Walked Down the Aisle
When Lauren walked down the aisle at her wedding with 14 attendants, and 250 guests, her brother escorted her down her once in a lifetime entrance.
Although her father sat in the first row, he’d never been a big part of her life, nor a very positive force in her life.
Despite the “shoulds” she’d been subjected to and which you can read your own emphasis into, (“He’s your FATHER! He should walk you down the aisle,”) Lauren decided to forego tradition. Instead she picked the person who’d been by her side, comforted and laughed with her, and stepped into the vacuum left by her dad’s schizophrenia, hence, absence from her life.
Honored another way
Although her Dad didn’t have the honor of walking her down the aisle, the fact that he was there, in the first row, was a statement that things had changed. His first-row seat was still a sign of respect. Even of forgiveness.
Her brother beamed with pride when he answered “I DO” to my question “who brings Lauren…”
Choosing her brother instead of her father to walk her down the aisle was a choice Lauren was glad she’d made.
What’s Behind the Tradition
Being walked down the aisle is symbolic of the first provider and protector accepting and giving way (not Away) to the new person who will protect her self-esteem and personhood in the next state of the bride’s life. For Lauren, that role was given to the man who earned the honor, not the one whose genes designated the right.
When Justin and Carol married, Justin’s Dad, whom he couldn’t rescue from homelessness, (he wouldn’t come off the streets) wore the new suit his son had bought for him and they walked up the aisle together. This gesture wasn’t customary but Justin wanted his father to know he was loved and respected just as he was. Justin’s gesture was untraditionally untraditional.
Through hell to tears of joy
Andrea’s parents were still married but they’d been through hell for 25 years. But 10 months ago her Dad had finally committed to AA, and been sober as well as in recovery. Andrea loved her father, despite all the turmoil his drinking had caused, and asked him to walk her down the aisle. Which he did. And he cried. She cried. Her betrothed cried. Guests cried. Tears of joy.
It was a cry fest of relief and appreciation.
Ashley’s Dad walked her in and when asked who accompanied her as she and her husband-to-be made their mutual choice to marry each other, he answered, “her family and I.”
This is a more common response these days than “I Do.”
Last but not least is Courtney. She’s a fiercely independent person, and it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that she chose to walk in on her own. Her parents were part of the processional, but she wanted to make the statement that she was her own person. Tradition, to a certain extent, (after all, she still wore a white wedding gown and carried a bouquet) would have stood in her way to making the statement of equality and self-reliance that was so important to her and her husband.
No less difficult, nor easy
The point is that when it comes to your wedding day, there’s no right or wrong. Your marriage is not going to be more perfect and easy nor difficult because you follow tradition or you don’t.
God isn’t up in the clouds watching the wedding and saying, “Oh oh… Those two are doing it all wrong. I’ll have to send them to hell for this transgression.” No, no, no. God is love, not etiquette or tradition. I say, “do your thing … Love.”
If someone doesn’t understand
What IS important is that you understand for what’s right for you. If someone doesn’t understand and prefers you keep to tradition, you can always
- thank them for their opinion
- mention that it must be hard going against tradition for them
- ignore them
- be insulting
- do it your way.
If you give in to pressures now to respect tradition and the should’s people will always have for you, you’re hooking up to someone else’s preferences that may or may not have work for them. We never know why people insist on tradition, or do we?
Who TO walk down the aisle with
What’s important is for you to figure out what matters most to you. Who do you feel most supported by? Who was there for you? Walk down the aisle with THAT person as your ceremony begins.
We’re in a time of recreating tradition. Regardless of who does or doesn’t walk you down the aisle, hold on to the one who honors most who you are. You’re amazing to be taking the great risk of saying “I DO” in the face of not knowing what the future may bring. Walk in confident, ready and open to a wonderful mysterious future, letting go of the old and embracing your new normal.
For more information on how I’ll support you making your own choices, traditional or not, please fill out our Contact Us form. I’ll get back with you ASAP.
To see photos of the happy couples I’ve led AFTER they’ve been walked down the aisle please visit the Facebook Page, Michigan Wedding Officiants, read my reviews on my newest wedding partner, TheKnot.com or my “traditional” partner, WeddingWire.com.
For a wonderful example of the kind of ceremony I can create through the Extraordinary Wedding Package, Kayla and Jordan shared their video which features the ceremony more than any other video of a wedding I’ve done has.