Dissing Dads? Hardly.

Among the many questions thrust upon brides-to-be by well-meaning and curious people is “Is your dad walking you down the aisle?” It used to be a given in the majority of U.S. Christian or Christian-flavored weddings, but nowadays there are definitely more options. A bride might walk with her dad or, like me, be escorted by both of her parents. She might walk with her spouse-to-be – and I rather think it’s nice to see a couple gliding up to until death do they part together.

Some brides walk in alone, and I know at least one who walked in a group with her bridesmaids. Others walk halfway to the altar with dad and the rest of the way with their spouses-to-be (or alone). And still others walk with uncles or aunts or friends or a pet. When it comes to breaking with tradition, anything goes, especially in this area.

mother-of-the-bride walks down the aisle

The only problem? A lot of dads still assume that they’re going to do the walking. Mine definitely did, and was hurt when I told him that I wanted to be escorted in – not, I should add, be ‘given away’ – by both him and my mom. It just seemed so wrong to not include my mom, who did the bulk of work when it came to raising me.

Frankly, a corsage and a seat up front wasn’t going to cut it. So my dad was hurt, but he got over it or at least never brought it up again. Not all dads feel dissed, though, which is a good thing, seeing as that times they are a’changin’. Take Virginia Sole-Smith’s experience:

To my surprise, [my dad] said that he had been thinking that giving me away by himself didn’t feel right; he would want, at the very least, for my mom to walk down the aisle, too. And really, when you got right down to it, my stepmom and stepdad should also be there, because they put just about as much time and energy into raising me. And then you’re trying to fit five people (with me in a not-small dress and carrying a big bouquet) down a tiny little aisle, and the whole thing starts to get a little sitcom-in-sweeps week.

You’d think that would be the end of it, since the whole family agreed on how things ought to be, but then you start to read the comments. Now, at lot of the comments were positive, in the vein of ‘that’s what I did, to’ and ‘tradition isn’t everything’ and ‘how sweet for her dad to walk with her mom.’

But then you get a rather surprising number of quite nasty comments implying that because the bride did not walk with her dad, she’ll be divorced soon or married multiple times or that her wedding was a sham and might have just as well been officiated over by a dove or a tree. Seriously, someone said that.

That’s exactly what is wrong with so many people today. I doubt that you want to have any vows either. Let’s just live our lives as we want and when he cheats on you, oh well, there wasn’t anything there to begin with. How about dear old dad that worked his ass off all his life to make sure that you didn’t go hungry or live in your car, let’s not honor him in any way after all, it’s all about you.

It sounds to me like she has no respect for any tradition as it is. The fact the she has two cats and a P-whipped guy makes me wonder if he sould not be wearing the dress. They shacked up for 10 years and now they want to formalize their relationship. Her dad is probably as ashamed of her behavior as she should be and would not want to “give her away”.

So you were somewhere around 26 yrs old when u left your parents home? who raised you,, at age 1,, 5 ..19 and so on. who worried about HIS daughter all those 6 or 7 THOUSAND nights that he HAD to work to provide aroof over your head? It was your dad, all he has ever dreamed of was walking you down the aisle, but you don;t see that.. how sad.

I can definitely understand that a dad might feel a little hurt that his daughter didn’t want him to walk her down the aisle, because it always hurts when emotional expectations don’t get met. But what I don’t get is why all of these commenters felt the need to make up little stories about this one bride… she doesn’t want dad to walk her down the aisle? Then her husband is obviously both p-whipped and fated to cheat on her, amirite?!?1!

Poor dad, too, slaving away those thousand nights to put food on the roof or whatever (mom was probably just drinking gin and playing bridge in these stories, since no one seems to care that mom wasn’t asked to do the aisle walk)! And the commenters all seem to be telepathic, since they all just absolutely know that this particular dad was secretly dreaming of giving the bride away, even though he was also secretly ashamed of her.

Gah. Stories like this are precisely why you’ll hear people say “Don’t read the comments.”

Photo via – home of totally sweet custom wedding invitations!

12 Responses to “Dissing Dads? Hardly.”

  1. Carol says:

    For my second marriage, I had my two sons walk me down the aisle. I thought it was appropriate, given that we three had been a family for so long together on our own and I had met my husband because my youngest son and his son were in school together.

    Dad did the readings – again, very appropriate because he was the main religious force in our family. If Dad felt put out for not walking me down the aisle, he never mentioned it.

    Mr. Carol did ask if he should ask my father for my hand in marriage – I told him Dad would have a good chuckle over that and tell him that I was well past the age of consent and no matter what I’d answered, Dad would have no influence on my decision. Now they love him more than they love me….!

  2. 37 Butter Knives says:

    I thought my mom would regard it as an honor for both her and my dad to escort me. (While my parents have always been together, she was far more pivotal in raising me than my dad.) In fact, both parents is what the Catholic church prefers, and I thought that tidbit would make her supportive of my wish.

    She refused, yammering about “tradition” and how her presence would take away from my moment. Sigh.

  3. @Carol I love when people involve their children so intimately in their weddings, whether it’s a first marriage or a second one or whatever. I was honored to be a bridesmaid in my dad’s third wedding because it made me feel like a part of things even though I lived so far away from him and his new family.

    @37 Butter Knives I was not aware that the Catholic church likes to see both parents involved! That’s cool. But, wow, I think yours is the first story that I’ve ever heard where a parent asked to participate in the aisle walk refused. That’s a real bummer.

  4. Tell says:

    I followed the link & read the whole article & comments, and I could not believe how unbelievably rude some people are. Who cares how another couple chooses to enter their own wedding? I’m planning a very Catholic wedding & was told that the church has changed it’s thoughts on “giving away the bride” – they want couples to walk down the aisle together as a symbol of them both entering into marraige together. In fact, at my church, if the couple is living together there is no option – they must walk in together to show that they are already living as a committed couple & only they can “give” themselves to each other.

  5. mary martha says:

    Technically the actual tradition in the Catholic Church is that the bridal couple process in together. It has to do with the fact that there is no ‘giving away the bride’ in the Catholic wedding ceremony because the bride and groom are to come into the marriage mutually with freely given consent. In fact the couple are actually the ministers of the sacrament – the priest (or deacon) is there to witness it.

    A friend’s super traditional Catholic wedding (in Latin) they greeted their guests in the vestibule and then walked down the aisle together. It was very lovely.

    The Catholic Church here in America bowed to cultural norms in terms of having the father walk the bride down the aisle. Now as I understand it the USCCB suggests both parents.

    The nice thing is that means that Catholics can usually do any of the above and point to it as ‘tradition’ to their families and friends who balk!

  6. Kai Jones says:

    I always figure comments like those tell the story of the commenter’s fears or history. Like all the “Nice Guys” who claim women won’t date them because they’re so nice (but really they’re passive-aggressive jerks), maybe that dad thinks he deserved the honor of walking his daughter down the aisle and resents her for rejecting him (but really he was mean to her and thinks paying child support on time means he was a good dad). Or maybe it’s a second wife who resents the time her husband gives (in the hours he works to pay support as well as direct time) to his family from his first marriage.

  7. Twistie says:

    In addition to all of the excellent points raised here in comments, I’d also note that ‘six thousands nights’ is roughly sixteen years. If I lived in my father’s house for twenty-six years and he only fed me for sixteen of them, I wouldn’t want him walking me down the aisle, either!

    All joking aside, though, that was certainly a reader who lacked reading comprehension skills, basic manners, and the ability to logic.

    I would also note that Mr. Twistie loves cats. He was the one who wanted two cats.

    Who (if anyone) walks the bride down the aisle is not an indication of how seriously the couple is taking the ceremony. I know plenty of women who were walked down the aisle by their fathers who are now divorced, just as I know plenty who are still very much married.

    On the other hand, my SIL chose her MOH’s husband to walk her down the aisle and stood firm on that point, no matter what. Why? Because he had been more of a father to her than her own father ever was.

    Next month, my brother and his wife will celebrate their twenty-fourth anniversary.

    Pity that their marriage didn’t work out because they rejected one, single piece of tradition… or rather adapted it to suit their situation.

  8. AmazonPrincess says:

    My biological father won’t even be at my wedding. Dad 2.0 is helping out a lot (Mom only remarried in May, but the whole time they have been together he has been there for me without hesitation, which is awesome) and I’m hoping to find a reading that both he and my mom can do together. One of my best friends who is like an older brother to me is escorting me down the aisle.

  9. In my religion (I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), if a couple is getting married in an LDS temple, they’re the last ones to enter the sealing room (where they will be married and sealed for time and eternity to each other). The guests are already there–the fathers are usually the witnesses and the mothers sit next to the couple–and the bride and groom, after having spent a few minutes alone, come into the room together and sit together until the actual ceremony. There is no question of who is walking whom down the aisle, and there is no “giving away” exchange between the father of the bride and the groom. The couple give themselves to each other of their own free will. It’s quite beautiful, and eliminates a lot of stress.

    Of course, because of the relative smallness of the venue, and the guests having to hold a temple recommend (be in good standing in the faith and with their covenants), there is always the stress of who to include in the sealing and who may be offended because they can’t attend, whether because they’re not members of our church or because they are not old enough to have a recommend. Eliminating one stressor adds another more often than not. 🙂

    That said, if I weren’t LDS, I’d want both my parents to walk me down the aisle.

  10. Anne says:

    I think the best response to someone berating a bride for not wanting to be walked down the isle by her father would be throwing Sarah Silverman’s rant from The Bachelor in their faces. It would probably shut them up or make them storm off in a huff. Whichever.

  11. Aprilette says:

    I think it would be nice if both my parents would be able to walk me down the aisle. But for some people, if this is not possible, then an uncle perhaps would do the honor.

  12. Rachel says:

    Mr. Groom and I are walking down together.