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What If I Don't Want My Father to Walk Me Down the Aisle?

You Don't HAVE to Follow This 1 Wedding Tradition — I Didn't

I had mixed feelings about getting married, and especially about having a big wedding; most of the conventional wedding traditions just didn't sit well with me. (Spoiler alert: I got divorced after just two years, so perhaps I should have followed my instincts.) I'm not religious, I'm a sex-positive feminist, and I'm independent and ambitious. I chose my brother as my "man of honor," I didn't want to change my name, and most of all, I didn't want my dad to "give me away."

This isn't because I hate my dad or anything. But, by the time I got married, he had not been my primary caretaker for several decades: my parents divorced when I was 13, and I moved far away at age 18. By the time I got married at 32, I'd been supporting myself for 10 years. If anyone should be giving away the bride, it was me (or maybe my single self) who deserved the honors.

The idea of being handed off from my dad to my future husband just made me cringe. Just as I never felt like my father's "property," I didn't plan on being my husband's either. I was just Nancy, married, and now I'm still me, divorced.

It's not that I didn't want to honor my parents in my wedding. Both parents were helping pay for the wedding, and I recognize that seeing your only daughter get married is a big deal, even with three divorces between them. But why should my dad or even both my parents walk me down the aisle, while my groom just stands there waiting, as if he's the only independent adult getting hitched?

Our solution: my groom walked down the aisle with both his parents, and I did the same. Not a single person objected to this idea, or if they did, no one said anything. To me, it not only presented my husband and I as equals, but it was also more meaningful for everyone involved.

The wedding traditions you choose to embrace should depend on who you are. I was recently in my best friend's wedding, and her wife chose to have her father and mother walk her down the aisle as well. After all, when she came out to her dad as gay, he lamented that he would never get to walk his only daughter down the aisle; she reassured him that there was no reason that couldn't still happen, even if a wedding had two brides.

In retrospect, maybe all of my distaste for wedding traditions means I should have avoided the biggest tradition of them all: actually getting married. Because just as there are many ways to have a wedding, there are also many ways to be in love. And, like me, you can do whatever you want.

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