Ask the Bride -- Giving Away the Bride (Step-father version)

Question: My step-daughter is in her mid-thirties and planning to be married next year. She is very close to her father (my husband), but is unsure about whether or not it would be proper to have him walk her down the aisle at her large church wedding. This is her second marriage, she has been living on her own for many years, so it is not like the traditional idea of a father "giving his daughter away." Can you give us an idea of the current thinking in this area?

Answer: Since so many brides and grooms nowadays are getting married or remarried later in life, there are many new questions and rules about these weddings than ever before. The rules of etiquette are constantly changing, and many people may be confused about what is acceptable in these new situations.

Your step-daughter has many choices. It would be perfectly proper for her to ask her father to escort her down the aisle, but many women feel that the tradition of "giving the bride away" is outdated or doesn't fit their style. Some women ask both of their parents to walk with her down the aisle. According to "The Everything Wedding Etiquette Book," she can walk by herself, or accompanied by her groom. If she has children, she may want to have them walk with her down the aisle.

Another wedding custom that is waning is the common saying in the ceremony, "Who gives this woman..?" normally answered by the father "I do." Many couples have reworded this to "Who blesses this union?" and the father and mother of the bride stand up together and say, "We do."