Who should walk me down the aisle?

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Thanks to Artemiss0 for uploading this to our Flickr pool.
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

[related-post]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. For me, there was never any question about my dad taking me down the aisle, but I had read this post a few months ago and I remembered it recently. My cousin and bridemaid Joana is getting married this year and her father passed away about 10 months ago. She told me she didn't know who would take her down the aisle, that it was gonna be kind of a sad moment, and it was so hurtful for her to imagine it she was considering not even having a big ceremony to avoid the aisle. I told her what I had read here and I could see the relief in her eyes.
    She's now deciding between walking alone and honouring her father through a memorial bouquet (also featured here in OBB) or some other way, or else having our grandfather, a most gentle and generous soul, take her.
    So thank you, this is great and important advice and it can change people's perspectives and take a weight off their shoulders.

  2. My friend has two older sisters, the eldest walked alone, the middle sister had her godfather walk with her, and my friend had her mother walk her. I love the symbolism of each of us walking up side aisles simultaneously, but I don't know how well that will work at the church. If it doesn't work, we will each enter with both of our parents one after the other.

  3. There would also be the option of not walking down the aisle at all.

    Traditionally, the groom is just standing up there, waiting. Nothing says that a bride couldn't do that.

    1 agrees
  4. When I was wed in Vegas, there was no isle. I have contemplated many options on this subject time and time again. I never had a father figure in my life for more than a few years, and I don't associate with my grandfather. I am seriously considering the option of walking solo or having my uncle walk me down the isle. My uncle and I are very close.

  5. My dad died when I was a lid, so my uncle aka his older brother is taking the position. He's family patriarch and served as my de-facto dad when I was young, so he's sort of earned it.

    1 agrees
  6. My dad is a beautiful uilleann piper and he will be playing, rather than walking, me down the aisle when I get married. I will walk in alone, and he will accompany the walk with 'The Brandon Voyage' as I start a new phase in my life. I even get teary now thinking about it!

    1 agrees
  7. I am so happy to have come across this thread. My problem lays here… I am neither close to my mother or my father and I do not feel as though either of them fit the bill to "give me away".

    I would like to ask my best friend (also my maid of honour).

    Any suggestions? Comments?

  8. What if you have three people who you want to walk with you? For me, I'd love both of my parents and my grandfather walking me, but I can't figure out an arrangement that wouldn't be awkward or put someone behind me. Any suggestions?

  9. For me the walk down the aisle is a bit of a dilemma as well. I have two dads (dad and stepdad) and while I am closer to my dad, my stepdad has always been a big part of my life particularly when I was a troubled teen with little to no relationship with my mom.
    This is something I have worried about even as a child since my first choice is my dad but I don't want my stepdad to feel left out. Personally, I have no problem walking the aisle alone but feel that would result in hurt feelings as well. I suppose it's just something that will have to be worked out in the future.

  10. I'm having my best friend walk me down the aisle as both me & my partner have been married before & it seemed a little hypocritical that's why we thought this would be much more personal only now I don't know what she should dress in any ideas??? Please???

  11. I want to walk with my fiance for reasons people have mentioned. I also want to avoid starry-eyed gazing at the bride while the groom is more-or-less ignored.

    But my fiance wants to be walked down the aisle, maybe by his mom, which I think is lovely. And long story made short, it might be Extra Meaningful for his mom. Nobody will be giving anyone away, but our marriage is also about joining our families.

    Except… my parents and grandparents are not living. I have no siblings. If I walk alone, or with anyone else in the family, it underscores my parents' absence. I'm also wary of choosing one side of my family over the other.

    I might ask my best childhood friend to walk with me…

    One related thing we did agree on yesterday: we'd like our officiant to introduce us as "[my name], daughter of [my parents' names]" and "[his name], son of [his parents' names]". That seemed right to us – a way to include and show respect to the people who raised us and the families we come from, whether they can be with us or not.

  12. We are having a pagan ceremony so we will walk together. Equality is a big thing in our beliefs and we enter this union as equals. It is also symbolic because our life paths lay side by side and we no longer walk alone but in the same direction. Also detours around choosing between my father and my dad one has hardly been there and the other only for the last 9 years. I'm not attached to the giving the bride away just make me feels like cattle because it hold no connection of that from one family to a new one or the role of caring and protection of a dad like it does for other people.

    Butterfly releases are also popular in honour those that have gone before as some cultures believe spirits return as animals. In my family we always say 'hello pop' when we see a Ulysses butterfly. We only decided against it becuase I know I will cry way too much so we are having a couple of blue Butterflies around in our decorations. being right near the botanic gardens there might even be one that flutters past on the day.

  13. I'm having my dad and maybe my mom as well walk me down the aisle.

    They are not giving me away and that won't be uttered by our officiant. I also feel that just BC someone is walking u down the aisle doesn't have to mean they are giving u away or that u are property. So I'm wondering for those that feel that way how is having a mom or child or best friend somehow elimate that feeling.

    I love all the alternative ideas BC the sentiment seems to be who is someone meaningful in your life, parent or not, blood related or not.

    I'm not into traditions and we will be writing our own vows. We have been together six yrs and I would love some thoughts on the points of making this about us sealing our commitment and two families being joined….

  14. I always imagined my grandfather would escort me as I have no relationship with my biological father since childhood and although my stepfather has done a lot with me I would never really say we are close or that we even get along well sometimes. He also doesn't like my future husband at all. I have contemplated asking my uncle on my step fathers side with whom I'm very close (I know it's a tad unusual giving the relationship with my stepfather) or possibly my brother but worried this may cause problems for them should my stepfather act selfishly about it and not wanting to cause arguments within the family I have decided I am likely to ask my future father in law, especially as he has no daughters of his own just 3 sons. He always been great and I sincerely hope when it comes the time to ask them as we've not announced the engagement yet that he will be more than happy to.

  15. I love this… really anyone can walk you down. I moved my wedding date up so my grandfather,who was in very ill health, could walk me down. Alas he was not able and my other grandparents gave me an option since I was not close to my Da (who lives as a Japanese resident overseas) and my mother had a restraining order on her by a family member attending. My Uncle (my mother's brother) was only about 10 years old when i was born and we have always been pretty close growing up together just about until he became a marine sgt. and I was bouncing as a pre-teen and teen between custody battles for years. We still haven't changed in our uncle/niece relationship and I've always admired and trusted him before I trusted my grandfather on my Da's side. No he didn't wear his blues (which our wedding was anything but formal..lol) but it was so special to have him part of something so special to me. And I actually have exciting news since I shared this…he is planning to come visit me on the Gulf and propose to his girlfriend..wanting me to be a part of it!! I'm so excited for him!! Love like that runs full-circle…whether it be with family or friends.
    You pick who you want, someone you trust, someone who protected you and helped you dust off when you've fallen..someone happy for you to go into the loving arms of someone who they pray will do the same for you for the rest of your life. Even if you have struggled and triumphed alone, don't feel bad walking by yourself.. you deserve to chose what you want out of that day.

  16. we walked down the 'aisle' (actually a flight of stairs) together. It was sort of the only thing that seemed to make sense for us.

  17. There's also the option of not even having an aisle. Our ceremony had an outdoor altar (it was just a big stump) in front of all the people we invited. We simply started the ceremony when the time seemed right. There were no words exchanged at all, just a ritual exchange of sake. I then briefly explained the ceremony and then invited guests up to drink with us. The whole thing only took about 20 minutes.

  18. My parents both passed away some time ago and we are both second time arounders, my son is giving me away but otherwise I would have asked my future sister-in-law. She has been so supportive and is going to be our best woman!

  19. I was walked down by my brother. I have nothing against my dad, but we had discussed the yucky feelings I get about the "father giving away his chattel" imagery, and wanted to stay away from that, which was easier to do when it was someone of the same generation. We also didn't have a wedding party, so our processional was simply our immediate families – Husband was walked down with his sister first, followed by his parents, each of my parents with their partners, and then my brother walking with me. I felt that the imagery of siblings "giving away" their siblings was more apt for our family situation and relationships, and it worked out well since we both have one opposite-gender sibling. I didn't get much feedback on whether or not it was weird or surprising to anyone, but no news is good news, I guess!

  20. My father passed away nearly 7 years ago so I'm at a loss as to who is to walk with me down the aisle. Mostly because I've been with my fiance for 18 years. I was thinking of my mother then having my son (who is 20) walk me the rest of the way down. My groom is walking in first, most likely with his mom then the bridesmaids with the groomsmen the flower girl and ring bearer then me with just my mom or the other way. Or just my son, or my brother??? Not sure??? Advice please

  21. My mother's father died shortly before she got married, and she had her mother walk her down the isle.

    I was considering having both my parents walk me down the isle, but then I realized how important it would be to my dad to have that moment with me. My dad and I aren't as close as my mom and I, so I think he'd want to be able to share that experience with me.

  22. Just to add to that – it is also traditional in Poland where I'm from for bride and groom to walk down together. However, I do like the idea of walking with my dad – this will be my second marriage, the last one ended quite drastically and I feel having my dad walk me down the isle would be a reflection of how happy he is about this marriage. I am getting married in Poland and having a church blessing when back in the UK and we'll probably walk together in church as we'll already be married. Best of both worlds =)

  23. I have my wedding coming up in august and I wanted my dad and my brother to give me away. Is it weird to have them both walk me down the aisle? I'm starting to second guess myself. My fiancé thinks its weird…please help. Thanks!

  24. Oh, honey, you can have anyone you want give you away!

    My best friend from high school gave me away (one upon a time, he asked for the right…so I held him to it!). When my cousin got married, both parties were escorted by their children, all of whom piped up with "We do!" to the question of "Who gives this woman?".

    Whatever makes you happiest is what's most important!

  25. My wife chose to walk alone. Her Dad passed away when she was 14. She simply said to everyone …If he's not here than I will walk alone. :-)

  26. I am just starting to plan my wedding but I already know I don´t want my dad to walk me down the isle for two reasons.
    A He seems to be unhappy with my choice man which he doesn´t bother to get to know.
    B Heleft my mum three times. I seriously consider it bad luck if he would give me away.
    In any way I am a very happy indepentant young woman, so I plan to ride down the isle on a horse (obviously we´re having an outdoor ceremony ;-) )
    If the venue won´t allow that, I´ll walk down with my dog.
    Either way – I´m sooo looking forward to that!

  27. When my sister got married she was going to have my dad and step-dad walk her down the aisle. This upset my dad and he told her the person who brought her into this world should be doing it. I think he meant himself as the sperm donor, but my sister took him literal about it. She had my mom and step-dad do it since my dad didn't bother to show up. I'll most likely do the same thing when I get married because my step-dad had been there for more milestones than my dad.

  28. Spouse & I walked down the aisle together. Even if my dad and I had a good relationship, I would've never had him give me away, as I am not property. Unlike some wedding traditions with more obscure meanings, that one is just too closely tied to its roots in the not-so-distant history (and, in some places, current reality) of women as chattel and weddings being an arranged economic transaction between father and husband for my feminist self to take part in. But, to each their own.

  29. I just came to chime in and say I was one of those women that walked herself down the aisle.

    I love my dad, but I felt that "giving away the bride" was a tradition I just couldn't bring myself to do. I am a very independent woman and a feminist to boot, so I felt that the symbolism of that act just didn't sit well with me and my beliefs. My dad doesn't need to give me away; I'm not property and I give myself freely.

    (I'm really not here to dig on the people that like this tradition! It just wasn't for me, that's all!)

    That said, there were some very beautiful photos of my solo walk and not one person questioned my decision. It was good all around.

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