Sadly, many brides are without their fathers on their wedding day, and have to figure out an alternative for walking down the aisle. A local Atlanta radio morning show (www.thebertshow.com) discussed the history of this tradition and what happens when "Dad" isn't available.
The tradition of a bride being walked down the aisle and given to her future husband is based in the old property laws. A father owns his daughter until he gives his property to another man. It is hard for me to imagine that in practice today, but it is certain we are keeping it alive during our special day. I do like some of the older traditions. I think this one shows respect and love to our fathers. I only wish that I had given love and respect to my mother in some way during our ceremony.
This radio bit made me think about my wedding and how lucky I was that my Dad is actively involved in my life. Some fathers have passed away, some fathers are too far away physically or mentally, and maybe worst of all, some fathers never existed beyond donating sperm. The brides without dads are left wondering what to do in this situation. Does a grandfather or uncle step in, a brother or best friend, or do they walk down alone? A tough choice. One that might hurt feelings. I love the contemporary idea of the mom walking a bride down the aisle. To me that seems like the best alternative to a missing dad.
I would like to recommend to future brides to be at peace with your choice and consider asking mom to walk you down the aisle. If you are reading this and are lucky like me, consider asking both of your parents to walk with you. What a gift of love.
On a personal note when asked who gives this bride my dad said "her mother and I will share her". I get tears in my eyes just thinking about how special that moment was. If you love this too, ask your family to start a new more equal and updated tradition.