‘Giving away’ the Bride was traditionally the exchange of a daughter from her own family to her groom’s and is why for fathers have long held the role of walking their daughters down the aisle and ‘giving away the bride’. In days gone by, women were their father’s property, until such time as they were married. Then, they were literally given away – often in exchange for an agreed price or dowry and thereafter they became their husband’s property.
Thankfully, in general, women aren’t viewed this way anymore and this is a tradition that has fallen out of fashion in recent years due these antiquated perceptions. But, it is my observation that it now seems to be making a bit of a comeback and I think ‘giving away the bride’ can still be an important and lovely (but optional) inclusion in a contemporary marriage ceremony. So, rather than just omit this part of the ceremony, I like to show couples how it can be transformed into something really meaningful.
It can be as simple as when they reach the end of the aisle, the father (or parents) of the bride give just her a hug, then shake hands with or hug her fiancé. No words even need to be said! Or, the father (or parents) can voice their blessing for the marriage and there are many alternative wordings that can be included at this moment. Or you can take the ceremony away from the traditional father role altogether, and open it up to the wedding guests or other special family members, in a show of ‘group’ support. Which ever way it happens, it is always very, very special.
So for couples that are considering including this as part of their ceremony, I always pitch it as a opportunity to honour the relationship a bride has with her father, (or parents, or family), no matter how they decide to do so. And anyway, I’ve not once met a father who really wanted to give away his daughter!
Thanks for reading.