Post # 1
Sorry that this is sort of long, but I am literally at wit’s end. My parents divorced when I was two, and my mother re-married to my step-father when I was 4. While my biological father was present in my life, I lived with my mother and my step-father, and so clearly my step-father was more involved in my day-to-day upbringing. My biological father also remarried, to a woman with three children and he moved in with them. While my biological father and I do see each other (only when I go to visit them), I don’t feel like we are very close. Yet I wanted to honor him in my wedding as well. I asked my biological father to walk me down the first half of the aisle, with my step-father walking me the rest of the way. Each father would have their own father/daughter dance. My biological father said he was ok with this, but then a month later called me and said he thinks it’s not right that my step-father get to walk me down the second half of the aisle, because my biological father is my “blood” and he should have that right. He said he was very upset and made belligerent remarks about my step-father. To my regret, the conversation got a bit heated and didn’t end on the best of terms. I called my biological father to discuss the issue further a couple of days later, and to apologize if anything I had said had hurt him, and to express again that I wasn’t doing this to hurt him or spite him. His response was that he was “just responding to the cards he was dealt” and that if I continued on this course he won’t be attending the wedding. Basically, he issued me an ultimatum saying if I didn’t change the plans he wouldn’t attend the wedding. This was in September.
I don’t want to hurt my biological father, but I don’t feel like I should change the plans. My rationale behind having my biological father lead off the aisle was that it represented the chronology of my life — he was the first man in my life, my step-father the second, and my fiance, the third. But truly, my step-father has been there for everything throughout my life, and has truly raised me as his own daughter. I also think that changing the plans now would be a slight to my step-father. I feel like I’ve tried to be as equitable as possible. I don’t know what else to do. I also didn’t want to have them both walk my down the aisle at the same time because my biological father can’t stand my stepfather, and I know he would never keep/want a photo of the three of us together. I wanted to split the aisle walking so that I could have my own moment with each of them.
I haven’t spoken to my biological father since he told me he wouldn’t attend the wedding. I have, however, sent him birthday cards, christmas cards and, most recently, the wedding invitation. He sent back an RSVP declining to attend. It seems he’s also been talking to the rest of that side of the family because all I’ve received is declines from them as well. Do I say anything to him? Do I say anything to “his” guests (and my family members), who have declined? I feel like he must not be telling them the entire story, as I honestly can’t imagine anyone refusing to attend their daughter’s wedding because they don’t like the processional arrangements. I don’t know what to do.
Post # 3
I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. My FI’s mother also said that if we didn’t invite his nephew she wouldn’t come…different situation, but along similar lines. In my opinion, you shouldn’t change your plans….your reasoning is sound to me. I think your bio father is acting like a child, especially by going to other members of his side of the family and rallying against coming to your wedding. I know it hurts you very much, but in my opinion, he’s not showing you the unconditional love he should be showing you. You could have not included him at all…did he think of that?
Post # 4
Thanks KarateChick. I think that’s the thing that upsets me the most. He’s acting as though I’ve somehow excluded him from all this. The wedding is in HIS TOWN for heaven’s sake! He and my stepfather were each going to get separate father-daughter dances, toasts, etc. I just don’t know what to do with all this. Part of me wants to call each and every one of the guests on that side of the family and say “you know what — i never excluded him here and it’s been HIS choice not to come.” But on the flip side — not one of those family members has called me to discuss the issue. The closest I got to an acknowledgment was from my stepmother’s brother. Guess that says a lot about my biological father’s family.
Post # 5
An update and I could really use the Bees’ advice/support here —
One of my cousins on my bio dad’s side called me. He mentioned that he had heard about the whole thing with my dad and he was unsure how to handle, because it’s clear that the entirety of my bio dad’s side of the family isnt coming. He basically told me that the way my bio dad had phrased this to people was that I was choosing my stepfather over him, and not letting him walk me down the aisle.
I can’t tell you how upset I am over all of this. I tried talking to me bio dad after the initial blow up but he just shot me down and I haven’t heard from or talked to him since. I told my cousin my side of the story, but let him off the hook for feeling like he’s got to attend — he lives with his dad (my uncle) and I can guarantee there will be backlash if he comes to the wedding.
I am trying to resign myself to the fact that my dad won’t come to the wedding, but I think it’s really quite shitty that he’s making it out like I’m some horrible person who excluded him from the wedding. I know, logically, that if he’s behaving this way, he really doesn’t deserve to be there, but it’s still painful and I don’t know how to deal with that.
Post # 6
That situation really sucks. Reading your OP was like reading my life lol. Except my step-mom has put a major wedge between my dad and myself so we don’t talk that much anymore. We were starting to mend bridges before we were engaged so I was in this same place for a while (since then, we no longer talk and he isn’t invited to the wedding). I wouldn’t change your plans to apease him. It’s your day, and if family calls to ask what happened all you can do is tell them your side and let them choose. It sucks to not have all your family on your wedding day, but you’ll know the people who are there and it’ll make it that much more special.
Post # 7
Wow, I’m really sorry. I always try to put myself in others’ shoes in situations like this and from your dad’s point of view, he probably feels like your step-dad got to enjoy things he didn’t in your upbringing, perhaps your mother was the one who filed for divorce and he feels as though he’s the victim. I’m not agreeing with him at all – just trying to see it from his perspective. Do you think your father wants to be the one to “give you away” – would he feel better about doing the second half of the “the walk” and giving you away to your FI?
I wouldn’t give in on this one completely, but maybe try to talk to him to see if there is any “happy medium” in between that he will agree to.
Honestly, if he’s this hard-headed about it, I can only imagine how uncomfortable it would be to have him in the same room with your step-dad for the reception. I would be afraid he’d make a scene.
And how sad that his side of the family is turning their backs on you over this. So very sad. Sounds like he has a lot of growing up to do.
Post # 8
Sorry you’re going through this. I also had a blowup with my family about aisle-related issues and it sucked.
I don’t have any real advice for you since my situation was a little different, just wanted to say I feel that the walk down the aisle is a deeply personal experience for the bride and should be conducted how she chooses, regardless of what tradition dictates or what other people think.
I thought your plan was lovely, and I’m sorry your biological father is being so difficult about it. It is a privilege, not a right, for anyone except the bride to walk down that aisle; he should be honoured that you asked him to walk with you even partway, and it’s rotten how he’s throwing your gesture back in your face and getting his side of the family to make you feel like a second-class citizen at your own wedding.
Post # 9
He accuses my stepfather is the cause of the divorce between my mother and him, and he hates him, so part of me feels like he’d find a reason to complain no matter what. As I have told him and my mother and stepfather — it really doesn’t matter what happened 30 years ago when they got divorced. At the very least, I’ve lived on my own in the city (hundreds of miles away from my mother) for the past 12 years. He drives past my house every day, but I rarely ever see him. Nobody has ever denied him the chance of being a father. Throughout the years, I’ve tried talking to him about our lack of relationship. When I brought this up to him during our heated discussion about the order of the processional, he claimed that he remembered me crying, but didn’t recall what it was about.
On the “flipping the order” point — My bio dad said he thought it should be the other way around, with my bio dad walking me the second half of the way — but I just dont agree with that and I don’t think it represents my life. I was more willing to come to a compromise before he issued me an ultimatum, but in my opinion, if he’s going to be that selfish — that it’s all about his pride and what he thinks should be done, regardless of how I feel about it, then he’s just being a bully. Why should I give in to a bully? It’s starting to feel like this actually has nothing to do with me — or my relationship with my father — and only about him somehow getting back at my stepfather or proving somehow that he has top billing.
In terms of a happy medium — I just don’t know that there is one. The reason I wanted each to walk me halfway is because I wanted a separate moment with each of them and I know, absolutely, that my bio dad would never ever keep/hang/want a photo of he and my stepfather walking me down the aisle.
Post # 10
@buttercookie: I agree, you shouldn’t change your plan just to make your dad happy, you should be happy on your wedding day. I also think it’s crappy of your bio dad to be such a jerk about it. A lot of my family is very petty so I totally understand what it’s like.
Post # 11
Thanks guys — I think part of the reason I’m so against changing the plans is because I just feel like his wanting to walk me down the second half of the aisle has got nothing to do with his actual relationship with me. When I asked him why he felt the way he did, all he kept saying was that he’s my blood and it’s his right, and that “etiquette dictates” that he be the one to “give me away.” He apparently has also been claiming to that side of the family that my mother put me up to this and that I’m doing to this to try and make a point.
Post # 12
Freaking family. Weddings brings out the best and the worst in us. Sorry but my advice is to have your step father walk you the entire way down the aisle. I would not even speak to my father anymore after he pulled that! Not going to his daughter’s wedding – shame on him!
Post # 13
I’m so sorry you have to go through this. While I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in your situation, the only advice I can give you is that sometimes blood relationships aren’t all they are supposed to be. If your father doesn’t want to make an effort to be in your life don’t think of it as your loss. It’s his loss. Not only is he putting unnecessary drama on a day that is supposed to be a celebration of your love and your new life with your SO, he’s trying to use the day as a means to settle old grudges. If he doesn’t want to grow up and be there for you, there is only so much you can do.
This might seem cold-hearted of me, but I say forget him. Spend your time focusing on the people that have been there for you in the past and will continue to be there for you in the future. All relationships take work and if he isn’t willing to do his fair share of it there comes a time where you just need to cut your losses and focus on the people who are actually there to support you.
Post # 14
Maybe your bio dad can walk you down and then halfway your step dad joins and they both walk the rest of the way with you. Or maybe they can both walk you from the beginning. Whatever you decide, stick to your guns. I think your bio dad is being a bit childish about the whole thing.
Post # 15
@CantWaittillMAY: AMEN! Such a shame to see a grown man act like a greedy child who wants more even after he’s been offered a great honor already! He’s lucky to be able to participate at all after having been such a transient influence in the OP’s life.
@buttercookie: Does he (your bio dad) pick up your calls at least? What happens (or happened) if you explain to him what your reasoning was for him doing the first half? Was he indignant about it? Since he’s acting so child-like, I bet you could child-psychology him into taking what you’re offering. Tell him what you told us about how the walk down the aisle depicts the chronological involvement of the men in your life and tell him that if he doesn’t want to do this, then your step dad will walk you ALL the way down the aisle which will pretty much put your bio dad’s involvement at zero. He might say yes just to keep your step dad from having the privilage of walking you the whole way. Talk to him in his own language…that of a 4 year old. That is if you even want him there anymore. :-
Post # 16
“my step-father has been there for everything throughout my life, and has truly raised me as his own daughter.” I am in the same boat. My step-father IS my daddy. Even though both of my parents are walking me down the aisle, you should walk down the aisle only with him. The fact that your step-father has been there and was even willing to tolerate any other man (bio dad) walking his little girl down the aisle is remarkable. How I am reading your message, your bio-dad may not deserve such an honor. His “blood” and “his right” is one of a sperm donor (sorry), not as a true daddy.
I personally, (this is me because I hate when things are unjust), would write/type a card to each decline outlining what you said below.
I am sorry that you will not be attending my wedding. But I wanted you to understand the reasons behind my actions since they were not explained in full…
…I was more willing to come to a compromise before he issued me an ultimatum…In terms of a happy medium — I just don’t know that there is one. The reason I wanted each to walk me halfway is because I wanted a separate moment with each of them.
You will be missed.
If your bio dad walks you down aisle, you are being manipulated into something you don’t want. If your dad doesn’t show up, his loss. You have your daddy walking you down the aisle, no matter how “STEP” he is.