Weddings are happy events that bring tons of excitement, positive emotions and expectations. Life, however, can take unfortunate directions and past unfortunate events may have a big impact on the much awaited wedding celebrations. One such event is the passing of a parent. In the upsetting case where the brides father has passed; what are her options?
So, who walks the bride down the aisle when the father is deceased? If the father of the bride has passed away, it is typical for a grandfather or a brother to walk her down the aisle. Other options include a stepfather, an uncle or a close male family friend. Less common yet possible options include walking down with the mother, the husband-to-be, a male cousin or the grooms father. Some brides even decide to forego the tradition and instead walk down the aisle alone.
Either way, this is is a very tough decision and resulting moment for any bride; it is traditional for the father to give her away to her a new husband, celebrate her marriage and welcome her into her new family.
Ultimately, what is important is that the bride is able to make the decision; for it is up to her. Whether walking down the aisle is a tradition that you honor or you choose to forego it altogether, the bride should be fully comfortable.
Let us now take a closer look at why a father traditionally gives their daughter away. This will help us to understand why it is not necessarily required.
We will then look at some of your other options in more detail, along with some sentimental and special ways to honor a deceased father at a wedding.
Why Does The Father Give The Bride Away At A Wedding?
The tradition of the father giving away the bride at a wedding dates back hundreds of years. It is in fact one of the oldest wedding traditions that is still somewhat followed.
It initially began during times when the bride came with a dowry (where the brides parents would transfer property, gifts, or money) to the groom while also organizing and paying for the whole wedding.
It was also a symbolic way for the bride to ‘exit’ her old life with her own family and ‘enter’ a new life with her husband-to-be.
Additionally, in older times arranged marriages were much more commonplace. The presence of the father was to serve as a preventative measure to prevent the groom from changing his mind.
In this way, the more the father was present, the less likely the chance for the groom to back out.
As we can see, a lot has thankfully changed since then and of course, nowadays we are living in much different times.
Nowadays, the father bride tradition has a lot more to do with celebration and congratulating the partnership.
However, if the history behind this tradition does not appeal or sit right with you, or circumstances prevent it all from being possible; you do not have to proceed with it at your wedding.
You can always opt for other options like walking with a male relative or even walking alone.
Can The Groom’s Father Walk The Bride Down The Aisle?
The grooms father can walk the bride down the aisle. Although more unusual, it is an option for the bride and something they may want to consider.
Whom the bride decides to take down the aisle is circumstantial. It will depend on a lot of things and factors, and ultimately what feels right and matters to her.
If the grooms father has a special relationship with the bride, and there are not other alternatives, there is absolutely no reason why it cannot nor should not be done.
Who Can Walk The Bride Down The Aisle?
Along with the father of the groom, let us know look at some other potential candidates?
This is actually a lovely and a heart-warming idea. The closest person in every woman’s life is her mother and who would be better to walk the bride down the aisle than her!
Especially, if she the one to mainly bring your up and you share a deep connection!
This is another option but it will largely depend on circumstance. It is a sensitive area especially considering the brides father is deceased.
However, if the bride has good relations with him and everyone agrees for him to walk her down the aisle, then go for it!
If, however, this does not sit right or it could upset other family members, then maybe consider other people.
Brother, Cousin, Family Friend
If the bride has a brother, he is a great option for walking her down the aisle. He is likely to be the second closest person to her after her mother after all.
If there is a close male family friend whom is trustworthy, has been around for a long time and means something special, he is also a good candidate. Same goes for a close cousin.
Fiancé/Groom/ Husband To Be!
Who is better than walking the bride down the aisle than her future husband-to-be?
In the end, they are entering their new lives together and this is a very nice way to commemorate the event.
Can A Bride Walk Down The Aisle By Herself?
A bride can walk down the aisle by herself, if she chooses to. As long as she feels comfortable with the idea, then there should not be an issue.
This is not common with most brides, however, not every bride is in the same context.
For example, some brides may have another close male presence in their lives, but for others, it may not seem right or appropriate.
In addition, walking alone does signify that the bride is independent, not always needing someone to ‘escort’ them on their every step in life.
And depending on her views of the original tradition, or if she wants to honor her late father, could be the best solution.
How Do I Honor My Deceased Father At My Wedding?
Even though, the father will not be present at your wedding, there are ways with which you can honor him. This is true for either the brides father or grooms father.
Here is a brief list, and further down we will look at each option in more detail:
- A prayer written on the back of the program.
- A handkerchief given to you as a gift on behalf of your father.
- Stitch a heart inside your dress made from one of your father’s shirts.
- You can place your father’s wedding band on your bouquet.
- Put on a special chair for the ceremony for your dad.
- You can pause for a minute in memory of your father before walking down the aisle.
- Make a speech in his hour after the ceremony.
- Read a prayer or a poem in his memory at the reception.
A Prayer Written On The Back Of The Program
Either a prayer that reminds you of your father, or one in which has symbolic meaning.
Print it on the backside of the program that is to be given to the guests upon entering.
A Handkerchief Given To You As A Gift On Behalf Of Your Father
This may not appeal and will require a bit of planning and communication with a close family member, such as your mother.
To do this, you can ask a relative to contact an embroider to make a handkerchief with a message on behalf of your father.
You can then carry it somewhere discreetly during the ceremony. For example, a secret pocket attached to the dress. Such gesture is very personal and it will only remain with you on your special day.
If you want to honor your father publicly, you may have to combine the handkerchief with another option such as a prayer or a speech.
Stitch A Heart Inside Your Dress Made From One Of Your Father’s Shirts
Is another very discreet and personal way to honor your father at the ceremony. Its a very secret way to honor him, but it enables you to feel close to him on your special day.
The same goes for placing your father’s wedding band on your bouquet. This can symbolize him walking you down the aisle.
Put Out A Special Chair For The Ceremony
This is one of the most emotional and public commemorations you can do.
You can place a chair with a perfect view at the ceremony and during the reception. You can also write “Daddy” on the back of the chair and place a bouquet of flowers on the seat.
This chair is ultimately reserved for him, just make sure if you do this that nobody sits on it by mistake.
Minutes Pause Before Th Aisle
You can pause for a minute in memory of your father before walking down the aisle.
Irregardless of who is escorting you to the altar, this means that he is acknowledged on what would otherwise be a moment for him.
This can be done just before you proceed down, but its about taking a moment to stop and honor of your father.
Make A Speech In His Honor
That you can either read, or get a close relative to read, during the reception. It does not have to be a very long or overly sentimental speech.
What matters is that it comes from the heart and is sincere and genuine. You can also read a prayer or a poem.
Combine Several Options Together
And honor your father in different ways. For example, you can print a prayer on the program and place a chair symbolically for him or you can stitch a heart inside your dress and give a speech.
Remember, this is about honoring your father and you should do what feels right to you.
Equally, if you do not feel any of the above are appropriate, or you would like to do something else, then that is perfectly fine too!
Having to face a wedding without one of your parents can be a challenging and daunting task. No more so than for the bride, who according to tradition walks down the aisle with her father.
In the unfortunate circumstance that he is not able to do so, there are other solutions.
The main ones that brides opt for include: her mother, brother, male cousin, stepfather, the grooms father, a close male family friend or even alone.
There is not one right option for everyone. It all comes down to preference and instinctively, what feels right.
Thankfully, we no longer live in times where we have to follow outdated ideals and traditions. Society is not as judgmental, and this enables us to adapt depending on our own personal situations.
While it is not perfect or may even be how you once had imagined, you can walk down the aisle without your father. You can always honor him on your special day in other ways.
Other guides you may want to check out:
- How Long Does It Take To Walk Down The Aisle? [On Average]
- Does The Groom Walk Down The Aisle? [How Does He Get To The Alter?!]
- Who Walks The Mother Of The Bride Down The Aisle?
- Who Walks The Bride Down The Aisle When Parents Are Divorced?
- I Don’t Want My Dad To Walk Me Down The Aisle [Your Other Options]
Hey, I’m Allison – a recent bride, an expectant mother and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I accumulated while researching and planning my dream wedding and ahead of our new baby. Here, I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding, while equally, helping expectant parents ahead of their new arrival!