Creative ways of including family and friends in a wedding
June 14, 2012 1:12 PM Subscribe
What are some creative ways of including or honoring special family and friends in a wedding, beyond the typical bridal party?
Unnecessary backstory: We're getting married at the end of the year. We have a lot of special people in our lives. My fiance has a mom, dad, grandma, three siblings, and four nephews he's very close to. I have my mom and dad, my stepmom and stepdad, two older stepsiblings and three younger half-siblings, whom I'm pretty close to (mostly...). And we each have a few good friends we're pretty fond of. My fiance also has a 13-year-old son from a previous relationship and together we have a 3-year-old son. Lots of people.
We're trying to figure out who to include in the ceremony/reception, and how. Our first pass at figuring out the bridesmaids/groomsmen left us at 5 each, but I keep getting sad about people we're leaving out and making it any larger is just ridiculous. We talked about the idea of each of us having our mothers stand up with us, but then I'd be leaving out my stepmom which seems a little rude. We've also talked about each of us having our siblings as our wedding party, but then I would have five and he would have three. He's talked about having his sons and nephews as his groomsmen, but they're all kids and the people on my side would not be kids, so that seems a little weird too. And really, I'm not even 100% sure we're going to have bridesmaids/groomsmen because we want a pretty simple ceremony and the thought of having 5-10 people walk out in front of me makes me feel weird and self-conscious.
Other things we've considered: having his dad perform the ceremony (but he's, uh, verrrrry longwinded and I'm afraid we'd be there for hours), dedicating the bouquet to my mom instead of tossing it, having some people do readings (but again, we want a short ceremony).
The Actual Question: Are there any happy alternatives to the traditional bridal party? What are other creative ways of including special people in our wedding day?
(No 'have your little sister man the guestbook table' or whatever...I don't want to give them jobs to do because I want them to relax and have a good time!)