In modern wedding culture, you don’t have to walk down the aisle to the traditional music of the “Bridal March.” If you can personalize your ceremony music for your Las Vegas wedding, you can certainly customize more important aspects, like who you want to walk you down the aisle.
Recently, we spoke with several brides to explore what they would recommend, from the classic “father of the bride” walk down the aisle to nontraditional methods for brides who were from non-traditional families. Of course, each bride is different. You have to find what best works for you, your family, and your fiance. But if you aren’t sure where to start, here are a few “walk down the aisle” options:
If your father and mother are married and both are important to you: You love the idea of walking down the aisle with Dad. However, since Mom played a huge role in your life too, you don’t want her to feel like she’s not included or recognized in your wedding. Ask Mom how she wants to be involved. Does she want to walk you down the aisle? She may be completely content letting Dad walk you down the aisle since she’s involved in many separate, important roles in the wedding. But if you both feel that’s not enough, feel free to ask Mom to escort you down the aisle with Dad. With one parent on each arm, you’ll show your guests just how important both your parents are to you.
If you want your father to walk you down the aisle: You’ve always known Dad would walk you down the aisle. Now that special moment is coming quicker than you can imagine, and you can’t wait to share this special moment as father and daughter. When you walk together at your wedding, take small steps to take your time and soak in the moment. Share a few final words with Dad, who raised you, loved you, and is now letting you go for you to become the woman he always hoped you’d be. Even if you don’t remember what was said, you’ll remember the way you felt on your wedding day, arm-in-arm with Dad as he walked you to your groom.
If your parents and step parents equally important to you: Your parents are divorced, and both Mom and Dad have been remarried for years. You’ve always considered yourself lucky because you have two father figures--Dad and Step Dad--and both have always treated you like their own kid. Or you may have two mother figures. Since you love them both and want to show them your appreciation, you can ask both sets of parents to be involved in the wedding aisle walk. Have one of them walk you halfway. When you reach halfway down the aisle, have the other parent(s) walk you the rest of the way and give your hand to your fiance. Also, if you have enough room in the aisle way, you can consider having one "father" figure on each arm the whole way.
If your father has passed away: You love your Dad, and you always envisioned him walking you down the aisle for your wedding day. Even if he isn’t physically present, you can include his memory in the ceremony. Ask your mom, uncle, grandparent, sister or brother. You may consider walking alone since no one can truly fill Dad or Mom's shoes. Just remember it may be beneficial to have someone who loves you and supports you at your side for this big moment on your special day.
If your biological father wants to walk you down the aisle but your stepfather raised you: You see Dad once a year, if that, and frankly even those memories aren’t so great. On the other hand, your stepfather has been consistently there for you, Mom, and your siblings. You wish your step dad could walk you down the aisle, but Dad is getting pretty demanding. If he can’t walk you all the way, he won’t come to your wedding. As the bride, you deserve to make the decision of who will walk you, not to have it made for you. If you want both Dad and Step Dad to be involved, consider compromises, like having them both walk with you. This includes Dad but also honors your stepfather. However, if you’d regret having your biological father give you away, then you’ll have to talk with him. Calmly explain that you would love to have him in attendance at your wedding. However, you are the bride and you are the one with the right to decide who walks you down the aisle. If you have wholeheartedly chosen only your stepfather for your walk, don’t let family drama deter you. Hope for the best, and remember how happy you’ll be when you’re supported on your wedding day walk by the stepfather who has supported you every day of your life.
If your mother and/or extended family raised you: Dad has never been in the picture. Mom has raised you, and she did a pretty good job, if you do say so yourself. Now that you’re older, she’s become not just a mother, but also a good friend. Honor Mom by asking her to walk with you down the aisle. If you were raised by Mom’s family as a joint effort, consider asking extended family members. If you are close to your grandfather or an uncle, ask him to walk you down the aisle and give your hand to your groom. Don’t forget to think about your brother. If he has always been there for you, he might be honored to step up and fill these shoes. Whichever family member you choose for the aisle walk, they’ll all be there as guests to support your marriage.
If you are afraid of upsetting too many people by choosing the wrong person: You have no idea who to choose for your aisle walk. In the wake of your parents’ divorce, Mom’s family would take it as a personal affront if you to choose to walk with Dad. You considered asking your best friend who’s had your back since middle school, but he thinks it’s horridly inappropriate. Your brother is volunteering, but you haven’t been close in recent years. Rather than deal with this, you just want to throw your hands in the air and walk by yourself. While this may solve the problem, you don’t want to look back on your wedding with regrets. Talk with your groom, and decide together what would be appropriate and make you happy. Then find a way to make it happen. Easier said than done, we know. See how you can compromise and remind yourself that this is your wedding. While that doesn’t give you power to lord over others, it does give you the right to choose who you want to walk you down the aisle, whether it’s your father or your groom himself.
If you are getting remarried: Dad walked with you once, and he is willing to support you again. If you would like him to escort you down the aisle, then go for it! There’s nothing that says you can’t walk with him just because you haven’t been living under his roof for fifteen years. Enjoy this special moment with Dad. However, if you’ve grown apart from your parents, you’re also allowed to consider your options. If you have a son who’s old enough and mature, ask him if he would like to participate in your new marriage in this way. Either way, make sure that you and the person you’re walking with feels comfortable and proud to be walking down the wedding aisle arm-in-arm.
If you want to walk alone: You’ve been on your own for a long time, and there are no family members who you feel comfortable asking. Also, as an independent bride, you worry that leaning on someone else’ arm as you walk down the aisle shows you’re not self-sufficient. We’re all about beautiful brides with spirit. By carrying yourself to your fiance, you certainly can symbolize your independence as a woman as well as your choice, not anyone else’s decision, to join with your partner in marriage. However, we recommend walking down the aisle with someone not because we doubt what you’re made of. Rather, we know how special it is to have someone with you to share those moments and morally support you as you enter a new stage of life. If you’re walking alone, consider your motives, your family’s wishes, and your happiness with this decision. If you’re walking alone to dodge family drama, then consider compromises and ultimately choose what makes you feel the most happy and supported on your wedding day. However, if you’re confident about going solo and you can gather all the support you need by looking to the end of the aisle where your groom awaits, then step out and strut down that aisle on your own to your future husband. From that moment forward, you’ll never have to walk alone again.
How to Choose: Final Thoughts
As a bride, you can choose whatever you want for your walk down the aisle. Keep your family’s feelings in mind, and do your best to make sure all sides are pleased. But remember this is your wedding day. Don’t compromise your happiness. If family drama arises, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. You’re the bride. You deserve to be happy on your wedding day.
When you walk down the aisle at your wedding, walk with someone who loves you and supports your decision to marry your loved one. Enjoy the moment, and take time to absorb the conversation, the emotion, and even your surroundings, from attending guests to decor. Then you’ll feel at ease and at peace for the moment you’ll take your groom’s hand, say your vows, and begin your blessed marriage as a happy couple.
Updated: August 2015 Debra Hansen
Author: Allyson Siwajian
Photographs: Jamison Frady