7 Tips For Planning Your Father-Daughter Dance Without Your Dad

7 Tips For Planning Your Father-Daughter Dance Without Your Dad

Weddings are all about family and community. From close friends to your dearest family members, it’s a celebration of the people who love us. When Father’s Day rolls around, it’s often a happy occasion for many people.

I love seeing all the throwback photos of dads, their kids and #mostawesomedad hashtags on social media. There are also brunch pics with dad at your favorite restaurant. I love seeing these pics because it means there are people out there who have amazing relationships with their dads.

Not Everyone Has Cool Dad Pics To Post On Instagram

There are also those who don’t have dads, and this gets most difficult when wedding planning. Who will walk me down the aisle? Who will I dance with during the father/daughter dance? Maybe your dad died or maybe he has never been in your life. Maybe you’ve always wished for that awesome dad pic to post on Instagram, but you’ve never had one.

Until recently, I haven’t had cool dad pics to post for Father’s Day either. My dad by birth has never been there for me and our relationship has never been close. At my wedding, I looked out into the crowd and saw the faces of my god father and my adopted dad. They’re the ones I danced with and the ones who’ve had my back for many years. Instead of feeling sad about my birth dad not being there, I used the opportunity to dance with two amazing fathers.

[bctt tweet=”Planning your father-daughter wedding dance without your dad? You deserve to enjoy it! “]

7 Essential Tips For Rocking Your Father-Daughter Dance Without Your Dad

While you may not have your father at your wedding, you do have the love and support of people who love you. Here’s how to rock your father/daughter dance even when dad’s not there.

1. Choose how you want this part of the reception to go:

First, decide if you even want to include a father/daughter dance in your wedding ceremony. While it may be expected, it’s not mandatory. What’s more important is your happiness, so nix it if it doesn’t feel right.

2. Ask the “father(s)” in your life to dance with you:

I have three dads, and two were at my wedding. I have my adopted dad (meaning, as an adult I adopted him), my god father (also my own choice) and my biological father. My biological father was not at my wedding, but I still had the father-daughter dance with my other dads.

How To Enjoy Your Father Daughter Dance Without Your Dad

Photo credit: Amici Wedding Photography

3. Create a unique father/daughter experience:

Feel free to switch up tradition and change things to suit your needs. I had two father-daughter dances. Why? Why not? Both of these men have supported me and are such a great example of the kind of father I always wanted, so I wanted to show love for both of them.

4. Share your feelings with your partner:

There are so many emotions that come up during wedding planning, especially around family. Although your soon-to-be-spouse might already know your family concerns at this point, it helps to take the time to talk about the specific events of your wedding and how your family will or will not be involved. It will really help you find support during those difficult feelings.

5. Get creative and brainstorm with your partner:

You don’t have to go at it alone. After sharing your feelings with your partner, take the time to brainstorm creative ways you can still have these important events like the father-daughter dance, but on your own terms.

[bctt tweet=”Wedding planning w/o your dad is hard, but it’s an opportunity to find creative ways to enjoy your special day!”]

6. Ask the important men in your life to dance with you:

I was lucky to have a few options for dads, but I know this isn’t the reality for everyone. If you want to enjoy this dance but your father won’t be there, take some time to think about who you would ask to enjoy this time with you. Your favorite uncle? Your step dad? Your brother? Your auntie?

7. Tell your wedding vendors what’s happening:

It’s important to share your father story with your wedding vendors, especially your wedding planner. It’s helpful for them to know that talking about your father might be difficult for you, but it also helps to fill them in so they can help you creatively plan this part of your wedding.

8. Dance with your family and friends and play a song your dad would have loved:

There’s nothing like gathering your community around you and having them celebrate your dad with you.


Wedding planning can be challenging, and it gets even more difficult around Father’s Day, especially for those whose fathers will not be attending their wedding. On the other side of this challenge is an amazing opportunity to redefine traditional wedding moments like the father-daughter dance, and think about how you want to plan the event.

Are you planning a wedding without your dad? If so, how’s it going? We’d love to know. Share your stories in the comments!

Photo credits:  Conrad Lim Photography