Wedding Etiquette Forum

Walking down the aisle alone.

So... I've been planning on walking down the aisle alone. I haven't mentioned this to my dad. I know, I should. I'll get around to it.

The thing is, I don't have a good reason, other than that's what I always pictured. I don't think my dad should "give me away" because I don't agree with the tradition. I've lived on my own for 10 years. Plus, my mom raised me just as much, if not more than my dad.

I would consider having them both walk me, but they're divorced and it would lead to awkward expressions and I know my mom would rather be as far away from my dad as possible. So I'm going alone.

Question: Will people assume I have a terrible relationship with my dad? Because I don't. He's not the world's greatest dad EVAR, but we talk at least twice a month. He's supportive. He's not super expressive of his emotions, but whatever. Is this only something people do when they don't want to recognize their father or want to publically express how crappy he is?
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Re: Walking down the aisle alone.

  • Maybe I'm judgy, but I would think the bride walking alone while her dad watches may have a poor relationship with him...

    My dad walked me but we left out the "who gives this bride away" part.
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  • Hmmm, that's a good question.

    How old are you?  I think if you were older, and walked alone, I would probably think more along of lines of you just feeling old enough that you should walk alone.  Does that even make sense?  If you were younger, in your 20s or something, I might think maybe you don't have a good relationship with your Dad.  I don't know really.  I've never seen it done so I have no idea what I would think or if I would think anything at all. 
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  • Dani, I'm 28. The only time I saw a bride walk alone was when her father was deceased, but I've only been to about 7 weddings, including the two in which I was a flower girl.

    My thought is that I could have my dad and his girlfriend walk down the aisle together after the guests are seated, followed by FI's parents, followed by my mom and stepfather. So that way he still gets a special part in the ceremony... but i guess it still wouldn't be as special.
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  • I would assume that you're on rocky terms with your father, sorry.

    If it's the "giving away" part that bothers you, this is what we used.  You could use/adapt it as you wanted:

    Others would ask, at this time, who gives the bride in marriage, but, as a woman is not property to be bought and sold, given and taken, I ask simply if she comes of her own will and if she has her family's blessing. Jennifer, is it true that you come of your own free will and accord?

    [BRIDE] Yes, it is true.

    With whom do you come and whose blessings accompany you.

    [FATHER] She comes with me, her father, and is accompanied by all of her family's blessings.ed


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  • That's not a bad idea Mery, I kind of like that.
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  • The only time I saw a bride walk alone is J&K wedding.

    But it's your wedding do what you want!
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  • tidetraveltidetravel member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments
    edited July 2010
    I like that idea too, Mery.

    I think you should consider his feelings in the matter, though.  He may be looking forward to the opportunity to walk you down the aisle or he may not care..  If he was looking forward to it, your decision could hurt him deeply, even if he doesn't say it.
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  • Thanks guys. Tide especially - I'll talk to my dad about it and give him options. Thanks for that wording. Something like that will probably be one of the options.

    I haven't mentioned it yet, because it's such a "it's not you, it's me, really" sort of speech.
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  • Maybe you can walk down the aisle alone, and he sits in the front pew on the end. When you get to the end, he can stand up and give you a kiss on the cheek. Would that work?
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  • A friend walked out of the building she was in and down the steps with both her dad and mom (outdoor ceremony), then hugged them both and sent them down the aisle without her to go sit down. She then walked down the aisle by herself. Nothing against her parents, she just felt like she wanted to go by herself to her new husband.

    Would something like that work?
  • I see what you're saying, but tide brings up some very good points.

    Could you do something like.... I don't know, a hug or something for your father when you reach the end of the aisle? If I saw a woman walking down the aisle alone I would think she's on poor terms with her father, but if she were clearly happy to see him at the end of it, I'd think differently.
  • These are all good ideas!

    I also just realized that my shoes are 3.5 inches, which will make me about 2 inches taller than my dad. :-P
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  • At our ceremony, my step-dad (who raised me) walked me down the aisle to the edge of the chairs and then my H came and met us there and took my arm and we walked the rest of the way to the front.  My step-dad took his seat, and that was it.  There was no "who gives this bride" or anything like that.
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  • bel138bel138 member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments
    I wouldn't think you were on bad terms with your dad. I would think you didn't agree with the patriarchal history of the tradition, or just plain wanted to walk by yourself. It's like the whole not taking your husband's name debate. Just not wanting to is a good enough reason.

    I walked in with DH, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
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  • If you want to walk down the aisle by yourself, that is totally fine.  It doesn't really matter what other people think.  I think it's an outdated tradition anyway - I really like Bel's idea of walking down with your DH. 
  • I don't know what I'd think, seeing that.

    My dad's role was to support me going down the aisle, he kissed me on the cheek, and shook J's hand. I looked at it just as much as him welcoming J into our family as anything else. And I don't recall the officiant asking "who gives this bride."
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  • I am walking 1/2 down alone, then meeting my parents who will walk me the rest of the way down the aisle. 
    Just another option.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_walking-down-aisle-alone?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:5af0786b-72bd-4a9b-b4e7-fffdde1ef4cePost:cd430d69-f7ac-4216-8212-33a24c14c7cf">Re: Walking down the aisle alone.</a>:
    [QUOTE]These are all good ideas! I also just realized that my shoes are 3.5 inches, which will make me about 2 inches taller than my dad. :-P
    Posted by msmerymac[/QUOTE]

    Not to deter from the original topic, but his was a big deal when I was trying to figure out my shoes!  My Dad and I are, basically, the same height.  I bought 3 1/4 inch heels.  Oh, well :P
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  • CellesCelles member
    2500 Comments Combo Breaker

    If I tried to walk down the aisle alone, I'd probably trip and fall in the grass. :3 


    I don't know.  I don't think I'd assume you had a poor relationship with your father, exactly... but I would probably wonder about it if he weren't included in the ceremony at all. 

    I like Tide's solution (although, personally, I'd leave out the "others might ask" part since it seems a little judgy).

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  • I'm walking down the aisle alone. Partially it's because of a bad relationship with my parents, although they don't really realize that we have a bad relationship (I bottle up everything). But partly because I don't care for that particular tradition. I'm 30, I've been on my own for a decade, and I don't ever ask my parents for anything. The last time my parents walked me anywhere would have been to the school bus stop in grade 2, so why on earth would I need them to walk me anywhere now? I'm just telling my parents that since we're getting married in a small church, we won't all fit down the aisle together (I evade as much as I bottle).

    I read a short article in the paper a week or two ago about the princess in Sweden getting married. Apparently in Sweden it's tradition for the groom to walk the bride down the aisle, like bel138 did. So maybe dad/parents walking daughter down the aisle is just a North American thing...
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  • I'm not into the whole "giving away" tradition and neither are my parents, but I had them both walk me down the aisle because I knew they wanted to.  They both kissed me on the cheek at the end of the aisle, H gave me his hand, and I stepped up onto our altar-type thing.  For some reason I am getting teary-eyed thinking of it!

    So, I understand how you feel but I bet your dad is looking forward to walking with you.  If you have a decent relationship, I'd go for it - just leave out the "giving away" part of it.
  • Mery,
    My girlfriend's parents hated each other but still gave her away jointly.  They just didn't sit together.

    My dad would be sad if he couldn't walk me even if I am an old ass lady.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_walking-down-aisle-alone?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:5af0786b-72bd-4a9b-b4e7-fffdde1ef4cePost:2efb8b61-8b56-4a34-bcb2-b97dec876dab">Re: Walking down the aisle alone.</a>:
    [QUOTE]Mery, My girlfriend's parents hated each other but still gave her away jointly.  They just didn't sit together. My dad would be sad if he couldn't walk me even if I am an old ass lady.
    Posted by smokeybailey[/QUOTE]

    Ugh, I'd have to talk to my mom about it first. She's the one who's super weird and still occassionally complains about her divorce to me. Don't wanna hear it.
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  • Oh, I hear you.  My GF had tons of issues with them.  If she has an issue, have her sit down in front and then maybe rise to kiss you or something.  That way they aren't walking together.  I would think that you and your dad weren't close if he didn't walk you.
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  • If you walked in by yourself, I would assume you had a poor relationship with your father.  But then, I don't have a great one with mine, so that's a conclusion I'd jump to quickly.

    If you walked in with your DH though (if that's something you're interested in), I would assume you just didn't like the tradition of your father "giving" you away.
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  • I wouldn't assume you have a poor relationship with your father, but I'd wonder about it.
    I'm in kind of a similar position. I am not that close with my dad, and I want to walk down the aisle alone.  However, he's paying for half of my wedding, and I don't want to disrespect him, so I'll probably ask him to anyway.  My sister doesn't have the best relationship with him either, and she walked down the aisle alone, so I don't want to hurt his feelings that neither of his daughters wanted him to walk us down the aisle.  But he is kind of an ass.  And my mom can't stand him, so I don't want her to be pissy that he is walking with me.  Ugh, parents.Undecided
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  • edited July 2010
    Wow, I'm kind of shocked at these answers.  I would never assume that the bride had a rocky relationship with her father if she walked alone.  I guess my perspective is skewed though because I hate, hate, hate this tradition.  It's tolerable with both parents, but it really bothers me when I see the dad walking his daughter down the aisle, which is like 99% of the weddings I've attended.  I have a good relationship with my dad, but never even considered this an option.  I didn't want to walk down an aisle by myself though--its really the whole aisle thing I'm not a fan of, so I just skipped it.  H & I just walked on a stage together.  My dad, a pastor, married us, so I don't think anyone could assume I skipped the aisle because I didn't want my dad to walk me down it.  Obviously, that's not the option everyone. 

    Are you the father-daugher dance?  If so, then that would probably correct anyone's misperceptions about walking alone.
  • I would either think you're modern and forward-thinking and/or have a bad relationship with your father. Personally, I'd rethink the idea of walking with your mother and father, which I think is the ideal, but if you really think your mom won't go for it, then I'd walk by myself.
  • edited July 2010
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_walking-down-aisle-alone?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:5af0786b-72bd-4a9b-b4e7-fffdde1ef4cePost:de909306-0f35-4adb-871f-36c41dd70438">Re: Walking down the aisle alone.</a>:
    [QUOTE]Are you the father-daugher dance?  If so, then that would probably correct anyone's misperceptions about walking alone.
    Posted by fangsiting[/QUOTE]

    <div>No. <img src="http://cdn.cl9.vanillaforums.com/downloaded/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-embarassed.gif" border="0" alt="Embarassed" title="Embarassed" /> But he really will thank me for that. He hates being the center of attention and we both have two left feet. That's the other side of the equation that I should have mentioned.</div><div>
    </div><div>None of our parents are paying for the wedding (except my mother who is paying for my dress and FI's parents who are paying for the RD). Their names weren't on the invitations, but they will all be listed in the program.</div><div>
    </div><div>I've always had an independent streak - like, I was the toddler who never wanted to sit in laps, always had to figure things out on my own, etc. So I don't think it would be surprising to anyone. I just don't want to hurt feelings.</div>
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  • I'm going to walk myself down, unless we decide to walk together, FI and I.  I talked to my dad about it, he was very cool with it.  I brought it up the idea of the giving away tradition not really meshing with our lifestyle, and that I feel it shows I'm going into the marriage of my own accord and on my own, blah blah blah.  He really agreed with it, and is proud of me I think.
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