The value of a dad on the big day

He has written all the checks, said “yes,” has agreed to his daughter’s requests having no understanding of the reasons why these requests are necessary and has heard the countless discussions of this topic called “the wedding” for what seems like an eternity. Suddenly the day is upon him and all the discussion, spent money and infinite decisions do not seem quite as significant as this realization: his daughter is about to join her life with another whom she is madly in love with.
Father of the Bride is one of my most special and favorite people on a wedding day. While dads are often not included in a lot of the planning process, usually by choice, they contribute to some of the most memorable and heartfelt moments of the day. I can not help but let my tears fall. I remember seeing my dad for the first time on my wedding day.
I came down the spiral staircase with my train flowing behind me remembering how I dreamed of this day my whole life. I could see the tears glistening in his eyes as I walked towards him. (Tears of dread, hope, regret?) For me in that moment I was his little girl again only focused on her daddy. I knew
this was a memory I would remember for the rest of my life. How wonderful and comforting for a daughter to know that on this most important and cherished day of her life, her father will walk right beside her. His physical presence permeates the exchange at the foot of the altar when he places his daughter’s hand into her future husband’s hand. A joyous reward to a job well done in raising this little girl into a loving and nurturing woman.
The moment arrives to walk down the aisle. Bride and Dad are whispering softly as Dad gives her one last word of love and encouragement. The music begins, the doors open, they walk forward as I fluff her dress and whisper just to the bride, “hold on tight to your daddy and remember this moment for the rest of your life…” Brides will come to realize in the future that this walk is not only her Father giving her his blessing to join her life with this man waiting for her, but that walk down the aisle holding tightly to her Daddy’s arm will actually give her wings to fly and will carry her for the rest of her life.
In the absences of a physical presence I have found that a daddy’s love knows no bounds. At one particular wedding we had planned significant touches to make sure her father was very much present and a part of this day. From the selection of the venue, their family’s 700 acre hunting farm that was so dear to her father, to the sunflowers that grew all over the property, where his ashes had been scattered, his companionship with the bride was felt. One special selection had an impact we could not have foreseen. We surprised our bride with a butterfly release as the couple said their vows to signify yet again the presence of her father.
As they scattered about, one flew right to the cross erected and decorated with sunflowers to signify the altar, another flew directly to the empty chair reserved for her daddy, and a third landed on the brides’ dress as if to give her a kiss of well wishes and love. Miracle after miracle was witnessed
on this day and this Father of the Bride was not about to miss out on his daughter’s wedding day and he made that perfectly clear to all.
As the day progresses, pictures are taken, cake is served and blessings are given, but dad has one more moment to experience on his daughter’s wedding day. That would be the moment he dances with this beautiful woman dressed in a wedding gown he still envisions as his little girl. I have witnessed countless father/daughter dances and they never seem to disappoint my emotional attachment to this long awaited tradition. True emotion comes through during this dance as this is the very last moment it will only be daddy and daughter as he holds his daughter tight around her waist as if to capture one last memory with the little girl he still sees in her. My father never held me tighter, never stopped saying I love you and his tears never stopped falling. That was our moment.
Not only is Father of the Bride a source of strength and support to his daughter, but a key component of his wife’s experience as well. A special memory from a recent wedding I planned proved itself to be one such role as “support.” In a rare moment of solitude, a father and mother of the bride waited in the chapel, left to their own space and time together to inhale the reality of the day. This loving husband quickly stepped into his role, recognizing some anxiety and nervousness in his wife. A desire to help her led him to his phone where he began playing some of their favorite music and extended his hand for hers and together, alone in that chapel and dressed for their daughter’s wedding, the two danced in the aisle. As a wedding planner for many years, I have learned to become invisible in the background and am able to make my presence unknown to those who are in a special moment at the time. I quickly removed myself from this sweet scene with my heart soaring with emotion and feeling completely blessed at what I had just been a witness to. Together this couple experienced a surreal moment they will speak of years into the future while looking back at the life they have created. True love does exist and is kept alive and well with moments such as this.
My heartstrings are definitely pulled tight at the sight of the Father of the Bride on a wedding day, more than likely because my own father was such a special memory to me and he now rests in heaven watching me from above. I can still feel his powerful presence as he walked me down the aisle. I can still feel his strong hands around my waist holding me tight as we danced to “Daddy’s Little Girl” and I can still hear him whisper “I love you so much” as we said good-bye at the end of the night. Those moments my brides experience on their wedding days with both Mom and Dad do not remain in the distance. They will come to discover these memories shape their future, knowing that this is what matters most in life and to cherish every single one of
them, lock them away tight and look back and cherish them again and again as often as the heart finds the need. I have the privilege and honor to witness this day after day; event after event. I do appreciate that I have a happy job!
Anita Casano Kanellis is considered top in her field with over 14 years of wedding planning, choreographing and executing experience.
Creating both large and small productions and wedding events here in the Southeast as well as Los Angeles, Malibu, Las Vegas and San Francisco. Brides are drawn to her California Casual style, nurturing personality and ability to surpass her clients’ expectations.
Anita is winner of the 2011 EPIC Award, member of the professional organizations Alabama Wedding and Events Professionals and Association of Bridal Consultants. Her work has been featured in: Alabama Weddings Magazine, Elegant Bride Magazine, Perfect Wedding Guide, Southern Bride Magazine and ShelbyCo Magazine.

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