Who should walk me down the aisle?

Walking Down the Aisle
Yep, you can totally walk down the aisle by yourself. Tribe member CindyKates shows you how it's done.
I'm faced with the dilemma of who will walk me down the aisle. My father and I are long estranged and he will not be invited to my wedding, and my grandfather passed away years ago. Who is a reasonable alternative in place of the "father of the bride" to walk the bride down the aisle? Is it totally taboo and crazy to make that important walk alone?

I plan to have a fairly unconventional non-religious wedding, but there are some customs (like having someone "give away" the bride) that I feel are hard to let go of.

-Jessica

We've addressed how to tell your dad someone else is walking you down the aisle before (lots of great comments on that post!), but never really touched on the options for who else could walk with you.

Here are just a few of the people who have walked offbeat brides down the aisle, with amazing photos to show you how it's done.


Tip: to see more information about a given photo, just click it!

Bride's mother

Mom Walking the Bride Down the Aisle

We also have this post about a bride with lesbian mothers trying to figure out how they can both walk her down the aisle.

Bride's children

We've featured numerous weddings where brides were given away by their sons and daughters. Repeat after me: Awwwww.

Here comes the bride

My Escort

Here comes the bride with her son

Bride's siblings

Sometimes this is a a brother, sometimes a sister, and sometimes multiple siblings with one on either side. Here's a great shot of a bride being "given away" by her brother:
"Giving Away"

Bride's grandfather

We featured one bride who had her grandfather AND father walk her down the aisle:

Walking down the aisle

Both the bride's parents

This is customary in many Jewish weddings, but is something I'm seeing more often in non-Jewish weddings too.

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Walking down the aisle with Mom and Dad

Walking down the aisle together

Personally, my favorite solution is walking down the aisle with the groom. For me, Andreas and I walking down the aisle together was a way of showing that we were already in this together. I've heard rumors of it being a custom in both Irish and Thai weddings, as well.

Walking down the non-aisle together

"aisle" 3

Walk alone

We've also featured brides who chose to walk down the aisle unaccompanied.

Walking down the aisle w/Dad in spirit

The moral of the story here? Basically, we've seen it all. You can walk down the aisle alone, with one other person of your choice (family member or friend), or flanked by two other people (parents! siblings! children!). As with all things wedding, this is totally up to you. The goal here is that you feel supported and confident.

I'd love to hear from those of you who went for a non-dad aisle-walking option: who walked you, or did you walk alone?

  1. David and I rounded up our friends and family (as we did the eating first, cause I paid for it so I was going to eat!) and we lead everyone to the site of the ceremony.

    My father never asked about it. My mother was more concerned about it than he was. She said "Don't you want your dad walking you down the aisle?" to which I replied there wouldn't be an aisle and my dad replied he didn't care :) He was also relieved when I said we wouldn't do a daddy/daughter dance (or any dancing).

    Of course, the casualness and the informality of the whole thing was what we were going for. I'm a huge fan of Ariel's suggestion of walking with your groom for the same reasons she said.

    7 agree
    • Hi, I'm a new fan- and I was wondering if you could give me some advice for my wedding – my fiance and I want to find a way to include a small memorial into our ceremony- such as a candle lighting- for both of our grandparents that can't be here in body for our special day- I was wondering if you may have some other ideas? Thank you!

      1 agrees
      • I had an outdoor wedding with folding chairs for my guests. All of my husband's grandparents had passed as well as two of mine. I had a flower with a tag that had the name of each person we wanted to honor. the front row on both sides was reserved for those that we wanted to remember and a flower with a name tag was put on each chair. Afterward we gave the flowers to our parents. His parents got his grandparent's flowers and my my mother got the flower with her mother's name and my step mother got the flower with her father's name. On the back of each tag I had printed "Though you cannot be here in body, we know you are with us in spirit"

        12 agree
      • Regarding a memorial, here is what i am doing for my father who passed away a few years ago. i am having a tiny photo frame with a picture of my father and I when i was about 4 tied to my bouquet stem. it won't be obvious or sad, but, it will be with me. and i'll be sure it gets a few close up photos. my fiance's father (quite elderly) passed away earlier this year, he plans to wear his dad's watch. we will have both our parents' wedding photos on display beside our guest book as well.

        and i think i'll have my mother walk me down.

        5 agree
      • Both my parents passed before my wedding. I had a bench that my Dad had build sitting at the front of the congregation. My sister made a quilt square from shirts of my parents which she placed on the bench. My parents oldest siblings, an uncle and aunt, processed together and places carnations on the bench and quilt square. (It was suppose to be roses but they didn't get ordered. We swiped some carnations from the centerpieces. :))
        I recommend displaying something that is important about them. Something they made or represents a hobby. Make a note in your program regarding who the memorial is for. Our memorial was dedicated to all 4 sets of grandparents adn my parents.
        Personally, Im not a fan of displaying a picture cause the pictures around, I think, should focus on the bride and groom.
        *Oh yea, there was a light rain all during our ceremony on a covered bridge…we called it Tears from Heaven.
        Enjoy your day and cherish those not with you.

        4 agree
      • I framed photos of my family members that had passed and placed them on our cake table. Also, a friend of mine place his deceased grandfathers favorite sports coat on a front row chair during the ceremony to honor him and show that while he may be gone from this world, he was still present in our thoughts and on their wedding day. Hope that helps some!

        0 agree
    • I want to do a similar thing–just leading everyone to the place, no aisle–so I'm glad to hear this isn't such an odd idea! We won't be eating first, so maybe we'll have to set up a pre-ceremony mimosa station to keep people milling around before it's sitting down time!

      0 agree
  2. I was trying to choose between walking alone or walking with my husband, but in the end I had my stepfather walk me. My own father and I are also long estranged, but my stepfather has been more of a father to me.

    Today I am glad I did, because he passed away one year later and now I have that memory and photo to keep.

    I would say, whoever you feel closest to, even if it is more than one person.

    4 agree
  3. My husband and I walked in together… and loved it. Extra bonus: you get a beautiful tiny moment alone. Everyone is inside/seated, the wedding party has gone in, and everything just stops for a second. The best!

    17 agree
  4. My friend and her husband walked in together, based on an older custom of the bride and groom greeting guests at the door, and it was lovely. The pictures of them both together coming in are fantastic.

    If you want that passing on feeling, why not pick someone who has been important to you, even non-family? A mentor, a best friend, a friend of the family, anyone who had an impact and you would appreciate their support.

    5 agree
  5. I am getting married in September, and will be walking down the aisle with my mother. My father and I are also long estranged, and he will not be invited either for personal reasons. I thought long and hard about asking a male figure to do it, but I felt none of them would have been comfortable with it, and I don't have a brother. In the end, I realized that all of my important family figures growing up were all females: my mom, grandma, aunts, sister, and best friends. SO, I finally decided that it's most appropriate for my mother to "give me away". Though, I totally agree with walking with your groom/significant other. I originally wanted to do things that way, but my mother in law is very very traditional, and freaked out enough when I informed her that not only was my 'father' not walking me down the aisle, but that he would not be invited either. (and she even knows why he isn't welcome, and she still thinks its appalling! Sigh)

    4 agree
  6. My father passed away (but we were also estranged) so I struggled with this, too. I didn't have any other male figures that fit the bill. I considered walking with my mother, as she was truly the most important part of my life, but when it came down to it, I couldn't resolve the "property" feel of being given away.

    So I chose to enter the ceremony room and walk halfway down the aisle alone. My groom met me halfway, took my arm and we finished the journey to the altar together. It couldn't have been more perfect.

    42 agree
    • I find the whole idea that a bride should be handed or passed off really disturbing. It is really a too-long lasting symbol of the patriarchal system marriage has been a tool of for hundreds of years. Praise be in the modern era a bride doesn't neccesarily go from being the property of her father to the property of her husband, denied of the rights, even in enlightened societies, prescribed for humans. My father won't be walking me down the aisle because he didn't walk me every step of the way to this point in my life. I love and respect my father, but it was the decision of me and my partner tie the knot, it will never be a business arrangement between the two of them.

      25 agree
      • disturbing? I think you mean, "it didn't feel right for me."

        12 agree
        • Just because she, personally, finds it disturbing doesn't mean that she looks down on people who choose to do it. I also find it disturbing, but I also realise that other women don't find it disturbing and either feel right about it or do not… Just because it didn't feel right for me, or others, doesn't mean disturbing. I think she conveyed how she personally felt well without putting others down quite well. There were a lot of things that didn't feel right for me (like wearing white) that I wasn't disturbed by, and some traditions that disturbed me personally on an ethical/moral level, but I'm fine with other people doing because that's their belief.

          It's much like people saying they find certain religions disturbing, but they're also fine with people who do believe in it.

          18 agree
        • You can't tell her what she meant to say. A dad is not the control of a daughter!!

          11 agree
        • Oh no, I feel disturbed as well. I personally have been told by my mother that I am "the sole property of your father until the day you walk down the aisle!" She was screaming at me. So I moved out, they are invited only as guests, and I am walking myself. I am not property.

          15 agree
      • I totally agree. I am getting married for the second time in December. I am having my sons escort me down the aisle (aka my backyard ) with my daughter ahead of us as bridesmaid. My Dad asked about giving me away and I politely told him no. Firstly I am not a commodity to be handed over to the highest bidder with the best dowry ( two goats and dozen chickens), I belong to nobody but myself and therefore should not be given to anyone. Secondly, its my second wedding, i have 3 nearly grown children, it seems ridiculous. My father understood and smiled saying, my special daughter who never compromises. Wish I had the confidence to say so the first time around. :)

        0 agree
      • See I don't seeb that now it is like that, the person giving you away is more giving you there blessing, I know you don't need it, but if my mum did not like my fiancee I would be really upset, my mum is the most important person in my whole life, had always been there for me through everything. She will be walking me down the aisle as support.

        0 agree
  7. My husband met me half way down the aisle- it felt right.

    10 agree
    • I really like this. We had a really small ceremoney though, the "walk" was only 6 steps, so it wouldn't have worked for us. We walked in together :)

      6 agree
  8. The advice in this post is spot-on. I am trying to decide what to do for my wedding, and it is giving me fits! I've been married before, and my dad gave me away then, and it was great, but my parents have NOT supported my current relationship AT ALL. I was totally estranged from them both for quite some time due to that, so it feels disingenuous to go the traditional route. I think I will wind up "going it alone…" and am a little sad about that, but cannot think of anyone I'd like to do that particular job. Thanks for helping me explore all the options!

    1 agrees
  9. It's Swedish tradition to walk down the aisle together. Our crown princess bucked tradition by walking with her father when she married last year.

    8 agree
    • I'm of Swedish heritage, and have been telling my fiance's family that it's traditional for Swede's to walk down the aisle with their partners!

      I may not be doing this, but I definitely am keeping it in mind!

      1 agrees
    • it is also a Romanian tradition to walk together to the altar (as we do not really have aisles in churches – just people gathering around you).

      2 agree
  10. you look up "daddys girl" and youd see my face! that said, my rents both raised a pretty upity feminist :-P and both parents were definitely fine with my decision

    I walked down the isle with my fiance :-) Reasons: 1-i wanted people to gawk at him for he looked pretty spiffy in his own right 2-i didn't want an "all eyes on me" situation and 3 (most importantly) we're doing this thang together why not enter it together!

    11 agree
  11. When I got married a month ago I made sure that everything was the way we wanted it to be, and that included who was walking me down the aisle. My dad is still around and still happily married to my mom (43 years and counting) so it was more important to me to have him walk with my mom. For my escort I chose my oldest nephew (and god-baby) to walk me down the aisle. He's almost 12 years old and I wanted to give him a bigger, more important job than ringbearer. This kid cracks me up so it was perfect to have him by my side before everything started. He took his job very seriously. It was one of my favorite moments. :)

    5 agree
  12. I walked in with my husband.
    I'm a free black woman and no one's property to be given away or bartered. And I freely chose to come to the altar with my best friend, his equal and as his partner.
    However if you want to be presented to your beloved, think deep about it and what it represents to you and who you want with you.
    Another alternative, skip the walking the processing altogether.

    31 agree
    • To piggy-back off this comment, I can totally see the groom and his entourage and the bride and her entourage walking in from each side of the altar and meeting in the center for the ceremony. It seems poetic to me.

      17 agree
      • I'm getting married next Saturday and my fiance and I will be walking to our alter from opposite directions (no wedding party). We love the symbolism of meeting in the middle, and neither of us are very comfortable with being stared at, so him standing alone waiting and me walking alone was out. Feels perfect for us.

        9 agree
      • My synagogue has a double aisle and I HATE asymmetry, so this is essentially what we did. As was noted above, it's actually the Jewish custom for each partner to be walked in by both parents, but the aisles were also narrow and I didn't think we'd fit three abreast.

        The chuppah holders (our *mutual* representatives even if they were all male) went down the aisle first. Then my girls went down one aisle while his boys went down the other simultaneously. Then our parents and finally, us.

        Looking over the heads of our guests and seeing him looking back at me as we walked down to meet each other at the front … was awesome. We were both grinning. AND it made for a really cool photo spread in our wedding album :-P

        6 agree
  13. I was adamant that I was walking myself down the aisle – it's the one vision I've had for my wedding since I was a little girl. One of my friends later said I was awesome for owning the aisle as my "catwalk." The perfect choice for me.

    My husband, however, *did* want to be escorted down the aisle. He walked arm in arm with his brother and sister. It was very sweet and something I haven't seen before!

    9 agree
  14. I didn't really want to be "given away" but we also wanted to honor our parents (and one surviving grandparent). So we had nearly everyone walk down the aisle in the offcial processional. My (married) parents went in together, my partner's (widowed) grandmother was escorted my her son, and his (widowed) mom was escorted by a close family friend. Then the four members of the wedding party, and then my husband and I together. It was great to make that walk arm-in-arm, and yet be able to honor and draw attention to all of those who raised us. We found it meaningful and egalitarian.

    When I walked in, I was feeling so many emotions that I felt shaky. I was so glad to have an arm to hang on to! Consider walking in with someone special to you, whoever that may be, because you'll likely be grateful for their support. But it's totally not at all taboo to go alone if that's what feels best for you.

    1 agrees
    • yeah that was my one hangup about me and my soon-to-be hubby walking in ourselves. i still wanted to honor the parents! so during the ceremony after the vows and all, we gave flowers to our rents :-)

      1 agrees
  15. My Mom walked my sister down the aisle and everyone cried–it was wonderful. My stepdad walked me half way and we met my groom there, and he and I walked the rest of the way together while my Mom joined Stepdad. No words were spoken about "giving away"…I wanted someone to lean on because I was so nervous, so I think of it as a question of who you want for moral support!

    1 agrees
  16. We walked down the aisle together. I wasn't estranged from my father at the time, though I wasn't quite comfortable with going with the tradition of being "given away" by him; then our officiant, in one of our planning meetings, made a comment about how she assumed, from other things we'd said and who we seemed to be, that we'd probably be walking down the aisle together. I hadn't thought of that as an option, but it immediately felt right.

    2 agree
  17. am I the only one who doesn't want to walk down an aisle at all? I've actually picked an outdoor spot in November just so I don't have to walk down an aisle. LOL. It also helps to prevent my father from getting upset about it.

    7 agree
    • Nope. We didn't have an aisle at all. We just picked a ceremony spot at the spur of the moment and everyone followed us to it :)

      1 agrees
  18. love this advice!
    I wanted both of my parents but my mother refused because it wasn't traditional. I nearly dropped dead when the minister asked "who gives this woman…" because I am not property to be given to anyone, but my father's reply was "her mother and I" so he included her and that was nice.
    If you approach it as who will escort you down the aisle, it's easier for people to go along with something non-traditional, because in my experience, there are many who would not feel comfortable "giving the bride away".
    With my son's wedding in November, he and his soon-to-be-wife will enter together, which gives me a happy feeling!

    1 agrees
  19. Because my husband is Jewish, both of our parents walked us BOTH down — hubby first, then me. If I had my druthers, it would have been my mom.

    1 agrees
    • Same here. My fiance's family is Jewish, so when we get married in July he'll be walking down with both of his parents first, and then I'll be walking down with both of my parents. And since both sets of parents are also standing up front with us for the entire ceremony, it's less about "giving away" their children and more about merging two families together, which I love. :)

      1 agrees
      • The reasoning behind the parents walking the bride and groom in at a wedding has nothing to do with "giving someone away" rather – the bride and groom are like a queen and king on their wedding day and we all know that kings and queens need an entourage. It's about honor to the bride and groom.
        What you also often see at Jewish wedding is most of the family walking in – first the grooms siblings and grandparents and then groom and his parents and then bride's siblings and grandparents and bride's maids and flower girl and last bride with her parents.
        Further, it is sometimes done for the groom to leave the chuppah to greet the bride and escort her the rest of the way to the chuppah which represents their home-to-be.

        2 agree
    • We're not Jewish, and I didn't even know this was a tradition for anyone, but it's something I've been planning on doing because it feels more egalitarian (and I don't have to tell my dad he can't walk with me, it's easier to tell him he has to share with mom- he can't argue with that).

      2 agree
  20. For me there was never a questions who would walk me down the aisle. I had every intention of walking myself.
    I talked this over with my Dad to make sure that he didn't have some weird dream of walking me and he and I were both on the same page. I said that this point in my life he didn't feel like he was "giving me away". He raised me to be very self sufficient and strong (we have more of a father son relationship than anything else).
    He and I chose to not even do a father daughter dance, just because thats not how he and I are.
    I honestly felt so beautiful and proud head held high when I walked down the aisle.

    5 agree
  21. I'm going to ask my mom to walk me down the aisle instead of my biological or step father.
    She means a lot to me, we've become really close since I've left my high school days and I want her to be the one to walk me down.

    1 agrees
  22. My grandpa was always who was going to do it when I was a kid and thinking about my wedding (a rare occasion)when he passed I wasn't sure. now it's obvious to me that my mom makes the most sense, she always did! She deserves it. i still want to incorporate my grandpa, so he is somehow getting a piece of him (picture, glasses, something) into my bouquet.

    2 agree
  23. My best friend (who is also my MOH in my upcoming wedding) was concerned her dad wouldn't be able to walk her down the aisle – he's incarcerated and they weren't sure when he'd be out. She had planned to have her cousin, who she grew up with and is close with, walk her down the aisle as the family representative.

    1 agrees
  24. I won't be "given away" but I am however being escorted down the aisle by my future father in law.

    My father and I aren't very close. My biological family won't be attending the wedding at all.
    The people I "adopted" as my family had something come up and at the last minute won't be able to make it. I had to make some major changes at that point.
    I am very close with my FFIL. He offered to escort me down the aisle and to do a father/daughter dance with a twist. He's a very important part of my life and I wouldn't have made it down the path of marrying his son if he wasn't there to help support me through the relationship with his son. (My FH is a piece of work sometimes, but I love him anyway LOL!)

    0 agree
  25. We're walking down the outside aisles instead of the center and meeting in the middle, I'll be accompanied by the best man and he'll be accompanied by the maid of honor. Our friends are giving us both away.

    13 agree
  26. My godfather walked me down the aisle, and it was absolutely the best decision – you can widen your net to larger family or even non-blood relatives, just FYI.

    1 agrees
  27. Being "given away" along with the "obey" part of the vows are the two aspects of traditional weddings that make me the most uncomfortable. I'm my own person, I'm making this decision myself, along with my SO. My wedding's not for another 6 months, but I'll either walk solo or together with my SO.

    5 agree
  28. My father died when I was little. I was very close to him. To honor his memory, I'll be walking up the aisle half-way by myself. Then my mom will meet me half-way & walk me up the rest of the way. I'm including a note in the program that explains why we did it that way.

    3 agree
  29. (Hater mode, engage!) I don't like the symbology of the "down the aisle escort", whether you call it "giving away" or not. I don't want to do it because I'm certain that it will be viewed that way by my guests. That said, I'll be finding new and key ways to include my loved ones.

    3 agree
  30. My spouse and I danced down the "aisle" – we got married in a gazebo – together. Super fun, we loved it and so did everyone else.

    0 agree
  31. My best and closest friend walked herself down the aisle. She decided early on that inviting her father (who was not so good of a father) to her wedding was enough, and that she would take the walk alone because she was strong enough to do so. She likened it to the run across the field into the arms of your lover moment from movies…saying that she saw no one else in the room – just locked eyes with her husband and followed her heart towards him. It was incredibly powerful, and all eyes were on her as she made her way down the aisle grinning from ear to ear.

    2 agree
  32. To be honest, it never crossed my mind for my dad to give me away. I set out from the beginning to erase a lot of traditions that made me feel icky about weddings – things like being given away like a piece of property. But I didn't want to walk down the aisle alone. It just felt weird to me, plus I'm not crazy about being the center of attention. It just felt really natural to walk down the aisle with my husband (at the time, we'd already done the legal ceremony, so we were technically already married). Plus, he looked so damn good that I wanted everyone to see him, too. =)

    5 agree
    • I feel the same way about the ickiness of being "given away," passed along as if I'm property. I know most people don't think of the roots of the tradition, and I don't fault them for that or if they just like the idea of spending that moment with their fathers, but I'm a gender studies nerd and a feminist, so I'm hyper-conscious about that sort of thing, and it makes me really uncomfortable.
      I love your last sentence–Why should only the bride turn heads? My boyfriend/fiance is going to look awesome, so why shouldn't everyone get to admire him, too? That's a nice way of thinking about it. :)

      6 agree
    • me too. I don't like the whole "property" idea of it, but I do want to surprise him when I walk down the aisle. I was going to walk by myself, but the more I think about it, the more I want my best friend (maid of honor) to walk me down the aisle.

      2 agree
  33. My brothers carried me down the aisle on their shoulders while my sister danced behind us :) It was a little scary, but I knew my brothers would never drop me. It was beautiful. I meant no offense to my dad- but I have such a close bond with my siblings, and I liked honoring that. I think anyone (male or female) that you have a close bond with can walk with you down the aisle :)

    7 agree
  34. My grandfather was still all the way halfway across the world when my mom got married. Him and my grandmother had an arranged marriage and I've never ever heard from him, seen him, or received anything from him in my life… my mother was given away by one of her brothers

    0 agree
  35. My father passed away two years ago and to have my mother or brother walk me just doesn't feel right for me. We decided that meeting half-way down the aisle fit us well. We really like the symbolism it holds for us.

    1 agrees
  36. At our backyard wedding in July, we will come out of the house together. We are doing a 'community bouquet', so we're going to have our guests form a bit of an aisle (standing) behind the seats, and we'll walk down together, gathering up their flowers into a bouquet. After we gather all the flowers, the guests will THEN go sit down and we'll have a moment just for the two of us, then we'll walk down between the seats together. I am very close to my Dad and always have been, but I haven't lived with him since I was 5 years old, and I've been entirely on my own for 11 years, and my fiance and I have been 'living in sin' for almost 5 years – so it's not like I'm being passed from one man's house to another. In fact, my name's on our mortgage, not my fiance's. Point is – we are going into this together. I think this could be summed up as "What Ariel said"… Much more eloquent that way too! Haha.

    2 agree
  37. My husband and I walked together. There wasn't an 'aisle,' per se, there was a corridor and a giant doorway and then we just walked around the chair setup (they were in a semi-circle). Because we got married abroad we didn't see the venue until minutes before the wedding, and my wedding planner organised the seating – they didn't ask anyway, and I never even thought about it!

    My dad had passed away a year before the wedding, but although I would have invited him I don't know if he would have 'given me away' anyway. My brother was there in his stead, but Kris just walked into the room with me… I can't quite remember if we did it naturally, I don't remember being told to by the minister. I think they just asked if we were ready, and we linked arms and said yes! It's kind of weird how I don't remember!

    0 agree
  38. We walked down the aisle together and it was fabulous. I had a big problem with being given away and he actually suggested it because he didn't want to be up there waiting for me. When I explained it to my dad, he was actually relieved. He said he didn't want any attention on him. So cute!

    3 agree
  39. One reason I wanted to walk with my husband is because I don't like the idea of a wedding being mostly for the bride. There are two people getting married, they should both get equal attention. Also, we had spent the whole day prior to the ceremony together, so it seemed silly to pretend that we were seeing each other for the first time at the aisle walk.

    5 agree
  40. My older brother and my 2 year old nephew walked me down the isle. The pictures are amazing!

    1 agrees
  41. I'm not getting married for a while yet but already know that when the time comes, my Grandad will be the one to 'give me away'. My father left when I was 1, my Mum and Stepdad are divorced – my Grandad practically raised me as his own daughter and I see him as my 'Dad'.

    0 agree
  42. I have asked my best friend from high school to do it. He is gay, and our favorite thing to do together is watch reruns of Will and Grace (I know, I know) and we were so close in high school that that was also what everyone called us.

    I was inspired by Grace asking Will to walk her down the aisle. I know it's cheesy and dorky but it just feels right to me. I had toyed with the idea of my mother doing it, but forgive me, I think it should be a man. (Just for my wedding, you guys with your mothers doing it, more power to you. I just always imagined it being a man). My mother was sort of bummed by this and I said that when the officiant asks who gives me away she can stand up and answer, if it's not too weird. Besides, she's making my dress anyway, and that's all she really wanted.

    On a side note: I am also estranged from my father but may be inviting him to the wedding. I, however, will not be inviting his wife and step-children. Is this wrong of me? How do I approach that? Should I just not invite him period?
    I cannot stand this woman and her children and do not want them at our happy day.

    1 agrees
    • If you only want your father there, and not his family, then you should just ask your father.

      But, since I am sure there is a good reason you are estranged, will your father understand? Is he "mature"/good enough to understand your reasons? If he can't understand, or will guilt trip you, or accuse you of trying to make him choose between his two families, then I say–he ain't worth it! Trust your instincts/knowledge, and do what you think will bring you the most joy!

      0 agree
      • Well, let's put it this way. My mother verbally invited him to my graduation party, but since I didn't send him an actual invitation in the mail (I don't even think I sent any out at all) he refused to come. So… I don't know. I'm not sure if I want him there at all right now, but I'm going through on of my "bitter phases" so who knows how I'll feel when it's time to send out the invites. My main worry is IF I do decided to invite him to the wedding, how do I word it so that he understands it's ONLY him I'm inviting. I'd want it to be polite but firm.

        I've even considered just making sure to not say "and guest" and on his reply card have the number coming already filled in with a 1 but I feel like that's a.) rude and b.) not QUITE clear enough.

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    • I, too, will not be inviting my step mother to my wedding. I have always had a relationship with my dad up until October 2011 and I am still waiting on him to make an attempt to mend things before not inviting him either. Now just to decide who, if anybody, I want to walk me down the aisle. Both of our families are VERY traditional and I think it would upset them if we walked together, but I am leaning more toward that. Thankfully, we have a year to make a decision.

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  43. I have my best friend walking me down the dance floor (our aisle). She has helped me and has been there when my parents were not there. I felt she is the perfect person to represent my family and my parent agreed with me that she is.

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  44. My foster mother's father was deceased when she got married so she asked her father-in-law to walk her down the aisle. I think it's another nice alternative that I haven't seen mentioned yet.

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  45. My father passed away when I was 16, but I still wanted the tradition of being walked by a male member of that side of the family. All grandparents are long gone. The closest living relatives on that side are Shane and Duane, my cousins. I love them fiercely, but we're not all that close. I have a cousin on my mom's side, Clinton, who is one of my best friends so he's going to escort me down the aisle and once we get to the front, Shane and Duane will present me to be married. I'm looking forward to doing it that way because it honors my late father and his side of the family while still allowing me to share something special with the cousin I'm closest to emotionally.

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  46. I would say to ask yourself what it means for you to be "given away". Based on how you answer that question, you could choose a variety of different people. Basically, just figure out what the tradition means to you and why you feel like it is important to include in your ceremony and you should also have a better idea of who can fill this role best.

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    • I don't want to be given away, I want to be stolen. ;)

      It does make sense to have the family/families consent to the marriage, agree to help support the couple and the new family, and have it made part of the ceremony. Whether or not that means the bride is her family's property probably depends on your cultural perspective, but it certainly doesn't have to mean that.
      In that regard, the person escorting the bride (or groom) should probably be the person or people most appropriate to speak for those people you most want supporting your marriage.
      If that means a patriarch or matriarch of the bride's family, or a child/stepchild, or a member of the grooms family. Whatever fits.

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  47. my dad died when i was 11, so when i got married, my mum walked me down the eisle. although we are not very close, we held hands the whole way. it was super special to me.

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  48. I think I am going to go with my flower girl/daughter and my ringbearer walking me in lol. But we shall see. I've been married before and Dad did it that time and it was great, but it seems like this marriage should be fresh and new and nothing like the last

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  49. My dad passed away almost 2 years before our wedding ceremony. I'm Jewish and it is traditional for brides (and grooms) to be escorted by both parents. Since that isn't an option for me, I am asking my dad's older sister, my aunt, to take his place. Before he passed I had doubts about his role in my life/potential wedding anyway, but his passing changed the way I had to make the decision. Seems like I'm not alone in that situation, which is nice to read. But I still like the idea of having family involved in the process of the ceremony.

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  50. I had my daughter walk with me the last time I got married… I told her I was going to walk down by myself( since it was my second time around) and she said she would be honored to walk with me so I allowed her to do it to have her feel included in the wedding. It was a great feeling.

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  51. You must have read my mind! I was just thinking today about how much I would like to walk down the aisle alone, how that just feels right for me :) This gave me the validation I needed: thank you so much for posting!

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  52. I had my mum and stepdad who raised me since I was 5 walk me down the aisle.

    I never really wanted anyone to walk me down the aisle if my dad couldn't (he passed away nearly 11 years ago), especially not my stepfather by himself as I didn't want anyone to think that I'd "replaced" my dad. But having both my mum and stepdad walk me down was a nice way to incorporate them into a wedding they felt they weren't involved with.

    My tip would be though, even though it's generally assumed it's ok (or I thought it was), to double check when you ask whoever you decide to walk you down the aisle whether it's ok for you to show people their photos (of you walking down the aisle). Not normally something people think of, I certainly didn't, but the only probs arising from my wedding were showing pictures of my family in them.

    If I'd known that was going to be an issue, I would've walked myself down the aisle so I could show anyone and everyone my photos – just something to bear in mind when asking people to walk you down…

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  53. My father died when I was a kid, so it's just something I grew up knowing would happen. The choice was between my brother or my uncle (father's brother) and considering my uncle is the family patriarch and doesn't have kids of his own to marry off, I figured I'd give him the honor.

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    • That's such a beautiful thought! Wish I'd thought of it!

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    • Incredible story of Danny & Annie – Thak you for sharing! That's what getting married is all about.

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  54. For some strange reason, I never really thought about this, and I haven't felt any pressure to have someone walk me down the aisle. Thank goodness for chill parental units on both sides! I have to consult with them on how they'd like to enter the ceremony since they're not escorting mi amor or myself, but the bridal entourage is making an unusual entrance. Since we're having orchestral seating (basically several arches), the bridesmaids, best man, mi amor and myself are going to walk among the guests. There won't be an aisle, and this lets people on the far ends get in on the action because they'll get some members of the entourage walking right near them. The people on the ends furthest from the aisle get jipped, I think. :)

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  55. I would love advice on this one! I am estranged from my father. My grandfathers are dead. But I have two uncles I am close to. One is my godfather, but the other I have a special bond with as well. I considered asking both to give me away, but I feel I might hurt both their feelings if I am indecisive. Part of me just wants to walk alone to avoid the issue all together.

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  56. In Sweden, no one "gives the bride away". The bride is considered an independent adult that walks down the aisle of her own free will. There was even some heated debate about this last summer when our princess Victoria wanted her father, the king, to give her away. The church of Sweden actually refused, but if I remember correctly, in the end, they all came to some sort of compromise. I think Victoria walked half of the way with her father and the last half with Daniel, the groom.

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  57. I'm faced with a similar but different problem. My father and I are not estranged per se, but we haven't spoken in a year and have never been particularly chummy. He is still married to my mom. He is coming to the wedding. I'm currently planning on having my mom walk me down the aisle, but I sense this will be super awkward with him there. Any thoughts?

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  58. Well we got married on a peninsula, so there wasn't really an aisle, but there was still a walk around the pond. I started the walk with my mom (my dad is deceased, and I wanted to include my mom in the wedding – and I didn't want to trip and fall). We walked to the pond. At that point, my husband walked from the peninsula as a walked around the pond and we met in the middle. We finished the walk together. It was a beautiful transition from my mom, to being by myself, to being with him.

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  59. I walked alone. My parents and I are estranged, and I'd lived on my own for years. My husband has never even met my father. I'm an independent woman, no one person has cared for me, to give me into the care of my Husband John. I've cared for myself. So I gave myself to my husband. That's how I viewed it.

    The other thing for me was, even though I was walking down the aisle alone, I was not "alone". I was surrounded by support and love.

    Yes, people questioned me. A several dear friends (male and female) offered to walk with me, and even until the day of I wasn't 100% sure. My maid of honor actually walked out last in case I changed my mind. When the moment came, I was ready, I walked out alone. It was perfect.

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  60. I am struggling with this as well. My father passed away 9 years ago and while my step-father is a good man, we are not close.
    I have 4 children. I am toying with the idea of having my oldest (age 16, girl) be my maid of honor, My youngest (age 6, girl) being a flower girl and having my boys (ages 11 and 9) give me away.

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    • My Aunt had one of her sons giver her away at her wedding and when the minister asked who gives this women… he said "Her family and friends do" I loved that!

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  61. On September 17th my twin daughters (18) will be giving me away and my 15 year old daughter is my maid of honor. Do what makes you happy!!!

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  62. My fiance and I are planning on meeting at opposite ends of the back of the room and meeting in the middle, and walking up the aisle together. This kind of illustrates that we come from different places in life but we found our way to each other and are starting this together. Kind of sappy but we like it.

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  63. My God Father is walking me down the aisle when I get married this July. I'd love to have had my Dad do it but he passed away a couple years ago. I thought about having my Mom walk with me but my parents choose my Uncle to be the one who took the role of my Father should he die and so I want to honor that.

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  64. Both my parents are deceased. My uncle, Dad's younger brother,is walkin me down the aisle.

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  65. I had ALWAYS pictured myself being walked down the aisle by my father. We are super close and still are. It was a strange thing because we didn't do a formal rehersal since weather changed EVERYTHING about where and how our wedding ceremony actually unfolded (we couldn't have a procession through the woods down to the river in the torretal downpour) and before I knew what was happening G and I were walking down the Aisle in the lodge at the summer camp together, hand in hand. It felt very comforting to have him there. We had already done "first looks" with the photographer and that gave us the "OMG you look so awesome!" moment. Walking in together really fit who we are and what our wedding was about which was the two of us coming together in front of our community to say "Here we stand together, trying to make a family from two lives. You are here as our community to support us and hold us accountable" it only made sense that we would 'show up' together. Best of luck in this whole thing! Know that the day after you say "I Do" will be one of the best days you have had in a long long time.

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  66. I'm Catholic, and at our wedding instruction course, they suggest that you walk down the aisle with your groom.

    That's what my sister did, and that's what I'm doing. As I see it, I've been dating my boyfriend for years, so the idea of wearing a veil or being "given away" (which the church is totally against, anyway, because the bride is not property) at this point seems ridiculous.

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  67. When my father passed away I had decided when I got married my mom would walk me down the aisle. We talked it over, had tossed around a few other ideas, and she was really touched that my first though was having her walking me down, however a year and a half after my dad passed away my mom also passed away.

    While there is no talk of a marriage in my immediate future I have come up with the idea that my two half-sisters will give me away. I'm not comfortable having them be part of a wedding party due to our difference in ages but want them to be involved in an important way.

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  68. My fiance and I are walking in and down the aisle together. My dad "gave me away" for my first wedding, but I took myself back in the divorce. ;) Also, it's important to me that this wedding is cementing our already strong relationship.

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  69. I really struggled with this when we first got engaged. My father passed away a couple years ago and even before that I was estranged from both my parents and don't have any close extended family. I liked the idea of walking in together, but for my fiance, it was really important to have that quintessential groom moment of standing beside his best man and watching me walk down the aisle toward him. I liked the symbolism of walking down the aisle alone. But to be honest, the thought of being the center of attention and walking alone gave me the heebie-jeebies. I was terrified of tripping on my heels! LOL.

    When my sister started to get involved with some of the wedding planning, I wanted to find a way to include her in the ceremony. I didn't want to add yet another bridesmaid to the mix. That was when I realized that she could walk me down the aisle. We aren't always close so it took me a while to come up with that idea. She is the only family I really have and she took care of me when we were little, though, so I appreciate the symbolism. And I will be able to share that moment with someone who makes me laugh and makes me calm. It was brilliant and by far the best wedding decision I've made. She was super touched to be asked and now instead of being terrified of tripping down the aisle alone, I am excited about walking down the aisle with my sister and I think it's brought us a little closer.

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  70. My sister was faced with the same dilemma. We have been estranged from our father since we were teenagers.

    Although my mother has since moved on, having our stepfather walk her down wasn't the right fit either since she was almost out of the house when he came into our lives.

    Our maternal grandfather was ruled out since he would have found it much too emotional to deal with.

    Instead, I suggested having our youngest brother walk her down the aisle. He was only elevenat the time, and was completely thrilled with being given this role. My brother wore a top hat and tux, it was beyond adorable.

    Everyone loved this touch and this is now a memory they willboth share. It ended up being a great way to include our much younger sibling in the ceremony.

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  71. I am planning on having both of my parents walk me down the aisle. I don't like the idea of being "given away" (I am not my father's property to pass on to someone else) and I see the walk symbolically as my parents taking me almost to the end of the aisle, like they've raised me thus far, and me taking the last few steps alone, like I'm continuing on my life's journey as an adult who makes her own decisions (in this case, the decision to marry an awesome guy). It might sound a little corny, but I don't care. I also wanted my mom to be involved in this part of the ceremony since we're close and I didn't want her to just sit on the sidelines as I came down the aisle.

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  72. Can I just say that the cat-in-the-hat dad & grandpa walking with the Dr Suess bride is possibly my favorite wedding photo EVER? I both chuckle and get misty every time I see it.

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  73. My friend is getting married in the fall and her father passed away awhile ago. Her good friend (and the couple's roommate) is walking her down the aisle. It's going to be great :D

    As for me, I couldn't leave my mom behind- they both raised me! So my folks walked me over, well sort of behind me due to limited space.

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  74. What about your fiance's father? My father is living and he and I are close, but he's in poor health; if he's not able to walk me down the aisle at my wedding my fiance's father will do it instead. If you're close to his family, I think that's the best alternative.

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  75. I don't know why I never thought about having my mom walk me. We're not quite at the marrying point yet in my relationship (we're headed that way, we're just not ready yet) but my relationship with my father has been less than stellar for a long time now, and it's something I struggle with every time I think about my future wedding. I flip-flop on if he should even be invited.

    Any other solution I could come up with didn't feel right either. My uncle, who I was extremely close with growing up was the front-runner for a while, but my freshman year in college our relationship sort of fell apart, and I was sort lost after that. I only ever speak to one of my brothers, and even then we're not very close, but I debated asking him anyway. He would have loved getting the one up on dad.

    But my mom! Why didn't I ever think of that? My mom is awesome, and our relationship is great, especially now that I've moved out of her house. And she would love it.

    Now if only someone would address how to serve alcohol at your wedding with an alcoholic parent, all of my fears would be relieved.

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    • Hi Kate– also dealing with the alcoholic parent issue, so i feel ya there. my mother and i (and my mother with most family nowadays, thankfully) are becoming increasingly open about her problem however, so we're talking about it…. my FH totally understands, and we're gonna have a basically "dry" wedding sort of out of respect to that whole situation, and have one or two bottles of champagne just for toasts.

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  76. My fiancee and i are planning on walking in together… same for us as for you, Ariel, that it symbolizes for us that we're already in it together, and for us it's about our equality. cause the whole father "giving" the woman to another man thing seemed antiquated and a bit sexist to us, and this way it's about electing a life together, rather than feeling like a parcel that should come with a dowry of sheep. also, as tight as my dad and i are… he's a hippie, so he agrees. :)

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  77. At our most recent family wedding, the bride and groom both had their parents walk them down the aisle. It was a lovely moment, and made for beautiful photos.

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  78. This is something I've always wondered… I lost my father when I was very young. He was very special to me and doing everything without him now is difficult.
    We'll be getting married in about 5 months and I've considered all the options – but I think my fiance and I have decided that, because my father was very special to me, no one should take his place walking me down… so I will walk alone halfway… and my fiance will meet me in the middle and walk with me the rest of the "aisle."

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  79. My little brother is walking me down the aisle. He's the one i'm closest to in my family and it just felt like the right decision. My FH asked my little brother for permission before he proposed as well. It offended my mother, but it's not her wedding.

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  80. No one will be walking down the aisle at my wedding – not even me! We are not having an aisle or an 'entrance' at all. My partner and I are planning to meet our guests beforehand, outside the venue, and all enter the room for the ceremony together. For me this takes away a lot of stress, and also removes the rather outdated notion that my father is 'giving' me to my fiance.

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    • YAY! Us too! Can't wait to see the look on people's faces when they walk up to the gate and find the two of us welcoming them in and beaming!

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  81. I got married last July and had both of my parents walk me down the aisle. My husband and I had already had a handfasting a year and a day earlier so we were happy to go down the traditional Irish Catholic church wedding route for the 'official' wedding, even though we're not religious. Having anyone other than a father walk you in is unusual here but it just seemed like the most obvious thing to do and felt right as both my parents had an equal part in raising me.
    Do whatever makes you happy and don't worry about tradition.

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  82. My father passed away a few years ago and he got to walk me down the aisle 20 years ago. I'm getting remarried to the man of my dreams next year and a very good and dear friend of mine will be walking me down the aisle. I couldn't think of a better person than Gary to walk me down to the man I love.

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  83. I, too, am estranged from my father and he was not at the wedding. Since my husband wasn't entirely loving the idea of us coming in together, I had my uncle walk me. He's someone who's always been there for me and my brothers and my husband really loves and respects him. My uncle was touched to be a part of it and everything worked out beautifully.

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  84. I wanted to walk with my partner, but for some reason he wanted the traditional waiting (in this case in the trees ) thing. I walked with my best man- who I don't see very often. It was cool, but our walk was about 800m through the bush, half way joined by my partner and his best wonman- and in a lot of pictures it looks like we are the wrong couples – which is a bit wierd!

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  85. I'm getting married next February & will be having my 17yr old son walk down with me.

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  86. I too am walking in with my guy, for many of the reasons articulated above. I am not comfortable with the idea of being on display in slow-motion ("ooh…ahh…") and my dad is as shy as I am. Being on my fiance's arm, equalizing things to convey that we're *both* equally "on display" if that's what you want to call it, will make a huge difference.

    Then we'll pause at the ceremony site and embrace our four parents. While this was first conceived as a way of letting them be acknowledged in place of the traditional stuff, I've come to realize it also enacts a nice narrative: instead of this representing a separation from my parents, my fiance and I will be joining them – all four – becoming family with them – after being pretty wrapped up in each other for the past five years. "Suprise, we didn't leave you – we're in this with you for the long haul!"

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  87. I had always dreamed of my father escorting me down the aisle, but he passed away 7 years ago. The only things I had ever thought of for my wedding growing up had to do with my father, because I was Daddy's girl. Trying to decide what to do after he passed was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. At first I thought about having my Mom escort me, but it would be too emotional for her and then she'd have me sobbing by the time we got to the end. I think that I will have my two brothers on either side of me, representing my father. I think I will still probably cry because I know we will all miss him that day.

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  88. I prefer not to think of it as being "given away." I like to think of it as being escorted.
    I think that if we are all at a special occasion, and that we're all dressed in our finery, then we can act like ladies and gentlemen. We should drink with our pinky fingers out, put our napkins in our laps, and refrain from swearing. The gentlemen (groomsmen) will escort the ladies (bridesmaids) down the aisle, and so my father will also escort me down the aisle. (I also think he would be crushed if I told him I didn't want to do it.)
    There will be no line in the ceremony about "who gives this woman" because I have been on my own for 20 years. There won't be any line about "obeying" either. ;)

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  89. ohhh cute, it's so so nice to see the diversity in approaches! I'm debating between having both parents or my fiance. One option, since I'll be dancing down the aisle, is to do some twirls with both parents and then meet my partner halfway up with a high five and do the rest of the journey with him!

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  90. God father/ parents can also walk you down the isle. I will be walked down the isle by both my father and god father…it's going to be a tight squeeze :P

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  91. I'm walking in by myself. My father and I have never gotten on, and I was always a very self-sufficient person, even as a small child- so why would I have someone walk me down an aisle to get married? For me it just doesn't make sense.

    This is the one thing that my mother just doesn't get about what I want my wedding to be like. She doesn't push it; she recognizes that it's my wedding and I'm going to do what I want no matter what she thinks, and she understands my reasoning.. Just for some reason she's stuck on this one detail.

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  92. FYI in a Catholic wedding it's also actually liturgically most correct for the bride and groom to each be walked in with their parents, possibly following the bridal party and ministers. It's just that most Catholic couples choose the giving away the bride route under the mistaken impression that because it's 'traditional' it must be Christian. The theology of a Catholic marriage says that two people must come freely, so really the symbolism of one person being given away is all wrong!
    we're doing the each of us with our parents thing (but not bridal party or ministers, because that would make it epic)

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  93. My husband to be and I are getting married this Sept. My father passed years ago (although we were never very close to begin with). For our non-traditional wedding we've decided to both walk our own path from opposite sides and meet in the middle where my Godmother will be conducting the ceremony! We have no wedding party and want to keep things simple and sweet. To us we are showing that we are giving ourselves "away" to each other!

    1 agrees
  94. I am going to walk down an aisle with my two children. My fiance will meet us halfway and my kids will then walk ahead and he and I will walk down the rest of the way together.

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  95. My father has been absent from my life for years now. My grandfather has a much stronger connection to my sister than to me. So my decision was fairly easy. My big brother and my little man (a boy I've been a nanny for since his birth) are co-walking me down the aisle/giving me away. Pick the most influencial and consistent people in your life. My bro and my little dude were the easiest choice to make!

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  96. I have been contemplating whether I'd ask my father to walk me down the aisle or not. I love the idea of having both parents escort the bride, but since my mom is no longer with us that is not an option. I would still love to have my dad do it, but he has a debilitating illness that might make it difficult. So I think we'll opt for walking in together or even meeting each other at the altar. At least our UU minister is open enough to let us choose the ceremony's wording, so the phrase "who gives this bride?" will not be uttered!

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  97. Both parents did. They walked down the aisle with me and we all had a group hug with my husband and his parents.

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  98. Having the bride and groom walk down the aisle together is also a common custom in Finland! Personally, I love the idea!

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