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  • bkirkham79

Is it time to do away with being ‘given away’?

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

First off, let’s acknowledge that not all weddings include a woman and a man (welcome to the 21st century - hurrah!), but please forgive me in the rest of this post as I will use the bride and groom set up as an example. Of course, all of the same considerations can be made whoever is getting married.

We have all seen the image of a Dad, beaming with pride, walking his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. Traditionally, when they reach the front they are asked ‘Who gives this woman to be married to this man?’ to which they would answer ‘I do’.

For some, this is a moment that they have imagined all their lives, but for others this tradition now feels jarring. Perhaps the father of the bride isn’t involved in the wedding, for whatever reason, or perhaps the wording feels a little archaic.

So what fits in a modern ceremony? As ever (you’ll soon be bored of me saying this, if you aren’t already)…if you choose to have a celebrant-led wedding then the choice is yours!

Walking down the aisle

Perhaps this is something that you still feel is really important to your Dad or the father figure in your life. Perhaps you would rather have your Mum, both parents, a sibling or a friend by your side. Or perhaps you actually feel most comfortable walking towards the person you wish to spend the rest of your life with on your own. Maybe you don’t want to walk down an aisle at all or maybe you want to make your entrance together as a couple – why the hell not?!

Giving away

Again, there is no hard and fast rule here; it is about what feels right to you and your wedding day. Here are some options you may wish to consider:

Stick to the traditional wording – if you are most comfortable with this then keep it.

Make it more personal and use names - ‘who gives Sarah to be married to Matthew today?’ or even ‘John, do you give Sarah to be married to Matthew today?’

Change the wording to something less transactional and more compassionate – ‘who supports Sarah in her marriage to Matthew today?’ or ‘John, do you support Sarah in her marriage to Matthew today?’

Include other family members – ‘John and Sue, do you support Sarah in her marriage to Matthew today?’ or ‘do you, Sarah and Matthew’s parents / family support them in their marriage today?’

Don’t say anything at all – the bride’s arrival, the couple moving in to place and the father of the bride taking his seat all happen while the processional music continues and no wording is needed; there may be hugs and kisses in the process. Once everyone is in place the music fades out and the ceremony begins.

As ever, these are just suggestions and there are so many other choices that you could make – give me a call, I’d love to chat through what you feel most comfortable with and help you to plan your perfect personal ceremony.


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