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Eight things to consider when Grandparents will be at your wedding

By Elizabeth Slagel

 

After wrapping up one of two venue tours today the bride-to-be asks her most anticipated question, “What do you have available THIS summer?”

Surprised, I run through the calendar with her confident she will jump on a later fall date that came open.  “What about late July?” she chimes.

That’s four months away…I calculate but know it is plausible.  Alas, this lovely young woman reveals her urgency.  She is one of the lucky few to have grandparents still with her and wants to get married before she loses one.

This reminds me of the bride whose story went viral when she planned a photoshoot with her 102-year-old grandmother in Hospice care.  Her grandmother wanted to be able to attend her wedding, but it would not be.  The bride arranged to do a wedding gown reveal photoshoot with her grandmother and offered the photos with her family 6 months later at her wedding.  One can only imagine the emotion her gesture conjured.

Of course, it is special to have living grandparents present to one of the biggest days of your life.  When inviting elderly guests, here are a few tips to consider:

 

  1. Accessibility:  Do check with your venue about handicap accessibility.  Even stairs and lengthy walks can do the most agile 80 plus adult a disservice.
  2. Lengthy walks: If your venue is on expansive property, inquire with your venue about golf cart service to alleviate undo exhaustion before that party begins.
  3. Carpool: Whether your venue is in the city with limited street parking or more scenic and a country drive, navigating a new place can also be a challenge for the older generation.  Encourage an attentive family member to assist a grandparent with offering a ride.
  4. Expect early departure: It’s okay.  The mature generation is always the first to clip out, typically following your food service.  Many will try to hold out for watching you cut the cake.  If carpooling, plan for securing his or her ride home or to hotel so other family does not have to leave prematurely.
  5. Include your Grandparent in your service: If you have a particular attachment to a special Grandparent, consider letting them be a part of your ceremony.  For the more serious type, ask them to do a reading.  If you want to add some fun, why not have a grandparent be a stand in for the ring bearer or flower girl or even join your wedding party?  This would certainly show your bond and add generational flavor to your event.
  6. Evening darkness: Even a well-lit venue can have potential dark spots on property.  This can be challenging for aging eyes.   Ask your venue if paths to the parking area are well-lit.  If not, ask if curbside service is possible or a golf cart shuttle to the parking area.  Venues, like Weymouth Hill, are happy to oblige if these requests are communicated.
  7. Consider coolness/warmth:  With so many weddings opting for outdoor settings, check your venue for spaces someone elderly can find respite from the cold or heat offering necessary comfort.  Look for venues with controlled climate spaces or plan accordingly with portable options.  Remember their tolerance for temperature may be vastly different than yours.
  8. Share the exuberance with your grandparents:  Finally, encourage a dance with a grandparent or for him or her to give a toast.  I’ve witnessed many grandparents happy to be a part of the festivity when invited and some that have admirable stamina than others half their age.  You know your beloved grandparent well.  Include and encourage them when appropriate.  It may just end up being one of their most cherished life moments.