There's a lot more to being a "father of the..." than just nodding and handing over your credit card! And we're not just saying that because many couples these days are funding their own nuptials. Here's how you can get involved.
1. Make a Money Plan
Remember what we said about your credit card? Before that even becomes an issue, powwow with your partner about your plans for funding the festivities. The newly engaged couple might be, as we mentioned, planning to pay for it themselves. But if they're not, plan out in advance how much you're willing to pitch in for the wedding. And once you've set a limit, stick with it -- if you let that "daddy's little girl" routine work on you once, it's only going to work on you again and again!
2. Play Your Part
Sorry, but being a guy doesn't give you license to sit this one out. Weddings can be a lot of work, and the bride and groom are likely to need all the help they can get. Ask your son or daughter if there's anything you can help out with. If you've got a green thumb, maybe you can visit the florist with them. A sweet tooth? Tag along for the cake tasting.
3. Keep the Peace
Tensions can run high sometimes, and you might sometimes find yourself in the position of mediating between two warring parties who are both very close to you -- like your wife and your daughter. Do your best to keep things running smoothly by listening to both sides of the story, and try to help hash out a compromise.
4. Grab Your Tux...
If the groom and groomsmen are wearing tuxes, you will too. If you're renting a tuxedo, you'll want to rent from a shop near where the wedding's happening -- that way, the tuxes will be ready and waiting right where you are. Go to your local tux shop (if it's not the one you'll be picking up at, formalwear chains will usually be willing to send your measurements and order to any of their locations) to get fitted about three months before the big day. Find the closest local formalwear using The Knot Local Resources page. Don't forget to ask about all the extras -- think of anything you'll need, from suspenders to shoes.
5. ...Or Your Best Suit
If the wedding's less formal, your attire might be totally different. Look to the bride and groom to give you your style cues (or if you're really fashion-challenged, to tell you exactly what to wear). Many weddings today are more casual, so don't be surprised if you wind up in a linen suit or a guayabera and dark pants for a summer affair.
6. Be There for Them
We can't say it enough: Between dealing with vendors, dealing with the wedding party, and dealing with guests, wedding planning can lead to some sticky situations. When your son, daughter, or wife gets really stressed out, it's important for you to be there as a sounding board for advice. When things get tough, they need to know dear old dad is on their side.
7. Put Your Best Foot Forward
Whether you're dancing with your daughter or your wife, there's a decent chance that for at least one song during the reception, all eyes will be on you. Dancing not really your thing? Then you definitely need to get ready for your turn in the spotlight. A couple of dance lessons might be in order if you want to be able to surprise the bride with your moves. If you're not feeling so bold, practicing with your wife at home is an easy (and romantic) solution to your dance dilemma.
8. Say a Few Words
Whether at the rehearsal dinner or the wedding (or sometimes both), it's customary for the dads to give a little toast to the happy couple. Not sure what to say? Rather than rambling, it's always best to stick to the basics. Thank everyone for being there, tell everyone how happy and proud you're feeling at that moment, then raise your glass to the bride and groom. See, that wasn't too tough, was it?
9. Don't Overindulge
When you're the father of the bride or the groom, everyone wants to congratulate you, shake your hand, ...and have a drink. We're all for the former, but you need to keep tabs on the latter. Maintaining a celebratory mood is fine, getting completely plastered is not. After all, you want to remember seeing all your old friends again and meeting new ones -- not the moment when you grabbed the mic for an impromptu drunken rendition of "My Girl."
10. Have Fun!
On the wedding day, there's lots for you to do. Walk down the aisle. Accept everyone's congratulations. Dance with your daughter or your new daughter-in-law -- don't forget to tell her how beautiful she looks! And of course, take a minute or two to take it all in. It's not just a big day for the bride and groom, it's a celebration for your entire family.
See More: Basics for Moms