Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

How to tell my dad I want someone else to walk me down the aisle?

Hello, Knotties! 10 days until the big day and I need some advice!

First, a little background: my dad has always been a terrible alcoholic (the sober years were wonderful), and while I was in college, he had an affair and my parents divorced. When he isn't drinking, he is a great father, and I think he really does care about me. The past few years, his behavior has been unpredictable and he has been in and out of rehab and the hospital multiple times. He's a pathological liar and undependable. He's skipped out on paying for some of his part of the wedding, putting my fiance and I in a (small) financial bind, and sometimes he just drops off the face of the Earth. All that being said, I do love him (he's my dad!), and I was planning on having him walk my down the aisle and doing a father/daughter dance until his most recent relapse. 10 days until my wedding and he was just released from the hospital and detox.

My family didn't know if he'd even make it to the wedding so I asked my grandfather to walk me down the aisle and dance with me. My grandpa has always been more of a father than my actual father. He is the most important man in my life, and I felt very much at ease imagining not having to put on a face just to have my dad walk me down and dance with me. It was also a relief knowing my family wouldn't have to watch him like a hawk around the bar. 

Well, like I said, my dad was just released from detox, called me, and told me he bought his plane tickets for my wedding because "he wouldn't do that to me!" Now I'm in a bind. I don't know if my family has told him my plans for my grandpa or not, but I don't know how to break the news to him. Even after everything, it would break my heart to hurt his feelings, but I know I would be happier with my grandpa. I've already shelled out a ton of money to re-do the ceremony programs, and the vendors have been updated with the changes. My mother and the rest of my family believes he might not even show up and that, if history repeats itself, he'll be drinking again before that day, and I cannot handle that behavior at my wedding, especially if I have to dance with him!

So... help! What do I do/how do I break the news? Thanks in advance for your help!
Garewedding

Re: How to tell my dad I want someone else to walk me down the aisle?

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    OP - If you haven't spoken to your father about this again.  Do it now.  Rip the band-aid off now, you will feel so much better to finally have it out in the open.  What your father does with the information you provide to him, is up to him.  Hopefully he will understand, come and attend your wedding sober.

    But it seems like you really have no idea how your father will react and what he will do.  So just mentally prepare yourself for each possibility.  And while it is noble that you do not want to hurt your father's feelings.  Think about all the times he has probably hurt yours while under the influence of his addiction.  I think it is time that you protect your feelings.

    I know 10 days before the wedding can be a crazy time, but see if you can find and attend an al-anon meeting prior to your wedding and talk out your feelings with people who have been where you are or can at least relate to your situation.

    kimmiinthemittenOurWildKingdom
  • Wow - you are all truly amazing! Thank you so much for suggestions and support. I am trying to figure out the best time to call him and tell him the news, as he is most likely not completely stable yet, but I'd like to involve him somehow in the wedding. Maybe something that won't be noticed as missing if he ends up not showing up? Any suggestions?
    charlotte989875
  • TyvmTyvm member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer Name Dropper
    Maybe something that won't be noticed as missing if he ends up not showing up? Any suggestions?
    A reading would actually work for this alright, assuming you think he'll be okay reading in front of a crowd. Father-daughter dance is a staple, too.


    k thnx bye

    OurWildKingdom
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Wow - you are all truly amazing! Thank you so much for suggestions and support. I am trying to figure out the best time to call him and tell him the news, as he is most likely not completely stable yet, but I'd like to involve him somehow in the wedding. Maybe something that won't be noticed as missing if he ends up not showing up? Any suggestions?

    He could escort his mother to her seat prior to the processional.  This is a job you could always give to a cousin or uncle last minute, if needed.

    He could also cut into your dance with your grandfather.  You start dancing with your grandfather and after a minute or so, your father would cut in and finish the dance with you.  This should be something that can easily be conveyed to the DJ before the dance starts.

    As PP said, a reading could also work.  I would keep the reading regardless and just have a friend prepared to read as a back up.  I would do this for a friend in your situation, no questions asked.

    If you are having introductions into the reception or announcing the parents from their seats, he can be included during this.

    Just make sure you have a bout available for him to wear, so he can be identified as a special guest, if nothing else works.

    Also, don't be afraid to provide your venue with his picture so they can be prepared to escort him out if he does drink and gets out of hand.  Bartenders may be able to water down his drinks, etc.  Your venue has probably had to handle similar issues in the past, so don't be afraid to get them involved to help make the day go smoother.

    OurWildKingdomKnottie1452098987wink0erin
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'm sorry you are dealing with this, OP.  As another aside, please don't feel guilty about this.  He has made choices, and there are consequences to those choices.  It's great that he is trying to get clean, but that doesn't mean you need to bend over backwards to accommodate him.  If he is truly trying to make amends, he will realize that his actions have lead to this consequence. If this is enough to send him over the edge and into drinking again, quite honestly, he wasn't ready to change to begin with.  I say this as an individual with a close family member who is an addict/alcoholic.  PPs have great suggestions on how you can include him if he does show and is sober.  

    Also, have you ever been to Al-anon?  It can be a great resource for family members of alcoholics.  You seem like you are very realistic of the situation, but I always like to provide the resource just in case people have never heard of it.  It's helped my Mom a lot.  


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    OurWildKingdomOliveOilsMom
  • I've always thought about it, and my grandpa has gone in the past just to help understand everything. Something to think about in the future for sure. :) thank you for the advice!
    levioosacharlotte989875
  • bridetobe26-2bridetobe26-2 member
    Second Anniversary 25 Love Its 10 Comments Name Dropper
    edited June 2016
    Hey OP,

    I can empathize with your situation. My grandfather passed away a year and a half ago, and he was going to be the one to walk me down the aisle. He has been a stable father figure in my life and my best friend since I was born. My dad is extremely bipolar and an alcoholic, and my parents divorced when I was eight. I have had to call the police on him for his drunken escapades as early as the age of 14. This is just one example of why he has not been a father figure to me in a while.

    I have decided to walk down the aisle by myself after a lot of thinking. I am trying to figure out how to talk to my dad about this, especially if he just expects to be doing this. My fiance has supported me way more in the past five years than my father has, so I don't believe he has the right to do that. I am a grown woman putting myself through college, so I will be taking these steps alone.

    I hope everything works out for you!

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    OliveOilsMomgeebee908charlotte989875
  • Thank you for your support! My dad has also been previously diagnosed as bi-polar and refuses to accept treatment. I know how hard that can be. You are strong, brave, and I commend you for your decision! 
    bridetobe26-2
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Hi everyone, just wanted to reach out again and say thank you. Well, a huge weight is off my shoulders. My aunt just notified me that my dad is back in rehab so he will not be at my wedding. As unfortunate as that is, I believe it is a huge blessing in disguise. Thank you again for all of your support and recommendations!
    I'm sorry to hear that, but I am happy that you are feeling more at peace about the wedding.  Stick around!  


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    bridetobe26-2susiesnowflake92OliveOilsMom
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Hi everyone, just wanted to reach out again and say thank you. Well, a huge weight is off my shoulders. My aunt just notified me that my dad is back in rehab so he will not be at my wedding. As unfortunate as that is, I believe it is a huge blessing in disguise. Thank you again for all of your support and recommendations!
    I'm glad your dad is getting the help he needs, and I salute you for being compassionate but not enabling.
    susiesnowflake92MairePoppy
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