For as long as weddings have been celebrated, it has been customary for someone to give the bride “away” to her groom. Usually, this part of the ceremony is carried out by a father figure or male family member that has played an important role in the bride’s life.

The concept behind the tradition of giving away a bride is that this person has been part of raising and caring for her. In “giving her away,” they are passing on that responsibility to the spouse. Because of this, a bride’s sole male caretaker and parent is a wonderful choice.

However, not every bride has such a figure in her life. Furthermore, looking at how this tradition originated, one may not like the idea of this tradition because of the sexist connotations that could be associated with it. With these things in mind, perhaps you are looking for an alternative to this tradition?

Truthfully, any number of people could be considered to give a bride away! Here are some things to think about as you’re making this decision:

​A FATHER FIGURE

In the case of a divorced or widowed parent getting remarried, a bride may want a stepparent to give her away. If you’re closer to your stepfather than you are to your birth father, there is nothing wrong with this decision.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some fathers feel that giving their daughter away is a right just for being her parent. However, considering the modern-day diversity of family situations, this concept is very outdated. Your wedding isn’t solely for the benefit of your family and guests, so the decision is yours.

A MOTHER, GUARDIAN, OR CLOSE FAMILY MEMBER

Again, if the father of the bride is no longer around, estranged from the bride or the brides feels that her mother or other guardian/family member has assumed the typical role and responsibilities of a father in her life, this may be the obvious choice for her. Ask yourself this question: Who has been an integral and responsible part of your upbringing and care?

If you’re closer to another family member, even if she’s a woman, you could have this person give you away.

MULTIPLE PEOPLE

If you can’t choose just one person, want both of your parents to give you away, or simply want to avoid hurting any feelings on your wedding day, you can choose to walk down the aisle with two or more family members! This non-traditional approach may be a great way to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings and include all appropriate parties in your ceremony!

WALKING ALONE

There is absolutely no rule stating that a bride has to be given away. If you feel that you don’t want to be given away by anyone in particular, you want to avoid hurting feelings or you’re just an independent lady, you can absolutely walk yourself down the aisle.

The tradition of being given away is a very old one and in some ways, outdated. As the bride, you have the choice to be given away or not.

Just remember that your wedding day is a very important event and not just to you and your fiancé. It will be photographed, videotaped and remembered for many years to come. The last thing you want is to leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth—so, if you’re choosing not to have your father give you away (for whatever reason), you should respectfully speak with him about your reasons for this decision and be as kind as possible so that everyone is still able to enjoy your wedding day.

Being given away is a very meaningful part of a wedding ceremony, so you’ll want to think about who will make you the happiest as you are walked down the aisle. Whether you choose your father, stepfather, uncle, mother or even your best friend, you’re in control of who gives you away. Just make sure that you choose a good pair of hands to send you off.

Image by Justin Tearney