The question of who gets to walk you down the aisle is a simple one for many brides to answer, but in this day and age family dynamics can definitely make it difficult to decide. If you’re a traditional bride and want your biological father to walk you down the aisle (or biological father and mother if you’re Jewish), do it! There’s something about the time-honored tradition of watching a proud father walk his beautiful daughter down the aisle to give her away. But if having your bio father walk you sounds less than ideal, know that there are many alternative options for you.
First off, look at what it means to have someone walk you down the aisle. It was once symbolic of a father giving his daughter to another man, another family, and a life further removed from the home she grew up in; dad was the one to accompany her during her transition from childhood to adulthood. Most couples are marrying later in life and moving from parents’ to groom’s home isn’t as common as it once was, but the symbolism is still there. Lets look at alternatives to the norm. Maybe you want to stray from the tradition because you want to honor your mother. Maybe your father is deceased; perhaps he hasn’t been a significant part of your life; it could be that your relationship is strained; or possibly there is another male figure in your life that has been more of a father to you than your bio dad. You have your reasons, and you should listen to what your heart tells you. We love the idea of having your mom AND dad do the honors; they both raised you, cared for you and supported you, and it’s a great gesture to let them both give you away.
Other options? If your step dad or adopted father raised you or has had a significant presence in your life, you may want to ask him to escort you. Perhaps there’s an uncle in your life who has always been there for you that you’d like to honor by having him walk you. I’ve seen weddings where the bride walks down the aisle with her brother, which is a great and personal alternative. Mothers walking their daughters down the aisle is becoming a much more popular option as well. I was at a wedding where this happened because the bride’s father had passed, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the whole house; it was incredibly touching. If you have a son, having him give you away is a great gesture as well; after all, you’re not the only one whose family is growing to include your groom! Having your son (or sons, or even daughter) escort you down the aisle is a great way to show their involvement and support of your relationship. Still set on having a man walk you down the aisle but don’t have any male relatives you want to ask? Consider asking a close male friend, a close family friend, or even the father of the groom; after all, he’s about to be your dad too! Maybe you have more than one male figure in your life and you’re having troubles choosing between them? If the relationship between them is amicable, you can have both of them walk you down the aisle; if that would be awkward or uncomfortable, you can have one person walk you halfway and another person walk you the down the second half. And lastly, you CAN walk down the aisle by yourself. A word of caution regarding this option; if you’re a shy person, you may struggle with all eyes being on you. Alternately if you’re getting married on grass and plan on wearing heels, make sure that you can walk smoothly and comfortably without tripping!
Just remember, this is one area of the wedding where it IS all about you (we aren’t encouraging your inner bridezilla to come out though!). If your dream is to have your step dad and your bio dad walk you together, talk to each of them separately and let them know just how important this moment is to you. More often than not, they’ll be willing to swallow their pride and their dislike for the 60 seconds it takes to walk you down the aisle if they know how much it will mean to you. Listen to your heart, and think about who you want (if anyone) by your side as you walk down the aisle to marry the man of your dream, and do what feels right to you!