Who’ll Walk Me Down the Aisle?


My parents got divorced when I was young and both remarried. My father and stepfather don’t get along. If I ask my stepfather, my father will be angry and hurt, and vice versa, because my father hasn’t been in my life very much…and they won’t do it together…what can I do? — Shandra

Hey, Shandra! This is something I’ve been asked before and the truth is, there are a number of options you can look into, so I will share them all with you. In the end, it’s your wedding, so you need to decide what is most meaningful and comfortable for you.

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If you have your heart set on having one of your fathers walk you down the aisle, then you need to make that decision based on your relationships with each of them. It is important to decide based on your individual relationships — not on how you think the other father will feel. Then, once you decision is made, be honest about it. Hiding your choice until the last minute will only make the moment more tense. If you’re not comfortable having this discussion alone, then your fiance should go with you. Simply ask the father in question to respect your choice and understand that this is what you feel is best for you.

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Today, many brides faced with this decision are deciding that in order to maintain peace, they will go an entirely different way! There is absolutely no rule that says it has to be a father who walks you down the aisle at all. Many brides are choosing to have their mother, a close friend, a brother, an uncle, an aunt or another close relative walk them down the aisle. Is there someone who has been a steady support in your life? Perhaps your mother has been your only constant support in all this, and you want to honor her for this. Or perhaps you have a special aunt who was there for you, a sibling you are close to or a friend who is closer than family. Any of these people are wonderful choices for this place of honor in your special day.

Yet another option that is becoming more common is the bride walking herself down the aisle. There are a number of ways this is done. You can have both of your sets of parents meet you at the front of the aisle and stand on either side of you — when the officiant asks “Who gives this woman?” they can all reply We Do together. Another option, which I saw done at a wedding just last month, is to have all sets of parents — yours and his — stand where they are sitting, and have the officiant ask, “Who gives their blessing for this union?” with all sets of parents responding together! This is a wonderful way to get everyone involved and to show honor and respect to all the parents, not just your fathers.

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Well, I hope some of that has proved useful. Remember, this is your wedding day and it isn’t about the events or the little details. It is about the lifelong commitment you are making to the wonderful man you have chosen to marry. Surround yourself with those who are your strongest support through thick and thin, and you will never regret it.

The Experts: Team Wedding, operator of Top Wedding Questions who have a team of experienced wedding planners who help answer the top questions brides have about their special day.