The tradition of having a father walk his daughter down the aisle might not be as popular as you think. In the UK, according to a poll in 2018, 69% of Britons support this idea, which is down from 82% in 2014. On the Easy Weddings website, which is based in Australia, after conducting a similar online poll, only 57% of the brides supported this tradition.
So what are the alternatives? Who are brides choosing to walk down the aisle with? In this article, let’s look at the different options.
What if you don’t have a dad to walk you down the aisle?
If your dad has passed away, or if you are no longer in contact with him, there are still many options for walking down the aisle. It’s your special day, so pick someone who means the world to you and who you will feel comfortable with at the start of the wedding ceremony.
What are the alternatives to dad walking down the aisle?
Here are eleven alternatives for walking down the aisle which you might want to consider.
Walking with both your parents
This is a tradition at Jewish ceremonies, with the mother on one side and father on the other. In many ways, this is a great idea as it allows both parents to have a key role as their daughter marks a new chapter in her life. The bride can link arms with both parents as she walks down the aisle meaning all three people reach the altar at the same time. This symbolizes the unity and togetherness of the family.
Walking with your mum
If you are very close to your mother, why not break tradition and choose her to walk down the aisle with. At most weddings, the father of the bride has a big role, including giving a speech as well as giving his daughter away. But giving your mother a more important job to do on the day is a nice touch. After all, you’re still choosing one of your parents to walk down the aisle with!
Walking with your grandfather
For many children who have absent fathers from a young age, the grandfather often takes on an important position. He really becomes a father figure for the child, so what better way to acknowledge his support and love over the years by asking him to give you away on the big day.
Walking down with your stepdad or uncle
For similar reasons to grandfathers, if you have an absent father, then a stepdad or uncle can step in and walk you down the aisle. It depends on how close you are to any of your male relatives, but just pick someone who will put you at ease, support you, and settle any nerves on your wedding day!
Walking with your brother
This can be a lovely thing to do, especially if you get on very well with your brother. Some siblings aren’t really that close with one another, but if you have a very close relationship with your brother having him walk you down the aisle is a fantastic idea. This can be extra special if you are both twins.
Here’s something a bit different with a brother walking his sister down the aisle!
Walking down with your father in law
If you feel there are no relatives in your family who you’d like to walk down the aisle with, but you get on very well with your future father in law, then you can ask him to do the honour. It might not fit with tradition, but it’s your wedding so do what makes you happy and what you are comfortable with.
Walk down the aisle together
This can be a very romantic thing to do, especially if there are two aisles or entrances to the venue. You can each walk steadily up separate aisles and join together once you reach the altar. If the venue only has the one aisle, you could also walk in together. This idea really symbolizes the equality in your marriage, and can also be a great choice for bride and bride, or groom and groom.
Walk with your kids
If you have kids from a previous marriage or relationship, you can ask them to walk you down the aisle. Normally children are ring bearers or flower girls, but if you feel your child is responsible enough, then having them fulfil this important role can be a wonderful thing to see for both you and the congregation.
Walk down alone
It’s not totally unheard of for the bride to walk in alone. If you are strong and independent, why not make the walk down the aisle yourself? It’s something a bit different and it definitely shows courage. After all it’s your big day, so what better way to show this by starting the ceremony with a bold statement of who you are as a person.
Walking down the aisle with a dog
If you are an animal lover, having your dog walk down the aisle with you will certain get a few smiles and pleasant sighs from the congregation! Not all venues may approve of this, and you have to really know if your dog is up to the job. If they get a little distracted or spooked by crowds of people, it might not be the best idea.
Don’t have a processional at all
You might decide not to have a processional at all. If the whole idea makes you feel too uneasy and stressful, or you just don’t like tradition, then just skip it. You don’t have to have one if you don’t want to. One advantage is that you don’t have to decide between different family members to walk you down the aisle. Instead just start at the front with your husband to be.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.