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The Bride's Guide Blog

Etiquette: Should you walk down the aisle with your groom?

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On Saturday, Sweden's Princess Victoria married her fiancé, Daniel Westling, in a grand ceremony, after an eight-year courtship that had its share of drama. (He's a commoner!)

Here's the interesting etiquette point:

Princess Victoria created a storm of controversy when she asked her father to walk her down the aisle.

That's because in the Church of Sweden, there is a 200-year old tradition of the couple entering the ceremony together, as an expression of equality.

In the end, the princess compromised. She and her father entered the church together and were met halfway down the aisle by Mr. Westling, who joined them for a group excursion.

(And in the oldest tradition of the Roman Catholic church, the bride and groom approach the altar together, led by the priest and followed by their parents; according to CatholicWeddingHelp.com, this "better symbolizes the Church's understanding of the complementary role of the husband and wife in marriage.")

There's some neat symbolism in either choice. At a friend's wedding, the entrance of the bride and groom together seemed quite appropriate, since it was a second marriage for both of them. Being escorted by her father felt awkward to her.

Have you considered this option? What did you decide, and why?

Comments (4)

  • Whenever I dreamt about my wedding, even from a young age, I saw myself walking down the aisle solo. I wasn’t aware of how engrained the idea of the Father walking the bride down the aisle was in America until I started planning my wedding. I’ve always been an independent person and think the idea of my Dad (or anyone else) escorting me down the aisle is extremely old-fashioned. Also I’m extremely close to my Dad and any symbolism of being given away makes me sick to my stomach. I’m not going anywhere and no one has the authority to give me away as if I was a commodity.
    Early in the planning process my Dad made an off-handed comment about walking me down the aisle. In that moment I realized my Dad has been envisioning that moment for a lot longer than I’ve been dreaming of getting married. I don’t want to take that away from him. That one part of the day isn’t all about me; it’s about my Dad. On my wedding day my Dad will be walking me down the aisle; when we get to the first row I will turn, hug my dad, and walk the rest of the way alone without any language about being given away.

  • I am a second time bride, but my fiance has never been married. In the process between divorce and finding love again, my journey has been amazing. I talked with my father about walking me down the aisle, and he was very gracious in understanding my desire to walk alone.

  • Author Comment:

    @Scully10: Actually, 2nd-time brides aren't supposed to be escorted by their fathers, according to the purist approach. Like the blusher veil (which covers your face), that's reserved for ingenue brides.

    Most people wouldn't fault you for it, but it's not technically correct.

  • I am a 39 year old 2nd time bride and have two children. (been divorced for 12 yeas) My fiance has never been married and no children. My parents are both in heaven and I don't have any one to give me away. Can my fiance walk me down or meet me in the aisle?

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