“For better or worse” is the vow often exchanged by couples in their wedding ceremony – met with a wry smile by any siblings sitting in attendance.
Because our siblings, for the most part, have seen us at our very ugliest. They’ve witnessed the toddler tantrums, the teenage angst, the stomps and the strops. But they’ve also watched us grow, learn, find happiness, fall in love.
They’re the people we’re able to be our most vulnerable, goofy selves around, and the ones who share our happiest (and saddest) moments with the fullest hearts.
A wedding might be about two people tying the knot, but it’s also about family, and for many of us, our brothers and sisters will always be our first loves.
So to celebrate that bond, we asked brides to share their favourite sibling photo from their wedding day. The stories behind the images will make you smile, shed a tear, or want to call your sibling, immediately.
“She always knows what to say to make me laugh.”
Natasha Infantino, 33, from Surrey: “I am lucky enough to have my sister as my best friend, growing up we had endless ‘private jokes’ as sisters do. I remember on the day feeling such a huge mix of emotions, especially as our wonderful dad had suddenly passed away earlier that year. Naomi always knows what to say to make me laugh and make me feel at ease. This is one of my favourite photos of the whole day as I love how Amber [photographer Amber Leach] captured such a happy and genuine moment.”
“This was a moment we had dreamed about from childhood.”
Danni Lancaster, 38, from London: “l Iove this image because it captures the true essence of decades long worth of friendship and true sisterhood. This photo was taken shortly after the ceremony and it was our first moment actually taking in the fact that I was now a wife! My sisters were so incredibly happy for me as this was a moment we had dreamed about from childhood.”
“He was one of the first to come and hug me.”
Faye Clayton, 29, from York: “This has been taken in the gardens just after the ceremony with my younger brother Callum. I love this photo because he was one of the first to come and hug me once we got outside, which shows a rare emotional side in him.”
“He has always been there, without question.”
Emily Iles, 38, from Tonbridge: “My older brother, Will, gave me away as my dad passed over four years ago. Will has been a father figure to me for a long time and whenever Dad couldn’t play his role fully (due to a severe stoke 20 years before his passing) Will has always been there, without question. The smile on his face brings me such joy to see, as I can see he is as proud to walk me down the aisle as I am to have him do it.
“The involvement of our immediate family was vital and while the day is about the bride and groom, to us it is also and especially about our families. Our brothers mean a great deal to us and have enriched our lives in so many different ways – they have guided, advised, supported and shown us both so much love, it was the obvious choice to have them be a part of our incredibly special day.”
“My sisters were looking at both of us in awe.”
Fikayo Fakolade, 30, from Manchester: “My husband and I were having a moment and I love the blue sky above us and how my sisters were looking at both of us in awe. It Exudes love all around.”
“It shows how close we are – arm to arm.”
Mandy Wong Oultram, 39, from Staffordshire: “I’ve always been very close to my sister so it was an easy decision to make to have her walk alongside me down the aisle as my dad was no longer with us. I love this picture because it shows how close we are - arm to arm and I think my nerves are radiated in her expression!”
“A life without her is unimaginable.”
Peggy Goulding, 34, from Leicester: “My relationship with my sister is so unique, she means so much to me. It’s hard to put it into words; so when I look at the image, it captures the essence of this relationship. Yes, we love each other unconditionally but it’s more than that, she’s a part of me, she’s my anchor, my strength, she has my back and I have hers. A life without her is unimaginable; the picture is everything to me.”
“You can see in our faces how excited we were.”
Nimishi Ilango-Lyon, 26: “We took our family photos before the wedding at the church, and I think you can see in our faces how excited we were to get started! Our bouquets by Wonderland Blooms were just gorgeous. My siblings mean the world to me and it is so special to have this photo of the three of us together. ”
“There is always someone who has your back.”
Ashleigh Gunga-Wilks, 28, from Kent: “This really captures the feeling of what family is to me. There is always someone who has your back and supports you, someone to hold your hand, and someone to make you smile. This picture really brings that to life. My sisters and my mum are the most incredible women, and I am so lucky to have them in my life.”
“He did a great ‘father of the bride’ speech.”
Charlie Bond, 32, from Kent: “My dad passed away when I was young, so I decided to have my younger brother Jon give me away. We’ve always been really close and it was lovely to have him involved in the day in that way. Plus, he did a great ‘father of the bride’ speech, bringing up all the awful things I did to him as a child. I’d forgotten about them, but clearly he hadn’t!”
“She was my first friend.”
Ruth Barrett, 34, from Newcastle Upon Tyne: “I love this photo of my sister Ellen and I hugging moments before my husband Jordan and I got married on 6th March 2020. Little did we know that this would be the last time we would see each other for months due to lockdown. We’re yet to share another gorgeous hug like this and I can’t wait. Ellen supported me when I moved across the country to start my life over after my decade-long relationship broke down in 2017. She’s one of the kindest people I know. She was my first friend.”
“Now let’s party!”
Rose Adaje, 30, from London: “In my mind I was thinking ‘hard part over. Now let’s party!’”
“I loved seeing him dressed up in a suit!”
Amber Leach, 34, from Cornwall: “I love this photo because I hadn’t seen my brother Rod for so long, and he came to celebrate the entire wedding weekend with us in Cornwall and it was lovely! My brother usually wears black, so I loved seeing him dressed up in a suit! He looked so handsome and happy. It was the best weekend!!”
“I couldn’t wait to thank her.”
Carly Knight, 30, from Newcastle: “My sister had just finished the most beautiful speech and I couldn’t wait to thank her and give her a massive hug (also prevent any embarrassing tales from our childhood!) I love how it captures our relationship perfectly in a single shot.”
“A perfect snapshot of how weird we are together.”
Gemma Flinders, 29, from Cambridgeshire: “We decided to have a tiny wedding in Brighton, it is where my husband and I got engaged and instead of expecting everyone to travel to a Brighton ceremony we had an intimate wedding and a family meal, with the reception the next day in our hometown. Because it was such a small wedding I had organised an executive taxi to take me, my mum and my sisters to the wedding venue, I did this weeks in advance.
“My sisters and I were waiting around, and the taxi never showed up. We are all a bit odd so it seemed appropriate that we would all pretend we were going to be stuck there forever, and at this point I was still at ‘inconvenienced’ and had not yet reached ‘livid’. I love it because it is a perfect snapshot of how weird we are together and even though my older younger sister has moved to Poland, my youngest sister is 17 and has her own life, and I live in the south, we are all still like this with each other.”
“We couldn’t help but have a little dance.”
Francesca Jones, 34, from Lincolnshire: “I had my sisters as my bridesmaids, my eldest was pregnant. It’s one of my favourite photos together because we’d actually just finished having ‘posed’ photos and we were making our way back to the patio where we had hired a Gospel Choir. We couldn’t help but have a little dance on our way down there.”
“I didn’t get to spend much time watching him grow up to be an adult.”
Farah Radford, 32, from Brighton: “This photo is from my wedding reception in Dhaka, Bangladesh where my family could join. Their UK visa got refused before our actual wedding that was in the UK so they couldn’t join the main event but gave us their blessings. The year after we went to Bangladesh and had a reception there. This picture with my younger brother Rahat is very special to me as I didn’t get to spend much time watching him grow up to be an adult. I left Bangladesh for the UK when he was just 12.”
“Happiness in dark times.”
Katy Allan, 35, from Sheffield: “This was taken at my sister Emma’s wedding, with my other sister Becky. The wedding was rearranged from May to October and my sister had to dramatically reduce her wedding plans due to Covid. I love this photo as you can still see our smiles even under the masks and it shows there could still be happiness in the dark times of last year. This took place on the Friday 9th October and Sheffield went back into full lockdown on the Monday! I was also just 10 weeks pregnant in this photo and only my sisters knew so it was extra special.”
“It felt like my new life really had begun.”
Chloe Haywood, 46, from Somerset: “This is from my wedding day to Stevie in 2006. I’m the youngest of three daughters, Melissa is on the left and Suki is the eldest on the right of the photo. This was probably the happiest occasion we’d had since our Father sadly died, so it felt really special. Suki (in the Jade dress) did a speech on behalf of our father which was almost overwhelming for us all, but incredibly moving. I’ll never forget it. Family has always been important to me, and when Dad got ill, it felt like home was quite a different place for me. However, when I walked down the aisle of Ealing Abbey (where we lived at the time), with my dear Godfather, it felt like my new life really had begun with Stevie.”