Post # 1
FI and I are not hugely fond of the concept of the traditional western/Christian approach to walking down the aisle. The blatant symbolism of the man waiting as the woman is brought to him and given away rubs both of us the wrong way. However, I also saw this moment as a special moment with my dad and I don’t want to take that away.
This past weekend we were at a friends wedding which included a Jewish ceremony and FI and I fell in love with the Jewish “walking down the aisle” with both partners coming in from opposite sides and meeting in the middle, each accompanied by their parents. What a wonderful symbolism of coming together as equals supported by our families.
We know our families are too traditional to approve of this, so instead we’re trying to use what we like from both traditions. I’m hoping for opinions at constructive criticism.
We would like for our wedding parties to enter, then my mom and his dad together, then the ring bearers, then FI and his mom, then flower girls, then me and my dad. Everyone will still get the moment of the bride walking down the aisle, but at least we’d both gotten there the same way, even if he is first. We also feel it’s a great way of honoring all 4 parents rather than just my dad.
What do you think?
Post # 3
I like the idea and obviously it makes sense because you’re walking down with your dad, but it’s kind of a weird combo initially for your mom and his dad to go together.
Maybe your mom and his dad could be seated traditionally, and then he escorts his mother and your dad esscorts you?
I mean, it’s not that much different, but it might feel kind of awkward for the two of them. And people that won’t know your parents may not know who’s who.
Post # 4
I like the first scenario, that happened at the Jewish ceremony you mentioned. Are you sure your parents won’t go for that? I think that’s very sweet.
Post # 5
@sweet5k: Would your dad be open to your groom walking you down the aisle? That’s what we are doing.
Post # 6
Most people aren’t aware of this, but it’s actually a much older tradition to have the bride and groom walk in together. Most of the other variations (groom waiting at the end of the aisle, bride escorted by her father, etc.) didn’t really become widespread until the Victorian era. Before that, they were done here and there as local traditions, but it wasn’t like everyone everywhere did the processional the same way.
In our processional, we had the BP walk, followed by his parents, then my parents, then us. Worked great and everyone was happy.
ETA: the father giving the bride away isn’t a “Christian” tradition at all. The Christian view of marriage is as a spritual partnership (and, in some traditions, a sacrament), and bride and groom walking in together was the tradition of the Early Church. Giving the bride away is rooted in a socioeconomic view of marriage that sees the bride as property transferred from the father to the husband. This view existed in many countries that eventually became Christianized, and the tradition persisted as existing practices were fused with Christian rites, and it continues to be used in many weddings that take place in Christian churches, but it is not an inherently Christian practice any more than the Unity candle or throwing rice/birdseed or carrying flowers. It’s another secular practice that gets overlaid on a Christian ritual.
Post # 7
I really like the idea of walking in from both sides with your families!
I also want to add- not many people know this, but the TRULY traditional Catholic way to walk in is for both the bride and groom to walk in together, either escorted by their parents, or just them. (That’s what the official Catholic wedding ritual book says, if anyone is interested…) I’m Catholic and also do not like the symbolism of being “given away” by my father, which is why that is actually not the proper “Catholic” way to do it. Just thought you might be interested to know that even not all Christians think that is the best way to do it!
Post # 8
@KCKnd2: lol, cross-posting…
Post # 9
@sweet5k: What a great idea!
Post # 10
Thanks for the responses everyone! As a grad student in history and theology, I’m aware that the current way of walking down the aisle that I called “western, Christian, tradition” isn’t actually the way it’s always been done and also isn’t the way it was intended to be done (which is part of why I dislike it). However, the method of the bride being walked down the aisle by her father is the only why I’ve seen it done at every wedding I’ve ever been to with the exception of this most recent one. So I thought it was fair to call it a tradition in the sense that it is the current prevailing tradition in western, Christian weddings that I have attended (albeit a fairly small sample size of slightly less than 50).
Semantics aside, my parents really want to retain that dad walking me down the aisle moment. Frankly, I think it’s a nice moment and I’m happy to retain it so long as I can nix the other parts of the tradition that I don’t like. Basically, walking in with FI is not an option for me. I would love to have both parents walk in with him and both parents walk in with me but my mom will refuse. The idea of having my mom and his dad come in together was my way of trying to include them in the processional rather than excluding them entirely, which I really don’t want to do. There won’t be any confusion as everyone invited to the wedding knows at least one of our sets of parents well and most will have at least been introduced to both sets. I can see how sticking the two of them together is not ideal, but I can’t think of a better way to do this without making my mom uncomfortable or excluding 2 of the parents from the processional.
Post # 11
My husband walked with his mom — his father had passed away — and then I followed with my parents, one on each arm.
Post # 12
I see nothing wrong with what you’re planning on doing. In fact, I’ve seen this done at several weddings when there is no side entrance.