Wedding Ceremony Q&As

Answers to who walks when, who stands where, and other ways to make sure your ceremony is perfect.

Q: I want my stepfather of 15 years to walk me down the aisle. He's the only dad I have had in my life every day, but he and my mother just went through a nasty divorce and she will be furious if he escorts me. My biological father, who has always supported me financially, will also be upset. I am so worried about everybody else that I am not even excited about my wedding. What should I do? 

A: What you should do is get excited about your wedding and not worry so much about everyone else. It's really unfair when brides- and grooms-to-be (much like you) are caught in the middle of parental disputes and consumed with angst about pleasing them. From money to guest lists to seating arrangements, the arguments ensue and the emotional battles take their toll. Planning a wedding becomes a nightmare and the bride and groom may wish they had eloped instead!

So, allow me to offer you some possible solutions to this problem before you run off to city hall. If you want your stepfather to walk you down the aisle then by all means, you should try to have him do so. You will not be happy on your wedding day if the person with whom you share a strong emotional bond is not at your side. Why not ask your mother to lead the way, walking in front of you, and, if your father and stepfather are on cordial terms, have them both escort you (one on each arm?)

Or consider walking down the aisle with your stepfather and asking your parents to meet you at the altar where they can stand with you and respond 'We do' to the officiant's query of 'Who gives/ supports this woman in marriage?' (Your stepfather would sit in a front row or pew as you take your fathers arm to the altar.)

Finally, many brides opt for a third solution when there is just no way to compromise with their parents: They choose to walk down the aisle alone or with their groom. I know this is not what you want to do, but its something to consider if the situation does not improve.

Hopefully, for the sake of your happiness, your mother will put aside her personal animosity toward your stepfather when she realizes how distressed you are and how important it is for you to include all those you love in your ceremony. Why not invite her to lunch? Spend the day together - just the two of you - talking, reminiscing and ultimately coming to an understanding. Good luck and, in spite of your worries, try to focus on all of the wonderful things about your upcoming marriage.

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