Not being given away: how I skipped the aisle-walking drama #Ceremony Advice#Friends & Family Advice#aisle-walking drama#ceremony#father of the bride#traditions Updated Jan 1 2020 (Posted Sep 30 2013) Ariel arielmstallings At my wedding, I walked down the aisle with my partner. For some women, walking down the aisle with their father (or fathers!) can be a really beautiful way to honor the role that relationship has played. For me, despite the fact that I'm a total daddy's girl, it wasn't a tradition that felt like a fit with my ceremony. I love my dad, but he wasn't "giving me away." Separate even from the patriarchal history of a bride being property that was "given away," I wasn't comfortable with the message it sent about my relationship with my father: my relationship with my partner and my relationship with my father are separate and equal. My relationship with my father shifted when I became an adult — we became peers, colleagues, co-conspirators. My relationship with my father did not shift when I found my partner. My dad and I remained peers, colleagues, and co-conspirators. There was no sense of loss with my father when I got married. He'd raised me to be an independent, self-sustaining woman, and I'd been one long before I got married. Because of this, walking down the aisle with my father felt odd — what was being given away? (Nothing.) What was changing? (Nothing.) For our ceremony, my partner and I decided to honor my father's role in my life in a different way — he's a poet, and so we asked him to read one of his poems. It was beautiful, and infinitely more meaningful to me than being walked down the aisle. [related-post align="right"]We've featured all sorts of ways to get down the aisle, including Walking with one or both parents Walking together with your partner Walking by yourself Walking with a child Walking with a sibling …We've even written about ideas on how to skip the aisle completely! While I firmly believe there's no right way to get down the aisle, I do want to recognize that for some of us, it's not just about getting down the aisle… it's about finding a ceremonial way to reflect and recognize our relationships. Related Post Equal and awesome: couples who opted to walk down the aisle together What better way to keep your cool and soothe your nerves than by walking in to your ceremony with your partner (like Jenny and Dean happily did above!)? Sure, it's… Read More Related Post Who should walk me down the aisle? 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… Read More Related Post Separate, together, and in between: alternative processional ideas from readers We've got a post that lays out some ways to craft your customized processional including how to lay out the order, how to choose the music, where to seat honored… Read More Ariel Author of three editions of the Offbeat Bride book and the forthcoming From Shitshow To Afterglow, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives in Seattle with her son, and if she's not reading or writing books, chances are good that she's dancing or happy-crying. To read her most current writing, subscribe to her newsletter. PREVIOUS Write letters to your guests that serve as a wedding favor NEXT Emily Alt Photography's super-cool "rolling elopements" may be coming to your town! Show/Hide comments [ 70 ] I thought like you. The only person who could "give me away" was me, because by my wedding, no one owned me or was responsible for me. I planned on walking down the aisle by myself. Then Husband decided he wanted his ex-wife to give him away. I enjoyed the logic of that, so I was all for it. I figured I could stand at the front with the officiant. Yay role-reversal! Reply My dad passed away 4 1/2 years ago, and at the same time I also don't agree that I'm being given away. It actually bothered my mom a lot that I'm not having her walk me down instead, even after I explained this to her and the fact that I feel uncomfortable with ANYONE taking my dad's place. Reply I second that, and I'm sorry for your loss. I also lost my dad in June 2009. Instead, hubby and I walked up to our officiant together since we're equals and belong to no one. Also, I was just generally uncomfortable with anyone assuming my father's role. While even though I wouldn't want him "giving" me away, his absence left a massive hole in any attempts to plan what my family considered a "traditional" wedding. It wasn't about anyone but hubs and I anyway, and we loved walking up together and nudging each other to get a smile from the other 🙂 Reply I just got married last week and had a similar issue – my dad passed away in 2002 and I didn't think it was fair to assign his role to anyone else. I walked myself down the aisle but tied his wedding band and signet ring into my bouquet so he was walking with me in spirit. Reply Well, I'm having a Catholic ceremony. And it is sort of wonky compared to other Christian ceremonies. But the major thing I've discussed with the priest is that it is important for both parties to come to the marriage willingly. In fact he has asked both of us, privately and together, if we are coming to get married of our own free will. (He also asked if either of us knew of any sexual irregularities that may prevent us from having children…oh Catholics and babies….) So in keeping in line with that, the bride is no longer considered "given away", in fact the groom and the bride both walk down the aisle and meet each other at the altar.. The groom can be accompanied by his parents or not, and the bride may have her mom/dad/relative or not. Of course we have a pretty liberal priest and it depends on what church you get married in…but I'm happy with what we have worked out. Both my mom and dad will be walking with me to support me. I'll probably be a teary mess… Reply At two Catholic weddings I attended recently, the bride walked with her father halfway down the aisle, where she met the groom and they walked together to the altar. At another Catholic wedding, the couple had a baby and they had wedding and christening during the same service. They walked in together, holding the baby, with his mother and her father escorting them, on either side. So sweet! Reply Seems some of you are determined to omit and ignore her mother. Her mother is not less important than her dad. In fact, the mom is more important. You can't ignore the mother of the bride. Reply I always wanted both of my parents to walk me down the aisle, but when I mentioned this to my dad, he seemed kind of hurt. He said something to the effect of 'well maybe we can talk to your mom more about that and see what would work out for the best'. I will say, I am a total daddy's girl. I have a wonderful relationship with both of my parents. And its one of the reasons why I wanted them both to give me away. I didn't realize how much it would matter to my dad to be the ONLY one to walk me down the aisle. (I'm 2nd oldest out of 4 and the oldest daughter). We have plenty of time to decide. And I am fine with giving my dad this gift of walking me down the aisle on his own. But what are ways I could equally honor my relationship with my mother? Reply If you're not planning on tossing your bouquet, you could always present it to her at the reception. Also, I had a friend recently have a mother/daughter dance. Reply These are some great suggestions, thank you! Reply This is something I've been thinking about as well – I want both of my parents to walk me in, but I'm worried my dad may be somewhat hurt by that. I'm the closest thing he has to a 'daddy's girl', but honestly I think all of us are much closer to our mom (I have a sister and two brothers). I don't feel quite right with just him walking me down the aisle when both of my parents made huge sacrifices for me. (my dad worked full-time to support us financially at a job he wasn't thrilled with. My mom gave up her wanted career so she could stay home and raise us) I think I may bring it up with my mom first and see how she judges the situation. But I do just have a fantastic image in my mind of me holding my mom and dad's hands as I walk down the aisle. Reply My father is ill, and we're not sure how long he will be with us. I am thoroughly pleased to have him with us to ESCORT me down the aisle–not give me away. There is no question once we reach the front about "who gives this woman". He is escorting me, and then sitting down. Our families will confirm as a group that they will support and love the union. I wouldn't take this away from my dad for a second. He's lost his ability to read, and doesn't do well in front of crowds, so this was a good compromise for us. Reply We solved this problem by not having an aisle! Our ceremony was in the shape of a circle, and although I approached the circle from another place, my partner did the same from the opposite direction. It wasn't clear to me while I was walking exactly where to walk or where to enter the circle, because it wasn't a defined path. All eyes were not on me as the bride – all eyes were on neither of us until we got into the center of the circle! It also set my partner and I up as equals to each other rather than positioning the bride as differently important than the groom (in our case we were a bride and a groom). Reply That's really beautiful Reply I walked half of the way myself, and then was joined by my man (at the same point where our ladies were paired up with our guys for the procession). That was the only appropriate way to represent myself and our relationship, and it was the best against-the-grain decision that we made in planning our wedding! Reply I really love this idea and may just do that myself on my upcoming wedding. Reply I love that you followed your instinct and did what felt right – weddings are all about making it your own. What a nice way to reflect your relationship with your father and have him share what is important to him through his poetry. I'm sure that was a beautiful moment! Reply My dad passed away 10 years ago so I am going to ask my granddad to walk me down the aisle instead. No-one could ever replace my dad, and no-one will be 'giving me away' as I am not a commodity to be passed from one family to another; for me, it's about creating a very special family moment. As his first grandchild, I have always been very close to my granddad. Long before my fiance and I were even together – usually after a few "Granddad's swiggies" (whiskies!) – he used to tease me that he was going to live long enough to see me get married. He's in his eighties now and is in the early-ish stages of Alzheimer's disease so by asking him to walk with me I know this will make him and my family very proud. Reply We don't have an aisle, but we have a double staircase (the ceremony is on one of the landings). My dad will walk with me down the staircase. I don't think anyone thinks that he is "giving me away" but instead is walking with me because we have a good relationship and I want him there for me. I'd always thought I'd walk alone or with both my parents but somehow this seems like the thing I want to do now. Reply We were fortunate that we chose to have a Quaker wedding and the Society of Friends already has a long-standing tradition that two people give themselves freely and equally to one another in marriage. No one else can give you away. So that made it easy for my husband and I to walk down the aisle together. I'm so glad we did. Much like our proposal, where he asked me to be his partner, it signified that we are going into this equally, and as a team. Of course, people can be escorted any number of ways and still have equal marriages, but it was important to us to make this gesture. Reply I'm sure I hurt my Dad when I didn't want him to walk me down the aisle or give me away. A part of my not wanting to walk with anyone is because I have a disability, I hate people watching me walk, because that is something I've lived with all my life. (Doctors, residents, med students, therapists.) In fact, my husband and I were just sitting in the front pew of the chapel and stood, and moved to the center, rather than walk. And of course there was the whole notion of even a symbolic notion of being property to avoid. But even beyond that, there was my Dad. I love my father so much. I didn't want to hear him say he was giving me away, even though it's not real. That part of the ceremony felt icky to me. I didn't want marriage to feel like an abandonment of my family, but rather a chance to add to my family. My Dad passed away ten months to the day after we married. I don't wish I'd had him walk me down the aisle. I wish I had better articulated to him exactly why I didn't want him to walk me down the aisle before he died. (Another side effect of the disability, sometimes the part of my mind that was able to have this deep feeling or idea is often times way ahead of the part of my mind that can put it all in order so I can explain it properly to others.) Reply As much as I love my dad, I am omitting the giving away aspect of my otherwise half-traditional, half-offbeat ceremony. He will instead dance with me to an Elvis Presley tune of his choice at the reception since he's a long-time huge fan of the King of Rock and Roll. Reply My plan currently (though it changes), is to have BOTH of my parents walk me half-way, hand me off to my Maid of Honour for the next quarter, then meet my partner to go the rest of the way. A symbolism of the journey of my life to this point and who has shaped me. Reply We did away with the processing altogether. We greeted our guests together as people arrived and when everyone was there my husband and I walked to the ceremony site with all of our guests. We just waited up front until everyone found a seat and got started. Reply We did something similar. As an ode to Spouse's family ancestry, we had all of our guests meet in a predetermined "meeting spot." Spouse and I met everyone there and then led them to the ceremony spot together, a 8-10 minute walk away around a campground and into the woods. The procession around town is an integral part of weddings in his family's place of origin, but it solved a modern problem for us (guests getting lost on the way to the site) and offered a modern way to have everyone walking and cheering and loving on us on the way to the ceremony. Once we got to the ceremony site, Spouse and I walked to the front and waited until everyone had gathered around/found a place to sit. And then the stuff happened. One thing to keep in mind is that if you enter the ceremony in a nontraditional way, you might need to cue your guests on how to exit. We had a Mastery of Ceremonies for the ceremony itself, a dear friend who led everyone and us through the event. He didn't have a clear way to give directions on what happens next. First, everyone just sat there like "wow, that just happened." Then people stood up and came up to Spouse or I (or each other) for hugs and congrats. Then directions were explained on where to go next and the fact that family should stay for photos. It ended up being lovely, but was a little confusing at first for everyone (including me). Reply I loved your comment that there is no "right" way to get down the aisle. One of the most fascinating parts of getting married has been the very emphatic judgment on all sides about how things should be done. Either your not traditional enough or too traditional or too feminist or not feminist enough. ARGH. Drives me crazy. For us, we were never going to do the "giving away" line, because nobody owns me, so nobody can give me to anyone. Hubs possibly felt even stronger about that one than I did. However, upon discussing having both of my parents walk me down the aisle, I learned that my Dad was *really* excited about it. As in, got teary-eyed talking to someone about getting to stand up there and show off his amazing daughter. It was sweet. But I firmly felt that both my mom and his should also get to be a part of things somehow, so both of them walked down the aisle to special music as well. It still bugs me a little that it didn't feel quite as equally important as walking me down the aisle, but I also had to recognize that this was where THEY felt comfortable. They are more traditional than we are, though they were all very supportive of our very untradtional wedding. But escorting us down the aisle didn't feel right to them, so we didn't force the issue. The whole experience of wedding planning was a huge learning experience for me (and us), and one of the repeating themes was feeling like this was a community event for our family and friends who helped us get to the place where we could join our lives together even more. And that means it's not "my" wedding or even "our" wedding as a couple, but the group celebration – and everyone participating needed to be comfortable with their role in the process or if would feel forced and uncomfortable. Reply I walked alone. Much to my mother's chagrin- she had always imagined that she would get to do it (along with my father). I wanted to walk down the aisle with my partner, but he was insistent on waiting for me at the end and 'getting to see me for the first time'- since he didn't ask for much specifically in the ceremony, I decided he could have that. Reply My fiance and I are going to "meet in the middle". When I get to the halfway point of the aisle, he's going to walk to me and extend and arm. Then we'll walk down the rest of the aisle together. It was our way of saying "I'm not being given away" but also "I'm not being passive" for him. When we told our parents our plan, everyone teared up, so I hope it looks good on the day! Reply I seem to be one of the few that does not have a good relationship with my father, so there was no way he was walking me down any aisle, much less claiming enough responsibility for me as to give me away. Unfortunately, my father doesn't seem to realize that we don't have a good relationship, so I completely avoided telling him that he wouldn't be escorting me by not having an aisle. We got married (this past Saturday 9/28!!) in an historic cemetery where we met all of our guests at the gate and walked as a group to the ceremony site (there were only 13 people total, so it was easy). I walked with my partner, leading the procession, so there was no illusion of an aisle or anything. It may have hurt my dad and if he brings it up, I think I might finally have enough balls to talk to him about why things aren't as good as he thinks they are, but I probably won't say anything unless he does. Reply This sound very much like my relationship with my father. I let it known that I wish to walk myself down the aisle and he keeps up with how hurt he is about it. (My grandmother told me Its the Fathers Right to walk his daughter down the aisle) but I'm not changing my mind Reply My fiance and I are also walking down the aisle together. (In 6 days! omg!) He was actually the one to bring it up (after I caught him reading Offbeat Bride). He figured that since he wasn't giving my Dad a goat in exchange for his daughter it just didn't feel right. He wanted to do it together, like we do everything in our relationship. My dad was a little upset at first but understood our reasoning. I promised him all our parents would be involved in our ceremony in some way so we are having our parents be our ring bearers. Reply I like the ring bearer idea, I have been trying to think of a way to include them in the ceremony, so that my dad doesn't feel shunned, I'm going to give this some thought. Reply I wanted my mom and dad to walk me down the aisle. If my dad was hurt by it he didn't say anything to me, but I think he was happy and I think my mom liked it too. Thankfully hubby's parents agreed to walk him down the aisle as well, even though they'd been separated for a year and a half. That way we could have the symbolism of us leaving the families that raised us to start a family of our own. Also, we were 22 and 23 when we got married (this past January), and I almost feel like if we were older, and had lived away from our parents for more than a few years, then it might have been weird. But as it was, it was perfect 🙂 Reply This is definitely my take on being walked down the aisle. Not as 'property' being given away but the symoblism of starting my own family. Of course, my family is very much they 'we aren't losing our daughter, your son-in-law is gaining a whole slew of extended family!' 🙂 Reply I had my dad walk me down the aisle. I am a complete daddy's girl, and I am the only daughter out of three children. I knew it would be his only opportunity to have this "moment", and frankly, I was thrilled to have that opportunity, too! I *do* think it hurt my mother slightly that I didn't ask her to also walk me down the aisle, but I have a more complicated relationship with her…admittedly, it's getting better, but that's beyond the scope of this comment! However, my husband and I decided that we definitely did not want the "who gives this woman?" language in our ceremony. So we substituted that with the minister asking "Who supports these two people in this marriage?" to all our parents, who collectively answered, "We do." It was the perfect way to honor the fact that our parents were all an important part of our lives and our relationship. Reply Our wedding was a few weeks ago. My wife and I both have one brother each, and she doesn't have a great relationship with her dad. My brother was my best man, and she had her best friend as bridesmaid. We wanted her brother to be involved in the ceremony, so he walked her down the aisle, and was also the ring bearer. It worked great. Reply Much to my delight my dad actually brought this up when we were talking about my wedding, and these are exact words "i will walk you down the isle, if that's what you want, but I'm not giving you away, your my people, you don't just give away your people!! Your always my daughter, marrying him won't change that" still undecided if he will escort me bit there will be no giving away apparently. I'm glad my dad I won't be upseting him on my wedding day by not doing the whole giving away thing. One less stress factor. Reply Ariel, my thoughts exactly! Luckily, my Lutheran Republican father brought it up first that he didn't feel right "giving me away because I'm not his property." Best wedding present ever. For us, that was the perfect gesture. And it really makes me shudder when people mourn the loss of their relationship with their father when they get married and see the husband as a replacement. Just…ew. They are separate relationships and neither can replace the other! Reply I have struggled with this too, I am getting married in May. Honestly, I want to walk myself down the aisle, but I feel pressure from my family. In my heart, I feel the only person giving me away is me. Reply One of the best ways I've seen it done was in a chapel that had three aisles. The bride and groom walked with both their parents down the outer aisles simultaneously at the start of the ceremony, and together out of the middle aisle. I love that but my venue couldn't really accommodate it, and my husband wanted to the do 'waiting at the front' thing. But it occurred to me early on in wedding planning that I didn't want my dad to walk me down the aisle, and I felt like a horrible person! I was so scared I was going to hurt his feelings. I thought about both him and my mum walking either side of my, but I still didn't like that idea, it was still a bit 'giving away' ish. So my mum and dad walked together in front of me, after my bridesmaids, symbolising they had brought me this far together, but that I was free to make my own decisions. My minister and friend was pretty surprised by this, and swore on the day I would change my mind. I think he thought I might take to fainting all of a sudden and need someone to lean on. Pfft. Mind you, I almost needed to lean on someone to stop me falling over in my redicufabulous shoes… Reply I said several months ago, while casually discussing some wedding-y things, that I refused to be "given away" at our wedding. You'd have thought I had just pulled out a steak knife and plunged it into my dad's heart! Luckily, I managed to (FINALLY!) convince everyone that they weren't listening; it was the phrase I was objecting to, not the act of walking with my dad at my wedding. I'm not livestock or furniture to be given away; I'm a person to be escorted. (I do mildly object to the look/feeling of needing my dad to accompany me, but since it's so important to him, I don't mind, and this way if I slip on the awkwardly-spaced steps leading to the front at the ceremony, I probably won't fall on my butt because I can grab him. Practical!) Reply SO much THIS. I didn't even want anyone to walk with me… not even my son… And sometimes it feels like the entire reason we are doing the bigger wedding is so my dad can escort me down an aisle. I hate the idea that he's "giving me away" but to tell him that would have killed his spirit. My wedding is in next month. I didn't even like that my FH asked my dad for my hand – but it was more important to my dad than the amount it irked me. I have an amazing FH because he knew that was the case and that's why he did it. I prefer to see my dad walking me down an aisle as a physical representation of him approving of my relationship with my new husband and accepting him and his family into our (huge) clan. He really didn't care for the last guy; and he likes this one much better. Reply I've long imagined walking down the aisle with my father and murmuring to him: "You're doing great, Daddy. I feel just like chattel." Reply My father figure until I was 10 was my Grandpa, Then my mom remarried a great man who became my step dad. I want to find a way to honor both so I walked the first half of the aisle with my Grandpa (who raised me the first part of my life) and the second half with my Step dad (who raised me the second half). Reply I was adopted by two women. I am strongly considering having both of them walk me down as a "we support you" thing (not a "we give you away" thing.) I have considered walking alone as well. Up until 4 years ago, my grandpa asked me daily "When are you getting hitched so we can walk down that aisle?" He passed away suddenly and so wedding planning has been pretty tough on me because of that. If I walk alone, I feel like I could be feeling sad about him not being there RATHER than happy about walking towards my groom. . Still undecided. Reply You can have your grandpa "walk" you down the isle- Have you seen the bouquets with images of "love ones lost"? I think they're beautiful and would be a great tribute to your grandfather. There are lots of ways to do it. I hope you find one that you like. Here're some examples. http://www.landlockedbride.com/2012/10/29/in-memory-honoring-loved-ones/ Reply Having just gotten officially engaged (instead of just assuming we'd tie the knot someday) this is probably something my fiance and I will need to discuss in the coming months. My first marriage ended really badly and I was given away by an uncle who has since disowned me. This time its entirely possible that my dad will be in attendance but I'm not sure that I'm in the mindset to have him give me away. This will be my fiance's first marriage and while she is a lot closer to her dad than I am to mine she also has a less traditional mindset than I do. After seeing this post I'm actually considering either having my kids walk with me, or just walk myself if my fiance and I don't just walk down the aisle together. Interesting logistics and definitely something we need to figure out before the big day. Reply At my first wedding, I walked myself down the aisle, not because I didn't love my dad, but because I was an independent cuss 🙂 and my dad supported that. At my second wedding, my teenagers linked arms with me and we walked down three abreast. I loved it! But if I hadn't had kids, I would've walked alone again (because I'm still an independent cuss!). Reply Posts like this one are why I really love this website! I, like so many other Tribe commenters, absolutely love my dad, but I've just never felt comfortable with the idea of being walked down the aisle (and that really has to do with feeling averse to the attention) but since I've been planning my wedding I have basically had zero support from friends and family when telling them I am not having my dad walk me down the aisle and likely will eliminate the aisle altogether (luckily my parents actually don't seem to mind but my brother was surprisingly very upset). I've had people tell me that I HAVE to do it and there is no other option. I just really appreciate that there are others out there who seem to understand this predicament and are willing to share their experiences. Reply I totally agree. I am planning my second marriage…I am a mother, and the head of my own household. I haven't "belonged" to my father in a long time. I love him a lot, but it really doesn't make any sense for him to "give me away" at this point in my life. Getting out of my abusive first marriage made me feel for the first time in my life like I really belonged to myself, and one of the things I love most about my fiance is that he doesn't want to "own" or control me. I am free to be just me, and I am walking my pretty little self down the aisle! Reply I've never been that girl that fantasized about weddings. In fact, I never wanted one. A marriage, sure, but a wedding is not appealing to me in any way. Unfortunately, my FH's family is very traditional, and out of love and respect for them, I agreed to having a "real" wedding. I kind of hate it, but, it will be worth it. That said, I have never been close to my dad. I have always figured my mom would walk me down the aisle, if anybody did it. My dad seems pretty oblivious to the fact that we have no relationship, however. When I told him he wouldn't be walking me down the aisle, he and my step-mom really got on my case. It's shocking really, the man who can go months to a year without talking to me suddenly feels like he deserves some kind of spotlight for contributing his sperm. It's making a stressful situation I never wanted to be in even worse. I'm seriously considering just laying it all on the line with him, risking him not coming. It honestly wouldn't bother me that much if he didn't. Reply I am in same situation. I was ok with my dad most my life but in my late 20's he and my mom got divorced. I was on his "side" till he met wife #2 and changed. I go months without hearing from him and when I do I get scolded for not staying in touch. They also changed the locks on me and my sister! This is a house we lived in for years with my mom and dad and would stop in to visit but now feel like I am not welcome. And he and wife #2 complained after my sister had both he and my mom walk her down the aisle last year. Now I want no one walking me and he KEEPS asking even though I already told him that. Nothing about my wedding is traditional so why would I do this tradition? dramarama and i feel your pain Reply My fiance and I are having a very small wedding. No wedding party. Sixteen guests, four of them being toddlers! I have a pretty good relationship with my dad when we see each other. He lives in Mexico and we see him maybe four times a year and talk on the phone about once a week. I love my dad and respect him to death but the thought of him walking me to my husband to be, and especially "giving me away" makes me so uncomfortable. It just does not feel right in the slightest. I am so worried about hurting his feelings when I tell him I want to walk myself. But I think if I really play the "I don't want a traditional wedding" card hard enough he will understand. I tossed around the idea of walking with our two year old son. But in all honesty I want all of my future husband's attention on me! haha! Of course I want everyone to ooh and aah over how adorable our son looks in his little outfit. But I want that specific moment to be mine and my fiance's alone. Reply I'm in the same boat, love my dad, hate the tradition. I really want to walk down the aisle with my FH, we do everything as equals, even simultaneously proposed to each other, so I want us to enter our marriage as equals too. My mum is making a big deal about it, says that my dad wouldn't say but he's really hurt that I don't want him walking me down the aisle. She says it's humilating for him because I am rejecting him publicly. She says I shouldn't feel like he's giving me away that I should feel like he's just 'proud to be escorting the most beautiful girl in the world down the aisle and showing me off' or something like that (her words *gag*). The idea that I'm something to be shown off or someone who requires an escort makes me feel icky too. Anyway I'm adamant about not having him walk me down the aisle, but would like to include both my parents in some way that shows that I am not rejecting them. Any ideas would be appreciated. P.S. I have also considered arriving to the wedding in a canoe with my FH and thus avoiding the whole aisle drama, does anyone have any experience entering and exiting a canoe in a ball gown? Seriously. Reply I'm in the same boat (canoe?) — right with you with the giving away, escorting, & showing off feeling icky, but we're getting married at my parish, so there's no way around the aisle. My dad heard through the grapevine that I don't want him walking me down the aisle, and is now hurt. I'm trying to figure out how to sit him down and explain things. Unfortunately, my parents are strict Catholics and neither of them understand feminist values. Reply It would be nice if they understood, but if that isn't possible maybe just ask that they respect your feelings. I did read a good one in the comments above "So my mum and dad walked together in front of me, after my bridesmaids, symbolising they had brought me this far together, but that I was free to make my own decisions." I think the way this poster framed it is sweet and inclusive, if you are unable to skip the aisle entirely. Not sure how liberal your church is, could you just be at the alter before the guests arrive with the groom and skip the aisle that way? The raving feminist in me wants to have the women waiting at the alter and the men walk down the aisle just to piss everyone off! lol …. Ugh it's so much easier to give advice to someone else, but then when you are talking to your own parents it all gets twisted around and difficult, I may write them a letter. Reply I too have drama. My relationship with my dad is very rocky. Growing up it was fine and it was fine even with my parents divorce a few years ago (i was in my late 20's but it is still rough). It was when my dad met wife #2 that he did a complete turn around. I had been staying in town with him for work and he pretty much kicked me out to move her in. He then married her and did not tell me or my sister. He never tells us about family events or even family members passing. It went from a phone call a week from him to nothing unless I call him and then I get scolded because he hasn't heard from me. Also I opened my own store 1.5 yrs ago and he has yet to come see it. My sister got married a year ago and had both my mother and father walk her down. She did not tell my father this in advance so then we got to hear him complain various times after. So I responded with "well I will fix that, no one is walking me down the aisle". I get from new wife "awe he was looking forward to that!" why??? why is he looking forward to that when I never see him and when I do we get scolded for everything we do and don't do. Now any time i speak with him i hear "HEY am i walking you down the aisle!?" to which my response thus far has been "I am still planning things I don't even think there is an "aisle"" At times i want to just give in to shut him up but NO it is my wedding and I am VERY VERY non traditional so why would I do something I don't want to do whether he be a good father or not? Did I mention he is paying for not a penny of the wedding? Did I mention that my sister didnt get even a gift from him for MONTHS after her wedding? I am hoping to find a way to avoid the walk all together or something being its a tiny wedding on the beach without a literal "aisle". I am glad I found this article and posts I just really needed to vent! Reply My husband and I were married at a memorial on the National Mall in DC. I had thought about both of my parents walking me in (my mom had asked me long ago if she could do that with my dad) but logistically it made more sense for my husband and I to walk up together. We did photos before the ceremony and met everyone there. Instead of the escort, we had all four parents meet us at the bottom of the steps where we all hugged and kissed each other, then they followed us up the steps to our witnesses/guests and officiant. We also did not have a wedding party besides my maid of honor (who walked in front of is up to the memorial) and I didn't want my husband to be waiting up there alone anyway. I'm so glad we did it like that because we were able to honor both sets of parents and they "ushered" us into our partnership as we entered as equals. Most of the guests were complimentary of the arrangement, no one made any kind of negative comment. I never did ask my dad if he minded but I think he was pleased with how it went. Reply I've given this whole aisle walking drama a lot of thought, as I said in a previous post, my dad was hurt that I didn't want him to walk me down the aisle, and my mum was upset as it seemed like I would be publicly snubbing him. I've come up with a solution, a bit like how Jewish ceremonies work and a bit of just how I want to do it. I just wanted to share since I know many are in the same boat and looking for ideas. So I've got a combination of groomsmen and groomswomen and bridesmaids escorting honoured guests down the aisle to their seats, here's how it goes: Best man and FH's Grandma groomsman and FH's Mom groomswoman (also FH's sister) and FH's stepdad (now divorced from FH's mom) bridesmaid and my brother My parents together as they have been married forever bridesmaid and maid of honour (they've been friends a long time too, so that's neat) Me and my FH. It gets a little complicated as the FH's mom and stepdad are divorced, but FH's sister calls the stepdad 'dad' and he is an important part of the family, I'm happy that the sister gets to walk him down the aisle as they are close and that I found a way to incorporate everyone and make them all feel special. Reply I have never envisioned myself being given away. I always thought that I'd walk the aisle like I would anywhere else. We are considering having my fiance walk down as well, but we aren't there yet with planning. I think everyone should do what works best for them and their situation. Reply This is a patriarchal practice that was started to exalt the dad. The practice of the dad walking the daughter down the aisle and then saying he gives her away, is one of the most bizarre and outdated practices in this country. It is so wrong. This practice was created and started by men to exalt men above women, and guess what? Women accepted this practice that exalts the dad above the girl's mother. Why?? Why did women allow this doctrine. Now it's hard for a bride to delete this part of her wedding. Most modern girls realize how antiquated this practice is. Plus they realize that their mothers raised them, NOT their dad. It is difficult for weak daughters to tell their dads that they do not want this old fashioned practice in their wedding. They give in to the dad after he acts all hurt like a little child. Then the dads get their little fragile egos hurt. Reply I agree Reply "Plus they realize that their mothers raised them, NOT their dad. " Well- plenty of people's dad's raised them right alongside their mother. My stepsister's husband is the stay-at-home dad to their two kids, while she is a full-time corporate executive. So don't go trashing all fathers to make a point. And it's hard when going against what is expected to begin with for it not to be some kind of statement, and dads who may not have ever thought deeply about it's meaning before may have looked forward to it from a perfectly loving place. But yes, I wish it weren't a thing at all- kind of like I wish it weren't such a "statement" to wear a colored dress. Can't I just like blue? Reply Don't you go trashing mothers either, You can't tell a bride how to feel. Also you can't control what is fact Dearie, mothers are vital and important and its careless comments like yours that keeps females tied down to traditions that make us think a man is more important than a woman. The previous commenter is correct. My daughter is getting married soon and she loves both her dad and me and told us already that, she will not disrespect either of us and will not automatically do what some brides fall into and choose only the dad. I the mom, work inside and outside of the home. I put just as much into the family as my husband, and maybe more, but I don't brag on that fact and don't get an ego about this. Men need to stop getting so sensitive over things like the daughter's wedding. I'm glad my husband is not arrogant and proud . He realizes that mothers are the ones who raise daughters and sons. How dare we deny mothers. Reply Dearie? Please. You, too, need to stop getting so sensitive over things. Geesh! Reply You have got to be a dude. Who do you see trashing dads? No one trashed a dad. I just told the brides not to omit the mothers. Why are you jumping in this to defend das anyway? You getting paid to defend men? The dad is not even the like parent. Her mother is the like parent, so allow these girls to include their dear mothers who raised them. You are so mean. No das can give a grown daughter away. That's sexist. But if you notice, 90% of the commenters say they are having their dads because they think they owe it to him or he will get his feelings hurt. You didn't say anything or themfor trashing their mothers. So you need to chill a bit. Reply I'm glad so many fellow offbeats are using alternative aisle walks! My fiancé and I also don't like the idea of being "given away" because we are not property to be handed off and our family dynamics make it easy to skip the "giving away" part (she doesn't like her dad and mine is dead). Her dad, however, wants to walk her down the aisle and would be very hurt to skip that tradition, so we came up with a compromise that works for all of us. Instead of viewing it as him walking her down the aisle, we are viewing it as her escorting him to his seat. They will walk together as far as the front row to his designated seat where she will leave him and walk alone to the alter. I will do the same with my brother (who thankfully doesn't care what we choose as long as he gets to be there). Though she would prefer to walk alone, she sees the value in letting her dad have this one thing because we have ditched almost every other wedding tradition. She still gets to feel like the strong independent woman she is and he still gets to feel like he is walking her down the aisle. Reply Oh ……so what is being said here, is that some people want the poor bride, to abandon all her dreams and wishes, in order to pacify the dad. Ridiculous. What kind of man, what kind dad, would try to dominate their daughter's wedding day? Her wedding is and never will be about her dad. He needs to sit himself down and be respectful to her. Then we can end these dad exalting practices, that are disrespectful to her, her mother/ his wife. The bride's mother is the one really and truthfully is the one who is deserving of this honor. This is some of the reason why there are so many molestations, rapes, and sexual harrasment, going on in this country as it is. We have exalted men and then, led our daughters to think men can have domination over her mind and body. Enough is enough people. Reply I walked down the aisle alone. I didn't have a father. Plus I don't like the patriarchal tradition since I'm not being given away. It went well but yes there will be a few people who make a big deal out of it. I had a beautiful outdoor ceremony. Reply I know I'm pretty late on this conversation/thread. But my fiance and I just started planning a wedding, and we've almost completely decided on having a pre-ceremony cocktail reception where we greet and mingle with the guests then transition into the ceremony. I don't want my dad to walk me down the aisle for the reasons many have already stated — the phrase "give away" also makes me feel a bit icky and I asked my dad not to use it. I also don't want an aisle, as I'm an introvert and the thought of walking down an aisle makes me super anxious. I haven't had the conversation with him yet about not walking me down the aisle, but I am considering alternatives. I really like the idea one commenter had where you and your significant other enter from both sides of a circle. Perhaps I could have my dad walk with me but not announce that he's "giving me away." Anyway, I'm pretty thankful for this website and the suggestions from both the writers and the commenters. Knowing that there are others out there who buck tradition and are willing to share their ideas has definitely helped give me confidence and make me feel more comfortable in our decision to be slightly non-traditional. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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