Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Stepfather to Father Handoff: How do we do it tastefully?

Both my father and my stepfather have been significant parts of my life, and I love them both so much that I want to incorporate them into the ceremony and reception as best as I can.

I had planned on having my stepfather walk me into the ceremony and hand me off to my father half way down the aisle. But how do I do this without it looking clumsy? Does my stepfather continue to follow behind me, or does he sit in the center row of seats? Does he stand there and wait until I make it to the altar, then take his seat at the front? Where does my dad sit if my stepdad will be sitting next to my mother? There's absolutely no animosity between my two dads, but I don't want things to feel awkward. 

Also, what's the deal with the father/daughter dance? I originally wanted to give that exclusively to my dad, but now I'm wondering if I could have my stepfather cut in about halfway through as well. Am I making things more complicated than they need to be?! 

I'd really appreciate your opinions on this. 

Re: Stepfather to Father Handoff: How do we do it tastefully?

  • I wouldn't have your step-dad cut-in; that might look awkward. You could just have your dad step away and have your step-dad come up.

    As for walking, if there's no animosty, could they walk you together? That would look the least awkward I think.

    If not, have your step-dad just wait, I guess, until you and your dad get to the front, then he can walk the rest of the way down and sit with your mom.

    Or divvy it up and give one dad the aisle walking honour and the other dad the first-dance honour.

    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • I had the same concerns as I am close with both of my fathers.  I was married on a beach, so the transition was a little easier for me.  My step-father walked me down from the house and down to the bottom of the stairs that met the sand and passed me off to my father.  My step-father waited a few moments until we got to the "altar" and took his seat next to my mother.  Once my father "passed me off"  (I've always hated how that sounds) my father took a seat next to my step-father.

    I did my father daughter dance first and then I had a dance for my step-father and I.  


  • I had the same conundrum... here's what we did:

    My stepdad escorted my grandmother into the ceremony and then returned to the staging area to get me. My dad escorted his wife up the aisle to the first row and then returned halfway down the aisle to a reserved seat. My younger brother escorted my mom up the aisle to the first row.

    My stepdad escorted me into the ceremony. Halfway, my dad stepped into the aisle but stood to the side so that my stepdad and I could hug (and he gave me a kiss on the cheek) and so the photographer could get a nice photo. We were supposed to wait for my stepdad to then walk to the front row and stand with my mom, but in the excitement of it all, my dad and I forgot and proceeded forward. My dad handed me off to DH and stood next to his wife. My stepdad walked along a few steps behind us and then slid into the first row.

    We didn't have a "who gives this woman..." line; the reverend asked "if the bride's family granted their blessing", and all four parents answered "we do" in unison. (He also asked "if the groom's family granted their blessing", two which MIL and FIL replied "we do".)

    For the spotlight dances, I was a little conflicted - I think I actually asked about that on TK (E board maybe?) because I know a lot of guests can get bored with too many spotlight dances. However, it ultimately meant a lot to me and both my dad and stepdad to do the dances...

    DH and I were announced and had our cake already on the floor. We cut the cake as the first course of dinner was being served. We did table visits between courses, and then as the entrees were being eaten, we did our first dance. After the first dance (while people were still eating), I had the father/daughter dance with my dad. DH and MIL had their mother/son dance immediately following, and then I had a second father/daughter dance with my stepdad. 

    We did sacrifice a little of our eating time to do it that way, but I feel it's what worked best for us. We tried to keep the spotlight songs somewhat short, and we tried to do it while people were finishing up eating so that those who wanted to watch could and those who really didn't care had something else to do.
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I agree with @hisgirlfriday13. Unless everything is very well-choreographed and your venue is well-suited for a hand-off, it can look super awkward. I'd ask them to both walk you down together; I think that would be really nice.
    now with ~* INCREASED SASSINESS *~
  • I personally think hand offs are awkward. 

    I like the idea of either one on each side walking you down or as His Girl suggested having one walk you and the other do the father daughter dance. 
  • I was a bridesmaid in a beautiful wedding this weekend and the bride involved both her father and step-father.  Her grandparents were escorted in and seated, followed by her dad. He had a seat about halfway down the aisle and sat while the bridesmaid walked and took their places. Then, the bride was escorted by both her mom and step-father down the aisle until they reached the halfway point where her dad was waiting. He simply stood, and the bride was handed off to him. He walked her down the rest of the aisle to her husband, and her mom and step-father walked behind them to their seats in the front row. I didn't think it was clumsy at all; it seemed to work really seamlessly and made both fathers feel special and involved :)
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