Walking one's daughter up the aisle can be deemed one of the most momentous occasions in a father's life. It symbolises the transition of what once was a little girl into a married woman, and carries immense emotional significance for both father and daughter. As a father, you want this moment to be perfect and memorable. It's the first-time guests — and usually even the soon-to-be spouse — will see the bride in her wedding dress, and it marks the start of the marriage journey.
Traditionally, fathers walk daughters up the aisle; once the pair reach the altar, she's then presented to her partner to be wed. The act of the father walking his daughter up the aisle is seen as a way to show support for this next chapter in life. These days it's looked at as less of a "giving away" and more of a "letting go".
In this guide, I'll provide you with valuable advice and practical tips, to help you navigate this special role and create a cherished memory that will last a lifetime.
• Embrace the Emotional Journey: Walking your daughter up the aisle is a bittersweet experience. Allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions, from pride and joy to a touch of sadness. It's natural to feel a mix of emotions as you realise your daughter is embarking on a new chapter of her life. As you walk your daughter up the aisle, take the time to savour the moment and remember that your presence and support are essential to her happiness. Look into her eyes, share a smile, and reassure her of your love.
• Communicate and Collaborate: Discuss the logistics and details of the processional with your daughter and the wedding planner. Understand the timing, the music choice, and the pace at which you'll walk together. Be open to any special requests she may have and work together to create a plan that suits both of you. Ensure that both of you are in sync. Practise the hand-off to the groom, ensuring a smooth transition.
• Choose the Right Attire: Your attire should complement the overall wedding style while reflecting your role as the father of the bride. Consult with the couple or the wedding planner to determine the dress code and choose an outfit that suits the occasion.
• Be Prepared for Tears: Weddings are emotional events, and it's perfectly normal for both you and your daughter to shed tears of joy. Prepare yourself emotionally and be there to offer comfort if needed. A handkerchief tucked into your pocket can come in handy for such moments.
I often get these questions when planning the wedding.
Should I stand on the left side or the right side?
Traditionally, in a Christian or non-denominational wedding, the bride typically stands on the left.
What do I do when I get to the end of the aisle?
The father usually passes the bride off to her future spouse and both join together at the altar. I usually suggest a handshake or hug with the groom and kiss on the cheek from the bride as a final act of endearment.
Does he have to "give me away"?
Of course not. If this tradition turns you off, you can have the officiant skip this portion of the ceremony when he asks the question "who gives this woman to be married to this man" and, instead, have your partner simply thank your father when he reaches the altar.
Walking your daughter up the aisle is an honour and a privilege. It's a time for reflection, celebration, and the reaffirmation of your love and support for your daughter. By following this guide, you'll be equipped to embrace this role with grace, create lasting memories, and make this cherished moment one that your daughter will treasure forever.