Can My Mother Walk Me Down The Aisle

Can My Mother Walk Me Down The Aisle

Can my mother walk me down the aisle in lieu of my father or stepfather

My parents are divorced and I’m still in close contact with both sets of parents. Regarding the walk down the aisle, what would you recommend? I’ve heard that some brides have both their biological father and step-father as escorts, but that idea doesn’t appeal to me. Is it totally inappropriate for the mother-of-the-bride escort her down the aisle? There is nothing inappropriate about your mother’s escorting you down the aisle, if that is how you wish to handle an otherwise awkward situation.

If having two escorts doesn’t appeal to you for aesthetic reasons, consider doing what a friend of mine did: she had her biological father escort her halfway to the altar, where her stepfather was waiting (he had walked only halfway up, following the wedding party’s processional.) Her stepfather then took the bride’s arm and finished the walk with her, the bride’s father marching behind the two of them and joining her stepmother in their pew. When the minister asked “Who presents this woman to be married?” all four of her parents joined in saying “We do!” In other words, although the bride had two escorts, at no time did all three people walk abreast—and that ungainly vision may be what you find objectionable. (Not to mention unfeasible in a narrow church aisle with a stiffly crinolined skirt!)

This may still strike you as being uncomfortable somehow, and you may wish to be escorted by your mother, or no one at all. If you are an older, independent bride, it may be the very appearance of being “given away” that you would like to avoid, and walking alone solves that problem neatly. It also precludes any appearance of favoritism on your part—no one can then accuse you of choosing your mother over your father.

The real question is how your fathers will react to a nontraditional processional. Will either of them feel that their role has been usurped? If they both had a hand in raising you as a child, then it will be impossible for you to choose one or the other, but then you will have to articlate to these gentlemen why it is you chose not to have them both take over the task. Can you do this without offending them? (“It looks wrong to me,” may not be explanation enough for a man whose feelings have been hurt.) Can you involve them in some other way in the wedding that will avoid making them feel snubbed — in a unity candle ceremony, for example?

Of course, your situation may be the sort that the etiquette books choose to sweep under the rug, the sort where none of the standard answers seem to fit. I know of many young people whose fathers left home when they were very small, and their mothers remarried late in life, after the girls had left home or were well into adolescence and no longer needed a father figure. In cases like this, where the mother has raised her daughter nigh-singlehandedly, no one should be offended if the bride chooses to be escorted by her.

Although people are fond of saying that the wedding is the bride’s day and she ought to feel free to execute her every whim, you owe it to yourself to think of how your decisions will affect your relationships with those you care about most. Although you dislike the idea being doubly escorted, if it proves to be the simplest solution to keep peace in the family, I would urge you to reconsider your objections.


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