I have often been asked the question on how to handle the bride’s wish to have her stepfather walk her down the aisle rather than her father. For many of you, your stepfather has played a bigger part in your life than that of your father’s.
Many a bride is faced with this dilemma.
This moment is pretty important too as all eyes are on the bride as you walk down the aisle towards your future spouse.
In a traditional wedding the giving away of the bride is a real and important part of the ceremony. It transfers her primary family ties from her family to the family of her new husband. Years ago there wasn’t a choice in who walked you down the aisle but today, thankfully, there is the acceptance that a bride has a bigger say in what she wants on her day.
The symbolism for this tradition is the same whether it is your father or stepfather who is giving you away.
The important thing is that you do what is right for you on your day. You can do this by speaking to your parents and telling them that you have given a lot of thought to this issue and tell them what you have decided. For example, you may decide that you would like your father to walk you halfway down the aisle where he will hand you over to your stepfather who will escort you to your groom.
This would symbolise the early part your father played in your life and would acknowledge that he is your biological father. Your stepfather would represent the next part of your life – the man who has guided and protected you until the point where he gives you to your husband who represents your future.
Once your father has given your hand to your stepfather he can still walk alongside or have a seat but it is your stepfather who replies “I Do” to “who gives this woman to this man”.
By choosing this way to walk down the aisle you aren’t leaving anyone out and no one should be hurt. You have honoured each man for the part they have played in your life and you are handed to the man who will be your future.
If you get any objections to this plan then you can end the conversation with your second option which is that you will walk down the aisle on your own. It is more than likely they will concede to your first option.
Family dynamics are tricky but you have to do what feels right.
There are also a number of other options, other than your father, for walking you down the aisle:
At the end of the day, anything goes. You can walk down the aisle alone, or accompanied by any relevant member of the family, even a friend. As long as you feel supported and confident.
Getting everything out in the open and stating your intentions for your day as early as possible will minimize any conflict, resentment or disappointment later on.
Have any of you faced this decision? What did you decide to do?
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