr. W’s mom and sisters visited my parents in Seattle, and we showed them the sights—and the trip culminated in a family ski trip. So, needless to say, I couldn’t wait for the family reunion at the wedding!
Wallaby Dad, me, Mr. W, W Sister H, W Sister R, Mama Wallaby, and MIL Wallaby, after an afternoon of skiing and sledding. Personal photo.
Last April, Mr. W, Wallaby Dad, and I rode a 180-mile bike ride to raise money for MS. Our families met us at the finish line to cheer us on. In this picture is my mom, my dad, me, Mr. W’s SIL, niece (the cutie snoozing in the stroller), brother, nephew, another SIL, MIL W, Mr. W, and FIL W. Wheww.
Mr. Wallaby’s family celebrating Sister H’s college graduation. Personal photo.
My family doesn’t take a lot of pictures. This is the most recent photo of all 5 of us, taken a couple years ago after my college graduation and my brother’s high school graduation. On the left is our sweet pup, Poseidon. Personal photo.
We love all of those guys to death. The challenge was how we would honor all of them in our wedding. All of the sibs are bridesmaids and groomsmen, but the only parent directly involved in the ceremony would be my dad, who walked me down the aisle. Mr. W and I knew we would give speeches during the reception to thank our families, but somehow that didn’t feel like enough.
Here are a couple other ways we considered including them:
1) Displaying pictures of other family weddings. We asked our parents to scan some of their wedding photos, and to dig up some old wedding photos from our grandparents and great-grandparents. These pictures are so precious, especially with so many family members who have passed away and couldn’t be present on our wedding day.
Our venue provided us with a “wedding wall” made of wood pallets to help divide the ceremony space and the reception space. Other couples who’ve tied the knot at Oak Tree Manor have hung engagement pictures and family wedding pictures from the “wedding wall,” so Mr. Wallaby and I planned to do the same.
2) Playing a few of our parents’ favorite songs. My parents are big Beatles and Beach Boys fans, so we knew we’d be jamming to a few oldies during the reception. We also asked a family friend—“DJ TJ,” as he’s informally nick-named by other Persian friends—to burn us a CD of popular Persian songs, knowing that this would get the Persian contingent on the dance floor. I also really wanted to find out what our parents’ first dance songs were and arrange for the DJ to play those songs.
3) I’m not a huge fan of unity candles, so I was thinking that instead of lighting unity candles during our ceremony, we could nail shut a wooden box containing a special bottle of wine for us to drink on our first anniversary. My grandma and late grandpa were wine aficionados, so my grandma could help us select a special bottle of wine for this occasion.
4) We did everything we could to involve our families in wedding planning. I suppose this is probably common, but nonetheless, it’s something very important to us. If my mom wanted something, then we made sure it would happen! (Case in point, the much-debated cake.) Mr. Wallaby’s mom, craftier than my own dear mama, took a lot of interest in the decorations, and she helped with a lot of the DIY projects we accomplished. Mr. Wallaby’s family also came with us to the tasting and to preview the venue before we booked it. We kept them up-to-date on the planning deets, too—they probably tired of hearing about the “W” word. Everyone stepped up to the plate and offered their help, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
5) We really wanted to do something special to thank our parents for their endless love and sacrifices they’ve made for us. They’ve been very supportive with every endeavor both of us have undertaken, and we’ve never really had an opportunity to thank them in a big way. So we would like to provide both sets of parents with some relaxation after the wedding…We’re thinking about buying them gift certificates to bed and breakfasts so they can have weekend get-aways together. For Mr. W’s parents, we’ve been researching B&Bs in the Texas Hill Country around Austin, and for my parents, we might go for a B&B in Banff, Canada, where my parents like to vacation now that they’re empty-nesters.
Mt. Gainor Inn, a beautiful B&B in the Texas Hill Country. Photo via BedandBreakfast.com.
A cozy accommodation at Mt. Gainor Inn. I would love for Mr. W’s parents to have a getaway somewhere this serene! Photo via BedandBreakfast.com.
Thea’s House, a B&B in Banff, Canada, where my parents could indulge in a post-wedding getaway. Photo via BedandBreakfast.com.
How are you honoring and involving your family on your wedding day?