Thursday, March 25

Two Dads, One Aisle… What’s a Bride to Do?

If you’re like me and your parents are divorced then it can be slightly challenging to plan certain aspects of the wedding. Who sits where at the ceremony and reception? How exactly should the invitation be worded? And most importantly… who will walk the bride down the aisle?

While my father is not remarried, my mother is, and I lived mostly with my mother and stepfather through middle school and high school. Even still, I maintained close ties with my biological father over the years and have always thought of myself as having two dads instead of one. All three of my parents were actively involved in my life while I was growing up and therefore became accustomed to being comfortable in each other’s presence during sporting events, birthdays, celebrations, etc. I feel fortunate that they do get along so well because I am now afforded total reassurance that everyone will have a wonderful time together on my wedding day. I’m doing my very best to share responsibilities and honors equally between both of my dads so that one doesn’t feel more important than the other, and I couldn’t possibly choose only one of them to walk me down the aisle. Lucky for me, they’ve kindly agreed to share in this honor together.


Tradition has it that the bride is only escorted down the aisle by one man in her life, the one who is responsible for “giving her away” to her new husband. But we all know that modern weddings aren’t quite that simple since many brides now have divorced parents (sometimes amicable but sometimes not). It’s not uncommon for a brother or other family member to walk the bride down the aisle if a father has passed away or is unable to. For some brides, a close friend or even a mother is the one who walks with her, and an even more untraditional bride might walk down the aisle by herself. None are right and none are wrong since every wedding ceremony is entirely personal and unique. I believe every aisle walk should be customized to whatever is suitable and preferred by the bride.

When I was considering how to share the spotlight with both of my dads I ventured into a bit of research to get some ideas. I learned that some brides in my circumstance had one father escort them down the first half of the aisle while the other father stepped in midway to take her down the second half. This didn’t appeal to my situation though because my walk will be very brief and the aisle will be much too short to split in half. Another modern version of the aisle walk is having a father walk on each side of the bride. I really like this idea because then both of my dads can walk with me together without having to decide who should walk me first versus second. It does help that I also have control over the width of the aisle (since the ceremony guests will be seated in chairs versus benches or pews) so there is no issue in making sure there is plenty of room for three people to walk side-by-side. I feel so lucky that I have two wonderful fathers that I’ll be able to share that special moment with.

It can be difficult for a bride to decide exactly how to walk down the aisle or who to share the honor with, so here are some pointers from if you are faced with this tough decision…
  • Ask your biological father to walk you down the aisle if you are on good terms with him and if this tradition feels like the natural choice for you.
  • Choose your stepfather if he has been your paternal substitute and if your natural father is estranged from you or unavailable.
  • Consider walking with both your father and your stepfather if both of them agree. Your natural father might walk you halfway down the aisle and turn you over to your stepfather to walk the rest of the way, or they could both walk all the way with you. If your officiant plans to ask, "Who gives this woman?" they both might answer, "We do."
  • Consider walking with your mother or with a beloved grandfather or uncle if there is no father or stepfather to accept this honor.
  • Choose your adoptive father, who would be a more appropriate and loving choice than a biological father whom you may have met as an adult, if you are an adoptee.
  • Consider having both of your parents accompany you down the aisle. This is traditional in Jewish weddings and is becoming more common in non-Jewish weddings since it allows both parents to share the honor equally.
  • Walk down the aisle alone if you prefer it. British royalty do it, and you can, too.
  • Think about walking down the aisle with your husband-to-be if you don't want any suggestion of being given away, and if you prefer not to walk alone.
  • Consider letting children from a previous marriage walk with you and stand with you at the altar, but resist the temptation to have them give you away. After all, you are not leaving them, and your new marriage will not change your relationship to them.
Are you in a similar situation where you'll have an untraditional aisle walk? Who will walk you down the aisle?


  1. I think what you’re doing sounds great! I’ll be walking down the aisle with both my mom and dad.

  2. I want my grandfather and my step dad to walk me down the aisle. I have always been a grandpa's girl, and my bio father is not worth mentioning! My step dad is a wonderful man in which my mother started dating when I was a junior in high school and married when I was a sophomore in college so i was already pretty well grown when he came into the picture but I love him none the less. He has been there for my mother and siblings and me as well. I don't see anything wrong with this. I feel like they are the ones who should give me away.

  3. just a fyi...the background makes it almost impossible to read the text on the page...It looks like good advise...just can't read it.