Post # 1
We are wedding planning at the moment, and a family member asked me tonight who gets to walk me down the aisle. My stepdad has been in my life since I was 4 years old, and he is like a real father to me. He has been there through thick and thin and cares for me as his own; he’s shown that on numerous occasions. At one point when I was younger he even asked my dad if he could adopt me because my dad wasn’t coming around as much. My dad refused to let him adopt me and started seeing me more.
However, my real dad and I haven’t been talking much these past 3.5 years after a falling out where he said some really hurtful things to me on my birthday. Lately he has been slowly trying to talk to me more these past couple of months whenever I am in town (I live in Texas but he’s in California with the rest of my family), but then goes silent when I leave again, where I won’t hear from him again until I’m back in California. I have a hard time trusting him and that he’s not just trying to get on my good side because of a future wedding.
I’d started to really think about/envision my stepdad walking me down the aisle by himself. but tonight an aunt on my mom’s side said I may regret not letting my dad walk me down the aisle as well. She mentioned that while he and I may be estranged and have a poor relationship now, that could change in the future and I don’t want to regret not letting him walk me down because of my emotions at present. I’m so torn. I don’t want that regret, but at the same time I don’t feel like that’s fair for my stepdad who has been there unconditionally for me no matter what. I don’t think it’s fair for him to have to share this moment with a father who has taken the backseat over the last several years. On top of that, the groom doesn’t even know my real father that well (they have met/talked for all of 30 minutes once), whereas he knows, gets along with, and loves my stepdad.
My aunt and uncle brought up a good point that, seeing it from my real dad’s perspective, he may choose not to come to the wedding at all if I don’t include him in this, as it could be hurtful to him/embarrassing for him. This isn’t my intention to be vindictive or cruel on my wedding day, but at the same time I don’t think it’s fair for my stepdad who has been there even when my real dad wasn’t to have to share this.
Any advice? Anyone else struggling with something similar? I’m really unsure what to do!
Post # 2
Also, not sure if this really counts to my decision at all, but my stepdad and mother are paying for the wedding, not my real father.
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
When you picture your wedding, who do you see walking you down that aisle? Go with your gut – which from what you wrote would seem to be your stepdad.
Post # 4
Yes my initial gut reaction would be my stepdad just from the love and care he has shown me unconditionally. My real father’s love has always come with conditions. It’s just scary/worrying because I had never really seen it from my real father’s point of view until my family members said something, and now I worry about seeing his sad face in the crowd of people as I walk down the aisle, wishing/thinking that it should be him up there walking me instead. I’m sadly a people pleaser so this pulls on my emotions 🙁
Post # 5
I’m a people pleaser too, but don’t do this for someone else. Your dad has made his decisions, and if he feels hurt that he didn’t get to walk you down the aisle? Not your fault. He chose not to keep a strong relationship with you, and these are the consequences. Stick with your step-dad sweets, it sounds like that will make you happiest on the day xx
Post # 6
I really think you need to go with your stepdad, your real dad may be upset, but honestly from the sounds of it, what has he REALLY done to deserve such an honor? I think your stepdad would be more hurt because he’s clearly been present for you your whole life, not to mention paying for everything. If someday in the off and distant future you and your real dad make amends or establish a good relationship, you could always find a personal way to include him in a vow renewal or something of the sort. But something even further to consider, is what if you and your real dad never do form a bond in the future? What if it never changes from an arms length relationship and you include him in your wedding ceremony now? Imagine how not only you might feel, but your stepdad as well. Personally, I feel like there is no question here as to who should do the honors. Don’t base your decision off some ‘would be, could be’ future hypothetical scenario.
Post # 7
My sister was in a similar position. Our step-dad had been in our lives for a very long time and was good to us but our dad has always been there for us as well. She didn’t want to exclude either of them so they were both in it. This may not work for every situation since they were both cool with each other. It also helped that they had seen each other constantly for years for our birthdays, and our kids’ birthdays and holidays, so they were comfortable around each other already. The ceremony was outside in a garden and she had to walk quite aways down, so when she came out from where she got ready, our step-dad walked with her. Then, when they reached the area where the chairs were set up, he handed her over to our dad, who walked the rest of the aisle with her and gave her away. It was really sweet and touching. Both my dad and step-dad are very kind, respectful and gracious so there wasn’t going to be any drama between them and they knew how much it meant to her to do it that way. I think maybe just try talking to them and see how you can make it work so they’re both included. I agree that you may regret it later if you don’t include your father in it but you can’t forget what your step-dad has done either. If your dad doesn’t want your step-dad included at all and refuses to show up because of that, then he clearly doesn’t care about what you want. Hopefully it all works out for you and everyone is cooperative! Congratulations!
Post # 8
I was in your exact situation. My biological father was pretty much out of my life between the ages of 7 to 19/20. I had my step dad ( he is my true father) and my mother escort me down the aisle. I don’t regret it for a second.
If your bio dad refuses to attend your wedding as a guest, then it’s his loss and probably tells you more about his intentions in terms of your relationship with him.
Best of luck.
Post # 9
IMO, your biological father doesn’t deserve a down payment on a possible future closer relationship.
Your stepdad stepped up big time. Your bio dad didn’t, and there are consequences for that.
I love jasc8790 ‘s idea for if you’ve had an amicable relationship with both of them all along, but that doesn’t sound like the case for you.
If your bio dad can’t accept that, the problem is with him, not you.
If it were me, I’d be demonstrating to my stepdad my gratitude and giving him sole honours.
Best of luck. <3
Post # 10
Ask your mother = problem solved.
Although I’ve predominately seen brides walked by both parents, in the last decade, there’s no rule that you have to be escorted by a male family member. (Look up the tradition on that!)
You can always walk by yourself, walk with your husband, meet him halfway down the aisle. Heck, I know one bride whose grandmother lived with her family her whole life, who asked Gran to walk with her, despite both parents attending/still married.
Post # 11
- Wedding: April 2017 - Valleybrook Country Club
It doesn’t seem as though he cared about hurting or embarassing you in the past, so I wouldn’t go out of my way to avoid hurting or embarassing him by making a choice that he is 100% responsible for not bing asked. Just because you MIGHT have a better relationship with him in the future, does not warrant you asking him. If anyoen asks, including him, why he didn’t walk you down the aisle, simnply state that your step-father has played the true father role in your life. If he chooses not to attend your wedding because of it, so be it. He’s made choices himself before that have lead to this point, that’s on him. If your aunt and uncle keep pushing, just kindly ask them to respect your decision.
Post # 12
Do you think your edad regrets saying shitty things, not being part of your life etc? How can you regret not having him walk you down the aisle , if in the here and now and past leading up to that point he has been shitty? If things change, then you can make memories going forward. Right now he has not changed. Things have not changed. How much time has he been given to change and chosen not to? No, he is not entitled to that honour simply by existing. Your step father sounds like he’s been a champ. Giving the genuine care he’s given you, id think it be more likely you regret not walking with him.
Post # 13
I really don’t think you should have your bio dad in the wedding at the expense of your step dad, but beyond that how you want to encorporate them is up to you. Like PP said, there are a lot of things you can do, walk alone, walk with your mother, walk with both dads, etc. If you walk with only one dad though, it should be your step dad.
If we had done a traditional wedding, this issue would have come up for me as well. I have a step dad that’s been around since I was 4 and an estraged father that I haven’t had contact with in several years. I probably wouldn’t have ever even invited my father to a wedding, but if I did, I certainly wouldn’t have him as part of it.
Think of it this way, your aunt/uncle think that maybe your dad wouldn’t go to your wedding if he isn’t walking you down the aisle. If that’s the case, then I’d say your dad would only confirm your decision not to have him walk you down the aisle if he refuses his daughter’s wedding over something petty.
Post # 14
A friend of mine was in a similar situation. She had her mom walk her down the aisle and did the father-daughter dance with her stepdad. She says she has no regrets about how she did things and if he dad wanted to be more a part of her wedding then he should have made more of an effort to be a part of her life.
Post # 15
My mom is walking me down the aisle, father-daughter dance will be with my stepdad, it’s questionable whether my father will even be coming and even if he is then he hasn’t earned the right to hold that role. Like hikingbride
said – if he wanted to be a bigger part of your wedding then he should’ve tried (and earned the privilege to) be a bigger part of your life.