You don't have to have seen Father of the Bride a dozen or so times to know about the time-honored tradition of the father walking his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. But the reality is that this scenario is not ideal for everyone. Not everyone has a father—or father figure—in their life and, even if they do, they may choose to have someone else escort them down the aisle. "Years ago, marriages were arranged by the father of the bride, mainly because daughters were considered 'property' of the family," explains Deb Erb, wedding and event planner at Simply Events Inc. "In order to marry a daughter, the groom needed to either sign a contract or give something tangible to the family of the bride (maybe a goat or cow)." As you can see, this tradition is far from making sense in today's day and age.
While it's perfectly normal to choose to go the traditional route, there are plenty of other options if you'd like to switch things up. In fact, these days more and more brides are choosing to walk down the aisle with more than one person. As Erb explains, the only etiquette necessary is for the bride to communicate well. "Parents and family need to allow the bride to choose who she feels most comfortable with and then support who decisions." Here are some common ways or planning and carrying out who walks you down the aisle on your wedding day.
Your mother and father.
In many cultures, it's traditional to have both the mother and father walk their daughter down the aisle. Some brides may find this more suitable rather than choosing just one parent to do the honor. If you prefer to be escorted by both your mom and dad, Erb says go for it!
Your parents and grandparents.
Though it's not customary, there's nothing wrong with having a train of people escort you down the aisle, if that's what you wish for as the bride. After all, it's your special day. If your grandparents are still alive and well, why not give them the honor of escorting you down the aisle—either alone or accompanying your parents.
Your stepfather and father.
Erb points out that some brides choose to start down the aisle with their stepfather and then meet up with their father in the middle and walk the rest of the way with him. Whether you choose this option or decide to switch it around, it's completely up to you. You may even choose to have both escort you the entire way.
Bottom line: Choose whomever is closest to you
Perhaps you're not all that close with either of your parents—and you're footing the bill for your own wedding anyway. Do you still need to ask them to escort you down the aisle? Erb says no. "Brides can choose whomever they feel is most important in their lives." Whether that's your brother, best friend, cousin, or one of your soon-to-be in-laws, that decision is entirely up to you.