The tradition of giving away the bride comes from a time when women were viewed a little differently to now, though the tradition has evolved with the rest of civilisation and is still a prominent and important part of some ceremonies.
It is an optional part of your ceremony, so let your celebrant know if you would like to partake in the tradition or forgo it.
Modern families – generally – do not see their daughters as goods and chattels as they were viewed in one age, they still wish to make a statement about bringing their adult daughter into a new married life, with their blessings.
Today, you can take the tradition back and make it mean something special to you.
Instead of the bride’s father giving her away in exchange for a dowry, animal or financial, the ceremony can reflect the relationship the bride has with her father, or her parents, and even vice-versa for the bridegroom.
Or you could take the ceremony away from the traditional father role, and open it up to the guests or both parents.
Eight example scenarios of ‘giving away the bride’
- The bride is not given away but walks herself down the aisle, or the bride can even be at the ceremony early, like the groom and they can welcome everyone and let the ceremony begin at a certain time
- The bride and groom together walk down the aisle, the bridal party may have arrived early or they could join them, perhaps leading the way.
- The bride is given away by an escort, perhaps a family member. This escort could walk her down the aisle to meet her groom, or could be with the guests already and respond when asked by the celebrant.
- Both the bride and groom could be given away by each of their families, to the other, in a ceremony performed after walking down the aisle. This could even broaden to a question and response by the parents, involving them in the ceremony a little more than some.
- All of the guests could give the couple away, in a question and response with the guests the celebrant could ask “Family and friends, will you support and love the marriage being solemnised here today?” The guests respond “We will!”. Of course wording can change here.
- The bride and groom can walk down the aisle themselves, having arrived together or the groom meeting his bride at the end of the aisle and escorting her the final leg, and as they get to their parents an exchange, whether formal, emotional, or even with a gift, can occur as a sign of honour and respect and thanks.
- The traditional giving away of the bride involves the father walking the bride down the aisle and giving her to the bridegroom. To represent the modern version of the tradition the groom could thank the father as he reaches the alter, offering a handshake, high five or a hug and even verbally acknowledging him.
- A feminine version could have the celebrant asking “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” with the bride answering “She gives herself, but with her family’s blessing.”
Join the conversation in the comments with your ideas on how the bride could be given away.