Ask Kate: How do I make my dad actually want to be involved?

May 8, 2013

Kate Thompson has been offering heart-felt advice and sparklingly different wedding inspiration for ten years. She is married with two children, and often features in the national press. With her warm and caring nature and off-beat sense of humour, she'll answer every question with knowledgable insight and understanding to help and inspire or simply restore your peace of mind.


My dad has shown no involvement or interest in our wedding since we announced our engagement in February 2011. I’ve asked him to contact me weekly just to show interest. I’ve reassured him that it’s not about the money and that we are saving as much as we can and don’t need his money. I’ve tried involving him with the invitations, coming down to see the venue. I’ve even given him a list of to-do’s when I asked him to research father of the bride duties; to which his response was I think I’ve seen that movie once. He has had some ridiculous suggestions such as making all guests pay £100 to attend our wedding and referring to the wedding as an event. He has it set that he’ll be doing a speech and walking me down the aisle but with only 4 months to go, I’d much rather he did neither and my uncle has been there more than him and has met my fiancé more than twice. Am I being unreasonable towards my father who I haven’t seen since November 2012 and can I tell him I don’t want him to walk me down the aisle or do a speech?


It’s always frustrating when your family don’t show the same enthusiasm for your wedding. I wonder whether your father has felt a little pressured by your asking for weekly updates. Perhaps this is making him act the way he is? As father of the bride he is probably under the impression that all he needs to do is turn up, walk you up the aisle and make a speech. Perhaps he’d rather just take it all in his stride, or perhaps he’s a little nervous about making a speech and doesn’t want to have to even think about it until he has to. Your asking him to research the Father of the Bride role and giving him a To Do list might have made him raise an eyebrow too. I can’t see him working through your list somehow… It might help to simply let him know there is everything he needs on what is expected right here, including help with his speech.

If you are feeling concerned about his involvement this much then I think you need to have a frank face-to-face discussion with him about this. It might help to explain that you didn’t mean to put any pressure on him, and that if he would prefer you to ask your uncle then that is an option for him to consider. My guess is that he does want to take on the role but he just doesn’t want to be pushed. You could also speak to your uncle and ask him about being a stand-in for your father if need be. I’m sure he’d be thrilled to be asked. You do need to discuss this with your father first though. I don’t think you are being unreasonable and it does sound as though you are hurt by his indifference to your wedding. You can ask him to step down if you feel that is the right thing to do but think it through carefully and try talking to him first or it could cause a bit of a family rift and you don’t want that just before your wedding.  Another option is to ask him to walk you down the aisle but let him know you’d like your uncle to do the speech so they effectively share the role. Try to keep things positive and it will all come together.

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