Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Estranged-ish Dad

I've seen a lot of posts/questions (and good answers) about replacing dads in various traditions, like walking down the aisle and father/daughter dance. However, it seems that for most of these cases, the bride's dad isn't invited to the wedding at all. My dad will be at the wedding (ceremony and reception), but because of our - uh, let's call it tense - relationship, I won't be having him do those things. My mom will be walking me down the aisle and I haven't decided if I'm doing a dance with her or just skipping it.

Anyway, my question is whether people have experience (or are planning this experience) and how awkward/potentially contentious it has been. My dad's parents will be there as well as my siblings (all of whom do talk to him), and I'm worried about backlash in general, as well as the utter awkwardness of my dad watching someone else walk me down the aisle.

Help?

Re: Estranged-ish Dad

  • I think it's great that you are going with your Mom to walk you down the aisle.

    If you have a really tense relationship, will it be much of a surprise to your guests that your Dad isn't walking you down the aisle?

    Also, I am just trying to imagine what guest will come up to on your wedding day and be visibly upset with you for having your Mom walk you down the aisle...and if they do, tell them you chose the option that is best for you. End of conversation.

    As for your Dad, is he expecting that he is going to walk you down the aisle? If so, you may want to give him a heads up about your decision to have only your Mom walk you as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. This is so if he is upset, he can vent his frustration and then hopefully get over it and be happy for you on your wedding day.

  • It's great you are having your mom do all of that.  I wouldn't bring it up in front of other relatives prior to the wedding, as it could be throwing a match onto gasoline. Just because it shouldn't be a surprise, does not mean that your family does not have their own opinions.  If they ask beforehand, depending on the person, say either it is handled, or mom is doing it.

    Not sure what your father is like, but I have been in a similar situation, although my father is not invited.  My grandmother firmly believes because he has a pulse and he contributed to my conception that he is entitled to a walk AND father daughter dance.  My father is the type of person who plays the victim card ALL. THE. TIME. Even if he was invited, he would throw a tantrum the day of about his "rights" not being recognized, and I would still get a shame on you from granny.  If he is the type of person that expects this, but could still be happy day of without it, let him know early on.
  • Thank you to both of you for replying. @pupatella - I like your point that it would pretty weird for someone to approach a bride to say something to her on her wedding day. I hope that's true about this. I am planning on giving him a heads up at some point between now and the wedding. I also don't want him to drink at the wedding because he gets even more obnoxious when he's drunk and I'm already worried he'll say or do something without that influence. Not sure how exactly to go about all that, but I'll have to take care of it at some point.

    @Knottie1437418780 - I feel like that is a common feeling (that because he is your father, he deserves certain things) and I worry about that, too. By now everyone who is invited to our wedding knows about this scenario (well, except for some of FI's family and friends, though they must have some idea as they've met my mom and her boyfriend and I've never even mentioned my dad), so none of this should be a surprise to them. I'd hope it's not a surprise to my dad either, but you never know with him - he's very narcissistic and probably assumes that even though we haven't spoken more than a civil conversation at events we both had to be at in years, I still want him to do those things.

    In sum: you are both right, I need to tell him in advance. And I guess from his response I can gauge how reasonable he'll be at the actual event. Fun!

    Thanks for your help - I appreciate hearing from people who understand or can at least sympathize.
    Pupatella
  • abf115 said:
    Thank you to both of you for replying. @pupatella - I like your point that it would pretty weird for someone to approach a bride to say something to her on her wedding day. I hope that's true about this. I am planning on giving him a heads up at some point between now and the wedding. I also don't want him to drink at the wedding because he gets even more obnoxious when he's drunk and I'm already worried he'll say or do something without that influence. Not sure how exactly to go about all that, but I'll have to take care of it at some point.

    @Knottie1437418780 - I feel like that is a common feeling (that because he is your father, he deserves certain things) and I worry about that, too. By now everyone who is invited to our wedding knows about this scenario (well, except for some of FI's family and friends, though they must have some idea as they've met my mom and her boyfriend and I've never even mentioned my dad), so none of this should be a surprise to them. I'd hope it's not a surprise to my dad either, but you never know with him - he's very narcissistic and probably assumes that even though we haven't spoken more than a civil conversation at events we both had to be at in years, I still want him to do those things.

    In sum: you are both right, I need to tell him in advance. And I guess from his response I can gauge how reasonable he'll be at the actual event. Fun!

    Thanks for your help - I appreciate hearing from people who understand or can at least sympathize.
    The only way you can make sure your father doesn't drink is if you don't have alcohol available at your wedding.  You can't tell adults how to behave, and you can't single him out as the only one who isn't allowed to drink.  If he does or says something obnoxious, it will be on him, not on you.
    PupatellaCMGragainkimmiinthemitten
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    I think that whether or not you have alcohol at your wedding, I'd have security to remove anyone who needs it. 

    I'd warn your father and grandmother that he is not walking you down the aisle, doing a "father/daughter" dance with you, or otherwise going to be acting as the Father of the Bride at your wedding, and that security will be on hand to remove anyone who behaves inappropriately, including making any emotional scenes, at your wedding.  I'd also indicate that this is a closed subject.

  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    Late to the party as usual, but I had a similar issue.  

    Backstory:  My dad and I had a strained relationship for a long time for a lot of reasons.  Though we did have a relationship, it was never a close one.  He and my mom were divorced for 30 years by the time I got married, he had remarried and had a second family and never saw him much.  I debated the decision of how involved I wanted him to be quite a bit.  My H let me handle it (my circus, my monkeys).  I finally decided to have my brother that I am very close to have the honor of walking me down the aisle.  I took my dad to lunch and had a sit down with him about how I was feeling and what I had decided.  He initially took it well, but then turned on me and caused a whole lotta drama.  We did work it out in the end, and cleared lots of 30 year old air in the process.  

    Part of his issue was "what will people think" as to why he's not walking me down the aisle.  I don't think he realized (and I chose not to point out) that anybody who knows history, knows why. Luckily my dad was neither a narcissist or an alcoholic, so things ended up pretty smooth, so I can't relate to that.  Your grandmother and anyone else needs to understand that blood & DNA do not make fathers.  Absent/missing/toxic fathers have no RIGHT or EXPECTATION of those honors.  Do what's best for you on your wedding day. 

     

  • @Jen4948 - I like the distinction between guest and FOB - I'll definitely use it.

    @MrsMack10612 - Thank you so much for sharing - hearing about anyone in a similar situation is helpful/makes me feel a little less crazy. I will have to sit down with him like you suggested - I'm worried that he won't take it well initially or ever, but I have to try and then maybe we can even work through some things like you were able to. PS - I love "my monkeys, my circus"

    @adk19 - As for I can only stop him from drinking by having a dry wedding, I understand where you're coming from. I do hope that when I sit down to talk to him that I can bring up that one problem in our relationship is his drinking and kind of go from there on that.

    Thanks everyone!
    PupatellaMrsMack10612
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    nerdwife said:
    @Jen4948 - I like the distinction between guest and FOB - I'll definitely use it.

    @MrsMack10612 - Thank you so much for sharing - hearing about anyone in a similar situation is helpful/makes me feel a little less crazy. I will have to sit down with him like you suggested - I'm worried that he won't take it well initially or ever, but I have to try and then maybe we can even work through some things like you were able to. PS - I love "my monkeys, my circus"

    @adk19 - As for I can only stop him from drinking by having a dry wedding, I understand where you're coming from. I do hope that when I sit down to talk to him that I can bring up that one problem in our relationship is his drinking and kind of go from there on that.

    Thanks everyone!
    I agree you should have a conversation with him (if you don't occasionally meet one on one in person, I don't know that it needs to be in person) but to the bolded, if your dad hasn't curbed his drinking in order to repair his relationship with you, he likely won't do it now so you can have the wedding you want.  

    Invite him as a regular guest, and if he gets out of control let his family or security take care of it from there.
    image
    STARMOON44
  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    nerdwife said:
    @Jen4948 - I like the distinction between guest and FOB - I'll definitely use it.

    @MrsMack10612 - Thank you so much for sharing - hearing about anyone in a similar situation is helpful/makes me feel a little less crazy. I will have to sit down with him like you suggested - I'm worried that he won't take it well initially or ever, but I have to try and then maybe we can even work through some things like you were able to. PS - I love "my monkeys, my circus"

    @adk19 - As for I can only stop him from drinking by having a dry wedding, I understand where you're coming from. I do hope that when I sit down to talk to him that I can bring up that one problem in our relationship is his drinking and kind of go from there on that.

    Thanks everyone!
    You are very welcome.  I hope it works out for the best.  Feel free to PM me if you want to chat more.

     

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