Fathers at Weddings
Just as weddings have become more modern, so, too, have the families we belong to. With many parents divorced and, often, remarried, when it comes to planning your wedding details, it can be very challenging to figure out how to abide by wedding etiquette. Who sits where at the ceremony and reception? How exactly should the invitation be worded? And most importantly… who will walk the bride down the aisle? What to do with our fathers at weddings?
Let’s consider a common situation…
The bride’s father is not remarried, but the bride’s mother is, and the bride has lived, for the most part, with her mother and stepfather through grade school and high school. She has also maintained close ties with her biological father over the years and has always thought of herself as having two dads instead of one.
Now, according to tradition, only one man escorts the bride down the aisle, the one who is responsible for “giving her away” to her new husband. But we all know that modern weddings aren’t quite that simple since many brides now have divorced parents, some of whom separate amicably and some whom do not. It can be difficult for a bride to decide exactly how to walk down the aisle or with whom she should share the honor, so here are some pointers to help you figure things out if you are faced with this tough decision:
- Invite your biological father to walk you down the aisle if you are on good terms with him and if this tradition feels like the natural choice for you.
- Ask your stepfather if he has been your paternal stand-in and/or your biological father is estranged from you or unavailable.
- Consider walking with both your father and your stepfather if they are both in agreement. Your biological father might walk you halfway down the aisle and turn you over to your stepfather to walk the rest of the way, or they could both walk all the way with you. If your Officiant or Minister plans to ask, “Who gives this woman?” they could both answer, “We do.”
- Walk with your mother or with your grandfather or uncle if there is no father or stepfather to accept this honor.
- Have both of your parents escort you down the aisle. This is traditional in Jewish weddings and is becoming more common in non-Jewish weddings since it allows both of your parents to share the honor.
- Walk down the aisle alone.
- Think about walking down the aisle with your husband-to-be if you don’t want any suggestion of being given away, and if you prefer not to walk alone.
- Children from a previous marriage can walk with you and stand with you at the altar. But try not to let them give you away. After all, you are not leaving them, and your new marriage will not change your relationship to them.
Patti Wallington is the premiere wedding planner in Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Please enjoy reading this blog and the others we have listed. We offer a full slate of wedding services for Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake to both Niagara couples and those who live out of town.