If you have a good relationship with your dad – or even if you don’t – there are many times in life when you really want him there by your side. But possibly no other day evokes such emotions as your wedding day, the day when your daddy walks you down the aisle and blesses the union between you and your true love.
But for some of us, we don’t have the option of having our fathers kiss our cheeks and lift our veils. My own dad passed away in 2007, and I got married ten years later. My dad was my best friend. I couldn’t imagine that day without him.
When this important day came around, I had several options to consider for this painful situation. I hope that one of them will be a good fit for you.
A Father-Type Figure
If you have an uncle, cousin, pastor, friend, or even a boss, you could choose one of these men to escort you down the aisle and into the arms of your beloved. For some, this is a beautiful option for including someone in your life who has meant a great deal to you and been there for you when your daddy couldn’t be.
I also considered asking my mother to walk me down the aisle. She’s been an important part of my life, adores my husband, and thoroughly deserved the honor of being a part of my wedding, as much as my dad would have.
If you’re close to your mother, she may well be the best person to walk down the aisle with you. Chances are, she’s been there herself, and she loves you more than anyone else ever has.
Whether you have brothers or sisters, you could invite one or more of them to accompany you down the aisle in solidarity and celebration of your special day. Most likely, your siblings have been a huge part of your life and would be honored to be part of your ceremony in this way.
If you’re a pet parent, you know why this is a suggestion. Your dog is part of the family – and if your dad isn’t able to walk you down the aisle, that pooch that you adore might be the best alternative. Having Fido lead the way won’t take the sting out of your tears, but he can certainly add some adorableness to the photos while possibly distracting you from the fact that your dad couldn’t be there for your special day.
Who better to escort you than your wonderful children? Whether they’re three or thirteen, your kids are a huge part of your life and your new marriage. They’ll likely be thrilled to be thought of in such a “grown-up” way, too, instead of being relegated to ring bearer and flower girl (though, they could double as these, if needed).
My advice with this, though, is if you have more than one child, invite all of them to walk down the aisle with you in some way. Otherwise, there could be some sadness or resentment at some point for one or more of them when they’re older, possibly without you ever knowing about it.
If any of your grandparents are living, one (or more) of them could be your escort down the aisle. These folks have been around your whole life, as well as your parents’ lives. And even if he or she is using a wheelchair or walker, that doesn’t exclude their involvement in this way.
Or you could simply do what I chose to do, which was to enter alone. I arranged the schedule of the ceremony so that I didn’t notice the absence of my dad as keenly, at least at the top of the ceremony. It helped not having someone enter beside me where my dad should have been.
This can be a tricky one, though, as for some walking in alone would be harder. Weigh and consider this one carefully before opting to do it. Will entering alone bring more tears or will having someone “instead” of your dad bring more sadness?
Finally, you can enter with your sweetheart. Tradition is wonderful, but it certainly isn’t everything, and entering at the same point from different aisles might be the best fit for your special day. Some churches are more suited to this, even, if they don’t have center aisles. Just check ahead of time to make sure there’s some way to make this kind of entry work.