Brides getting married later in life or for a second time may find themselves confused about how to walk down the aisle when a father has passed away. Though a father walking his daughter down the aisle is a traditional practice in western weddings, customs are changing, and brides now are taking that final stroll as a bachelorette with other family members and friends.
Looking through the family tree can help you find a male relative who can escort you down the aisle on your wedding day. Your mother's boyfriend or spouse, or even your brother or uncle could walk you down the aisle, according to The Knot. The search doesn't need to end there, however, because cousins or nephews can also escort you. Tradition held that only one person escorted the bride, but you can even choose two people to escort you. A bride can also "switch off," with a second relative walking her the rest of the way, while the first takes a seat.
When it comes to choosing someone to walk you down the aisle, mothers are a common choice, if your father cannot be there on your big day, according to Bridal Guide. Other choices could include your father's widow if he remarried, or an aunt, sister, cousin or niece. Looking into your spouse's family for accompaniment down the aisle can also foster better relations between you and your in-laws. A future sister-in-law or mother-in-law may enjoy the chance to participate in your wedding in such a special way.
Brides-to-be can also stroll down the aisle solo or be accompanied by the groom-to-be, according to the Knot. Friends or members of your wedding party, such as your Maid of Honor, a flower girl or the ring-bearer can also accompany you down the aisle. Traditionally, the groom waits at the altar and does not participate in the processional -- so if you cannot decide on who to walk you down the aisle, you can also forgo the processional.
Honoring Your Father
Although your father cannot attend your big day, many brides still choose to honor a late father on the wedding day. Decorating and reserving a seat for him both at the wedding ceremony and the reception can remind guests of his importance in your life, according to Bridal Guide. Displaying his photo at your reception, playing one of his favorite songs at the reception or wearing something he gave you on the big day can also help your father feel closer as you enter the next phase of your life.
- The Knot: Wedding Processional: Can't Have Dad Father Walk Me Down the Aisle!
- Bridal Guide: The Walk Down the Aisle
- Emily Post Institute: When Your Parents Are Divorced
- Brides: Do I Have to Let My Stepfather Walk Me Down the Aisle?
- Bridal Guide Magazine: 10 Powerful Ways to Honor Lost Loved Ones
- The Knot: Wedding Processional: What's the Traditional Order?
Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.