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Wedding & Family - Dads

Brides and grooms often overlook their fathers during the wedding planning process -- a serious tactical error. Dads represent the single largest untapped resource an engaged couple could hope for: Not only are they intimately familiar with the personalities involved in the big shindig, they will follow instructions to the letter. Contrast this with other family members (we're not naming names) who try to impose their own wishes on the event, and you'll realize the benefits of dealing with a private instead of another general.

Here are some ways for sucking your dad into the wedding planning vortex:
  • WORKING CLASS - Need someone to scout limousine companies for that perfect stretch? Want to know if the hall you're considering is really suitable for a large sit-down dinner? Dads are great at legwork. Give him a checklist and the names and addresses of businesses to review, and then send him on his way.

  • FATHER KNOWS BEST - If you want company when you try on your wedding dress for the umpteenth time, take your father with you. He'll feel honored that you asked him, and you won't feel guilty for dragging your Slave of Honor to the bridal boutique -- again.

  • FATHER FIGURES - If a menial job threatens -- licking 200 envelopes, folding programs, tying bows on centerpieces -- ask Dad to lend a hand. He'll surprise you with his willingness to help, especially if you let him watch ESPN while he works.

  • MAN OF STYLE - Don't underestimate Dad's artistic sensibilities. He may offer the right balance of elegance and practicality when selecting everything from china to your groomsmen's boutonnieres. Just because he can't explain why he likes -- or hates -- something doesn't mean he lacks good taste.

  • THE DADDY DANCE - Brides, you and your dad have a big dance number waiting in the wings. Pre-wedding waltz lessons with Daddy can be a great break from planning -- and from your fiance.

  • THE ORIGINAL SHOULDER - When you're suffering from pre-marriage jitters, your dad might be the perfect confidant. After all, he's been there. Instead of stressing about this "until death do us part" stuff, have a cup of coffee with your father and benefit from his wisdom.

  • SUPERMAN - No matter how much you try to get done before the big day, you'll always be frantic the day before your wedding. Enlist Dad to help with last-minute activities like confirming the number of guests with the caterer, calling your vendors to verify the correct time and place, and tranquilizing your mother.

  • PICTURE OF CALM - On the same note, everyone in your family will freak out on the wedding day -- except your father. Take advantage of Dad's relatively minor wedding role: Have him run 11th-hour errands like receiving the florist delivery and making sure the ring bearer keeps his pants clean.

  • BRIDE'S BOSS - At the reception, ask your father to play wedding coordinator if you haven't hired one. Write up the event sequence beforehand and tell him to keep track of time. You'll be amazed how smoothly the reception flows, and he'll like having a position of responsibility.

  • MAD-ABOUT-YOU DAD - Post-wedding blues affect everyone, including your parents. Give Dad something to keep him occupied: Ask him to care for your house while you're on your honeymoon. Don't be surprised if you return to find your showers re-grouted, your leaky faucet fixed, and your lawn looking greener than ever. It's just Dad's way of telling you he loves you.
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