Outdoor Wedding Blog

Outdoor Wedding Blog: Ideas, news, tips and resources for brides and grooms planning outdoor weddings, from Kim Knox Beckius, author of "The Everything Outdoor Wedding Book." Visit Kim's Outdoor Wedding Web Site: outdoorweddingguide.com

Monday, April 28, 2008

Advice for First Daddy George W. Bush
(or the Father of Any Outdoor Bride)

Jenna Bush will wed Henry Hager at an outdoor celebration at her parents' ranch home in Crawford, Texas, on Saturday, May 10 (Vogue has details). President and father of the bride George W. Bush, who has joked, according to CNN, that the wedding planning process has required him to make "some very difficult spending decisions" and "to conduct sensitive diplomacy," may just find surrendering his daughter's hand a test of his emotional fortitude.

The role of father of the bride is underestimated in its importance. Although dads may not get involved in all of the little details leading up to the wedding (aside from caving in on most of the difficult spending decisions), they play a critical role in maintaining calm in the hectic days leading up to the event and in ensuring their daughter's wedding is a memorable day filled with special moments. Here are some tips, not only for the First Father but for any father of the bride whose daughter intends to marry outside:

  1. Resist the temptation to check the weather forecast constantly in the week leading up to the wedding, and whatever you do, don't broach the subject of weather with your daughter.
  2. Block out a time to go over final financial details with your daughter about a week before the wedding. Know which vendors need to be paid and/or tipped on the day of the wedding, and place the required checks or cash payments in labeled envelopes so that you can easily and discreetly take care of business during the course of the wedding. Better yet, get a staffer to handle that.
  3. Get a manicure. Really. No, you won't wear nail polish: You'll just have your cuticles trimmed, nails shaped and perhaps nicely buffed, and hands moisturized and massaged.
  4. Try on your complete wedding ensemble, including shoes, at least a few days before the big event.
  5. If it rains, or if anything else goes amiss, calmly reassure your daughter (and your wife, too) that it is still going to be an unforgettable day.
  6. Arrange to spend five or ten minutes alone with your daughter before the two of you are scheduled to start down the aisle. What will you say? Reminisce about a sweet moment from her childhood. Share a story from your own wedding day. Tell her she's marrying a fine man who you're delighted to welcome into your family. Mention that she looks amazing. Above all else: Tell her you love her.
  7. Carry tissues in your pocket… you may be surprised by who needs them most.
  8. Walk slowly down the aisle. Savor every moment. Smile. And when the time comes to give your daughter's hand to her fiancé, hesitate… for just a moment.
  9. If you've been asked to give a toast or speech at the wedding, prepare it in advance, and keep a written copy with you, even if you hope to recite it from memory. Keep it brief, and don't expect applause until the end. Even if you are a polished and experienced public speaker, use a microphone if it is available. Voices often do not carry well in outdoor spaces, and you'll want everyone in attendance to be able to hear your thoughts so you're not misquoted.
  10. If guests at the wedding want to have their picture taken with you, do not charge them $10,000.
  11. Don’t assume your dancing duties are over once you've taken the floor for your obligatory dance with the bride. Dance with your wife and your mother. Be sure to dance with the bride's twin sister. And before the night is over, ask your newlywed daughter to take your hand on the dance floor one more time—even if it means cutting in on the groom or shaking it "like a Polaroid picture" once the music gets pumping.
  12. Do not attempt to sing.
  13. At the end of the night, when you are alone with your wife, present her with a special gift and a heartfelt note thanking her for raising a wonderful daughter, for standing beside you all of these years, or for being every bit as beautiful as she was on your wedding day. A hint for Mr. President: This is an especially important gesture when the day after the wedding is Mother's Day.
  14. Do not call your daughter while she's on her honeymoon—even if Ellen DeGeneres encourages you to. And don't pressure her to call you. Yes, you may worry, but trust that she is fine and give her uninterrupted time to relish the start of her married life. Don't be surprised, however, if she calls you.

Have advice of your own for the Father in Chief or other fathers of the bride? Add a comment and share it here.

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