Walk The Line

I realize that I’m an oddball sometimes, so here’s another one of those times.

I hate, hate, hate the tradition of being walked down the aisle and being given away. Seriously, the idea of being walked down the aisle by someone freaks me out and makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

From the first time I imagined my own wedding (and let’s be honest, I was probably like four), I have always wanted to walk myself down the aisle. I’m not even completely sure why, but I’ve always have felt this way.

Image via Delightfully Engaged / Photo by Morgan Trinker

She looks so radiant walking down the aisle by herself.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and this really isn’t about them. And maybe that’s what so weird about this. Looking for information about this online brings up many people who want to walk themselves because they have non-existent relationships with their fathers or their father has passed on, and it seems perfectly okay in that case. But I don’t seem to find many stories about people who choose to walk down the aisle by themselves for other reasons.

I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, trying to pinpoint exactly what aspect makes me uncomfortable, and I think a big part of it is the symbolism bothers me. I am an adult who has been living on her own for a while now. I feel that be handed from one man to another almost implies that all of my individual achievements are insignificant, that what I bring to our marriage isn’t enough. Furthermore, the relationship I have with PBear is something that is very personal and something that is solely ours. Together, we have already been though so much. We’ve managed to survive college and much of grad school, we have built a wonderful life together, and PBear has been by my side through not one, but two surgeries. We have seen the good and the bad together and have come out stronger. I see very little of our lives actually changing after our vow exchange and I think that’s a good thing. Thus, for us, the giving part of the wedding equation seems out of place.

I have to admit, a big part of my reluctance is the seeming acceptance of walking down the aisle by yourself that occurs in many movies and TV shows.

For example, Sound of Music, my absolute favorite movie when I was little:

Source: Sound of Music

Doesn’t she look regal walking down the aisle by herself?

or Charlotte in SATC:

Source: Sex and the City

(Okay, so I’m totally cheating with this one shot of Charlotte. She manages to pick up a random guy’s arm when she finally makes it down the aisle, but the first three failed attempts, there doesn’t look like there’s anyone else at all in the shot. I maintain my case still stands.)

Lastly, I’m glad that main stream media are showing that there are different acceptable options. I love this shot of Tom and Violet in The Five-Year Engagement coming down the aisle together. To me, it feels very true to their relationship.

Source: The Five-Year Engagement

A part of me loves the idea of coming down the aisle with PBear by my side, but I kind of love the idea of having PBear watch me come down the aisle towards him (I must admit, childhood dreams die hard). I really love Mrs. Doily’s solo walk to meet Mr. D halfway, which seem to be a great compromise. I love how you can just feel the emotions behind this gesture in their gorgeous pictures.

Walking down the aisle by myself is one of those decisions that I don’t even remember making, but rather it is something that has always felt so right to me. I would love for our parents to participate in other parts of the wedding/ceremony, but I’m just not sure that the walk is one place I’m willing to budge on.

Did you do an nontraditional walk? How did it work out? Does anyone else felt as strongly about walking in by yourself?


Mrs. Panda

Boston, MA
Wedding Date:
June 2013

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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    AL, Guest @ 11:32 am

    Disgusting. As someone who wishes her father was still alive to walk her down the aisle, I find this post to be sickening. The choice to go it alone is one that you may some day regret.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    lisa, Guest @ 11:35 am

    I’m marrying an Israeli and traditions here are very different. We’re both Jewish, but being American my family and I have a lot of Christian traditions in our head. In Israel it’s pretty non-traditional to be walked down only by the father and then given to the groom (at least for secular Jews, I can’t speak for religious ones). I have seen brides walk alone, brides and grooms walking together, and grooms walking with both parents/brides walking with both parents. I think whatever you feel fits you best is the way to go!

  3. Member
    2sdaymeshell 51 posts, Worker bee @ 11:45 am

    I don’t want to walk with my father down the aisle either. However, he and his side of the family will be offended if I didn’t. My father and I aren’t close. We’ve lived in the same house together for 24 years and we’ve never had a conversation longer than a couple of seconds. I don’t feel resentment towards him, but I feel like walking down the aisle with him is for everyone else, not me. This goes for our first dance too. I don’t want to do it (and I’m sure he doesn’t either) but we will do it to satisfy his side. I’m actually dreading it.

  4. Member
    fmb2012 6 posts, Newbee @ 11:47 am

    Very well written! Glad to know I’m not alone either. This will be my 2nd marriage, and I will be 52 at the time of my wedding, so I have been fiercely independent for quite some time. My dad passed 3 years ago, but I would have still wanted to walk down the aisle by myself. My fiance and I have 3 grandchildren between us (4, 10 and 12) and we talked about having them walk with me. I thought that would be an awesome representation of where we are at in our lives, as we have raised our children and at this point, we get to enjoy each other, spoil the grandkids and live out the rest of our lives!

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    TriniS, Guest @ 11:48 am

    I walked down the isle solo. Dad wasn’t in the picture for most of my life, never took any interest in my wedding or future husband (which was fine by me). So it didn’t seem fair to have him walk me down the isle when my mum was mum&dad for me. When I asked my mum to walk me down the isle, she said she would feel uncomfortable and felt like it wasn’t her place. Which I understood and had no problem walking down by my self. It was very unexpected and out of the ordinary with our group of friends and family. So far, I haven’t heard a negative comment about it. I’m glad I did it that way.

  6. Member
    canadiangardenpartybride 17 posts, Newbee @ 12:34 pm

    not to be a huge pain but I don’t think Charlotte did walk herself down the aisle. There was a generic “dad-like” figure who wasn’t named/didn’t have any lines.

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    BWizMays, Guest @ 1:00 pm

    In my wedding, my dad and brother walked me from the edge of the field where the wedding took place to the beginning of the aisle (marked with an arch). Then, my fiance came, met me at the arch and we walked up the aisle together. It was nice. :)

  8. Member
    rachel631 6333 posts, Bee Keeper @ 1:30 pm

    This is still an ongoing issue for me… I didn’t want to be walked down the aisle for all the reasons you state, but my future parents in law told me that, seeing as I was very close to my father, I should ask his opinion first. They also told me that I should try not to disclose my true feelings on the subject, in case he felt like he had to say no, which wouldn’t be fair. I agreed with all their points, and asked my stepmother to bring up the issue casually, in a sort of jokey conversation. My father then replied that he did not believe in giving away women. I brought up the subject with him later on, and he told me that he did not approve of the idea of giving me away, but that he would do it if I wanted. I was very relieved that we were of one mind! However, FI’s parents are still absolutely scandalised by this idea, and say that I shouldn’t walk down the aisle alone. I have a feeling that conflict is in my future…

  9. Member
    FtrMrsAMH 152 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:33 pm

    I have been thinking of walking myself down the aisle. My mother is my everything but she does not want to walk me down the aisle because I have a father (who has never really been there for me) and a stepfather (who i have mixed feelings for). Some days I want my little brother to do it since we are so close but at this point, if my Mother does not do it I will walk myself down the aisle. This posting makes me feel better because I thought I was alone. Thanks!

  10. Member
    rachel631 6333 posts, Bee Keeper @ 1:35 pm

    @AL: I am prejudiced here, but please read my post below. Not everyone is of the same mind here, and just because people disagree with you does not mean that they are wrong.

    My father is one of my favorite people in the world, but both he and I do not agree with this tradition. This does not reflect badly on the closeness of our relationship… it is completely about our politics. Different things are right for different people. Whilst I would probably never recover if something happened to my much loved father, I would never regret our mutual decision not to give me away.

  11. Member
    panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:59 pm

    @TaraMM11: @deandrea.love: @BML: @AL: I am really, really, truly sorry that your dad isn’t there to walk you. Growing up, I doubt that people ever think of the possibility that their dad won’t be there on their wedding day. It is never easy to lose a parent, but it is especially pronounced on the important days in our lives such as our wedding day. My heart breaks for those who don’t get to make this decision and I apologize profusely if I offended anyone, that was not my intent. It’s not an easy decision, but I hope you find something that works for you and your family. I know your dad will be there with you in spirit.
    @bridalbridle: @dl2eamer34: If walking down the aisle with your father is what you chose to do, I’m really happy for you. I hope that the idea that we should each do what works best for us wasn’t lost in my post. I’m not saying no one should walk with their dad, all I’m saying is that for me, I would feel like I would be lying to myself
    @HopefulForLittleOne: @Liz: @Mrs. Bear Cheese Pie: @Lauren: @Sarah: I am so amazed to hear about all of the different yet beautiful ways that people have walk down the aisle. This is what I love about weddings, how they’re all so different!
    @lisa: I love so many jewish traditions. It’s funny that what is so accepted in one culture is actually uncommon in others! I wish I knew more about other cultures traditions!
    @Canadiangardenpartybride: yeah I know I’m cheating with Charlotte (=/ I should have looked a little harder for another example, but it was mind blowing how many movies/shows with weddings didn’t talk about a father figure at all, and yet at the last second showed an arm, arg, I got lazy, sorry!). Though, in her second wedding, they didn’t have her walking down the aisle at all!
    @fmb2012: congrats on your grandchildren! I think that would be a beautiful representation of where you are in life. I love the idea.

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    BML, Guest @ 2:42 pm

    @Miss Panda — I just want to acknowledge you for the time and care you put into responding to each and every comment with such compassion. Really lovely! Thanks!

  13. Member
    panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:22 pm

    shoot, I’m trying to respond to everyone, but I apologize if I missed someone!

    @2sdaymeshell: I’m sorry that you’re dreading your walk. I think it’s a beautiful thing that you’re doing it for others (okay that sounded weird…) I guess, what I’m trying to say is that a wedding is sometimes more than about two people getting married. I hope you find a solution that makes you happy.
    @TriniS: @BWizMays: those sound like such beautiful weddings
    @Rachel631: I hope you work it out! It’s good that you and your dad are on the same page.
    @FtrMrsAMH: I think it would be beautiful if your mom walks you down the aisle and I hope she agrees to do so! If you don’t want your father (either of them) to walk you down the aisle, then I hope you’re not pressured into doing so.
    @Rachel631: Yes, exactly. I feel the same way. I would be absolutely heartbroken if anything happened to my dad. I will absolutely regret if he wasn’t around to make memories with my children or at my wedding, however, the walk and giving away part, not so much. Actually, a part of me wonders if I would regret giving in.
    @BML: thank you =)

    I am really amazed at the response I’ve gotten with this post. I had no idea that this feeling resonated with so many people. To everyone who posted a comment, thank you, thank you, thank you. You have made me feel not so alone in my decision and hopefully has shown that there are so many different (and beautiful!) ways of walking down the aisle.

  14. Member
    cowpoke06 125 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:13 pm

    I’m so conflicted about how I want to come down the aisle. It’s so funny how everything can get soooo complicated. I have my mom who has always been there…I have my “dad” who has hardly been there but mostly because he’s clueless and then there’s my step dad who has been the best father figure. I originally wanted my mom to walk me but my dad wants to be included so we figured we could do half my mom and half my dad. But then I feel like I’m leaving my step dad out when he’s been so important to me and my life and a 3 way split just seems ridiculous. Maybe walking alone is the best choice but I still enjoy the tradition. SO CONFUSING!

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Michelle Oxman, A Wedding Your Way, Guest @ 7:46 pm

    It is totally understandable to walk down the aisle yourself. Especially when a bride has been living as an adult for years, having Dad walk you down the aisle seems like a step backward.

    In Jewish tradition, both bride and groom are walked down the aisle by their parents. That is at least not being handed from one man to another.
    Walk on your own, or walk with your partner — whatever feels right to you.

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    AfroBride, Guest @ 6:33 am

    I had my father and uncle escort me half way. I had drummers play at my wedding so… I danced the rest of the way down the aisle. I’m a woman… And I’m not property. I really only did it that way to include everyone. It was so much fun!!!!!!?! Did anyone else DANCE down the aisle?

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    moleen, Guest @ 8:29 am

    i so love this! i plan on walking down the aisle by myself coz i feel like, this is me, this is my day. my friend did it people seemed to understand the whole thing so they ended trying to escort her and she was so hurt because she had planned her procession

  18. Member
    mrspaetz 3812 posts, Honey bee @ 2:10 am

    I completely agree with you. I walked half way where my Mr. met me and we finished the rest of it together. I think that was perfect for us :)

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    sallytieknot, Guest @ 12:54 am

    Really innovative thought. Do as you want to, dear..

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