Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Alternatives to father-daughter dance?

I'm in a situation where I am unable to dance with my father.  He was in a horrible accident years ago and is paralyzed (he's actually classified as incomplete quadriplegia).  I am extremely close to my father, always have been, and my mother is not in the picture.  I debated walking down the aisle myself, but I know my father wants to give me away.  So, I am having my brothers push his wheelchair as we hold hands and go down the aisle together.  Now for the dance.  What should I do?  Should I just omit it altogether?  I really don't like the idea of a photo slideshow.  I can't carry a tune, so I won't be singing him a song.  Any suggestions would help a lot!

Re: Alternatives to father-daughter dance?

  • edited December 2010
    I am sorry to hear about your Dad's situation. You could definitely omit it all together. Or perhaps you could ask him a song he would like to hear and it could be dedicated to your or vice versa. You could dedicate a song to your Dad.
  • i would dedicate a song to him. and he might even want to get onto the dance floor so maybe you can bring him out to the dance floor during any song and dance with him.
  • You definitely can omit it.  People who have able-bodied fathers often choose to omit the father-daughter dance for a variety of reasons so it wouldn't be out-of-the-ordinary.

    Have you asked him about it?  He might have an opinion or idea.  One girl I knew who had her dad in a wheelchair sat beside him during "their song" and they just chatted and spent a few quiet minutes together.  No one danced, but they weren't the main "centre of attention" with everyone staring at them.
  • My father and I are extremely close, but he told me he doesn't want to dance :P so I don't think it would be a big deal to omit.

    Maybe give him a sentimental gift in front of everyone? I know that gift-giving is custom anyway, but maybe you could give him a typical gift whenever custom dictates, and then in the middle of the reception where the father-daughter dance would usually take place, you can give him something really special in front of everyone.
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  • I like the idea of giving him a gift in front of everyone. Maybe have a "father-daughter" song playing with a photo slideshow when you give him the gift?
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  • Boy this is a tough one.  If you feel comfortable enough to ask him what his preferences are, I would suggest starting with that. 

    It sounds like you still want to honor him in some way, so I would make sure to voice the alternatives you're thinking of so he knows you're not trying to eliminate something altogether. 

    I agree with pp and think a gift giving scenario with a song playing is a great idea.  Or give a toast and gift to your dad if you want to skip the music. 
  • I'm not so sure about the gift giving thing, especially if you are at all close to your mom.  People don't expect the bride to dance with both of her parents, but giving a gift to just one seems exclusive.  You might get some hurt feelings there. 

    I would suggest playing his favorite song and sitting with him during it.  You will have lots to talk about, and you will still get to spend time with him even if he can't dance with you.  You could even have the DJ announce that the song is dedicated to you and him.  That would make him feel special.
  • I'm in a similar situation - my father has MS and is unable to walk. We are completely omitting the father-daughter dance. 
    They are actually very emotional for me to even watch at weddings I go to - I usually walk out of the room during them because I get upset... 

    Dedicating a song might be nice - but check with your father first on how he feels about this. You don't want to bring more attention to the fact that you can't do the dance together. 
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  • Thank you everyone, this was a great help.  I have not spoken to him about it, simply because I get very emotional about the fact.  But I know that I need to, and I will.  Thank you for all of the suggestions and support!
  • What did you end up doing? And how did it go? I'm getting married in October and am going through a similar situation. My father is also in a wheelchair. I love him soooo much and want him to feel special but also don't want to cause unwanted attention. I haven't talked to him about it yet, but will. Just curious what you decided to do!
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