Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Giving Away the Bride Tradition and Meaning

For some brides walking down the aisle with their father on their wedding day is a very special moment. One father I know pulled a picture of his daughter from his pocket and said, "This is how I remember you." The daughter's eyes brimmed with tears as she saw herself as a toddler wearing pigtails. The wedding march played, and the two of them walked the aisle together along an emotional thread only the two of them shared. So amid traditions, sometimes we create new traditions. 

Giving the bride away is an ancient tradition that started back when arranged marriages were the norm. Daughters back then in that culture were considered their father's property, meaning the father had the right to "give his daughter" to the groom, usually for a price which had to be paid to the bride's family before he could marry their daughter. In fact, back then daughters were not allowed to get married without their father's permission.

Today, those who choose to "give the bride away" look at it as a practice that symbolizes the transfer of authority from the bride's father to her new husband, and it's not unusual for fathers make a small speech as they relinquish their place of authority. However, dads aren't the only ones to give the bride away. Some brides, today, elect to have both parents, or in some cases, their mother walk them down the aisle. 
Today the bride may choose another family member to "give her away"

Today, the terminology used in wedding ceremonies may still sound about the same, but the practice of giving away the bride has evolved to become a part of the wedding ceremony that lets parents of the bride and groom take part in the wedding ceremony in a way that signifies the parents' blessing on the marriage.

With all that said, the giving away of the bride tradition is not for every bride. Those who feel the practice is archaic, or who don't have a close relationship with their father or parents, shouldn't feel obligated to include the tradition. However, for those who like the idea, but whose father is deceased or unavailable, it is not uncommon to have another close family member walk the bride down the aisle. 

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