I always love when someone asks me about the origin of a wedding tradition, because most of the answers are pretty ridiculous. For example, some couples wonder if they should have a first look because they’ve heard that it’s bad luck for the groom to see his bride before the ceremony. But in the days of arranged marriages when the couple didn’t meet before wedding, it was only bad luck because the groom might see her and run away!!!
So while the meaning behind the tradition might not stand up in today’s culture, there can still be pressure to keep certain traditions, and one tradition that holds popularity is for the bride’s father to walk her down the aisle. And even though my dad didn’t sell me as property and hand me over to my groom along with a goat and some chickens, he did walk me down the aisle as a symbol of me passing from my adolescence to married life, from relying on my parents to standing beside my husband.
When a bride and her father have a close relationship, there’s rarely a second thought about if he will walk her down the aisle on her wedding day – in fact, it’s probably something he’s dreamed about since his daughter was born. We totally love this tradition, and to see the father’s nervous face as he prepares to escort his daughter down the aisle is one of my favorite moments of a wedding day.
Now, I don’t know your family story, but I know that every family dynamic is different. And whether or not your dad is a part of your life, you have the option to choose who escorts you.
Let me say it again for the people in the back. You get to choose. Free of guilt or obligation. Free of tradition or what’s “normal.” Because it is your wedding, and only you and your partner can decide what is right, what makes sense to you, what matters. You want a wedding day that embraces who you are, what matters to you, and what you want for your marriage.
So if you’re close to your dad, and if it’s important to him (and that matters to you), ask him to walk you down the aisle. And of course, you can decide to have both your mom and dad walk escort you down the aisle!
But what if you have more than one father figure in your life? Consider asking them both! At one of our weddings, the bride wasn’t close to her father, but she had two adoring step-dads who walked her down the aisle together. At another wedding, the father of the bride walked with her half-way and then the step-father walked with her the remaining way.
And you’re in the wrong place if you think the bride can only be escorted by a man. The escort is someone who holds a piece of the bride’s heart closely, and by escorting her down the aisle, the escort is saying to the partner, “Love her like I’ve loved her, protect her like I’ve protected her, and guard her heart always.”
In the last year alone, we saw one bride escorted by her mom and grandfather, another by her brother and sister, and another walked down the aisle with her children. And in every instance, the bride felt that love and support from her chosen people, and it was a beautiful moment.
But do you know what the most wonderful thing about weddings is? Everyone is there to love and support you. Every guest in attendance was asked to be there because they are special to you and your partner. So if you can’t choose who should escort you down the aisle, you can march yourself down the aisle like the damn princess that you are. Head high with confidence about the decision you’re making to marry your partner, eyes focused on your forever love waiting at the alter. If it’s good enough for Meghan Markle, it’s good enough for me.
And finally, there’s an option that few consider but is too romantic not to mention – you can walk in with your partner! Although we haven’t had the chance to see this at one of our weddings (yet, fingers crossed), imagine walking down the aisle with your soon-to-be spouse. As the first day of the rest of your lives together, you have the option of starting the ceremony hand in hand, stepping into that new life together. We’ve heard of some couples completely ignoring that first look wives tale we started this post with, by spending the entire morning together, getting ready for their wedding in a state of peace and relaxation before walking down the aisle together. And to be totally honest, if I could do things again, this is the option I’d choose.