By Paula Ramirez

When your wedding day arrives, you will surely be surrounded by family, friends, and other loved ones who came to celebrate your commitment. It’s common to want to include everyone who has shared in your relationship, but let’s be real – you can only have so many bridesmaids and groomsmen!

For those who want to include people beyond the wedding party, there are plenty of ways to involve your loved ones throughout your special day. Remember: it’s your day and you make the rules! Here are some of our favorite ways of incorporating friends and family.


When guests show up at your wedding, you’ll want someone to welcome them, right? Rather than having the venue staff do this or hiring greeters, ask friends or family to take their place. The role will free them of responsibilities by the time the ceremony starts but will provide them with a special place to be. Plus, they’ll feel very much included if you choose to invite them to the rehearsal dinner.


Similar to greeters, don’t hesitate to ask loved ones to be ushers in your wedding. Even if you’re not having assigned sides at the ceremony, it can help to have someone guiding guests to the ceremony spot. Ushers can play the part by helping grandma to her seat and ensuring the ceremony sides are balanced, and they will be able to enjoy the rest of the celebration after the ceremony starts.

Julie J. Photography toast

Generally, parents, the maid of honor, and the best man give toasts at the reception, but there is no rule set in stone! Consider asking your grandparents, a beloved aunt, or a mutual friend to give a toast. In some cases, a friend may not be able to commit to the time investment of being in the wedding party, but they may be honored to give a speech on the big day!

Of course, these are only three suggestions for including your loved ones. Every wedding is different, and it may even make sense to customize your day to include someone important in another manner, like a special dance or a meaningful speech to honor them. It’s your day – have fun with it!

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed & breakfast. They have lovingly restored this national landmark to its original grandeur and are honored to share the treasured estate with couples and their families. For more information, please visit

Photo Credit: Julie J. Photography