Published: Friday, Nov. 30th, 2018
We recently received an email from a bride planning her ceremony and looking for a little advice... She wanted to walk down the aisle alone, but didn't know what to expect from the decision.
Since this isn't the first time we’ve been asked about this topic, we think it's a discussion worth having here on American Weddings. So here goes...
Good news: walking down the aisle alone is much more common than most of us realize. Our advice is to go for it!
There are a million reasons why brides might choose to go this route, and quite often it’s just a personal choice. Sometimes a father isn’t in the picture, sometimes he’s not physically healthy enough to handle the task, and sometimes you'd simply prefer the company of your golden retriever.
Whatever the reason, just remember that it’s your wedding, so celebrate it your way!
“Our officiant walked out first,” our friend Daphne told us.
Daphne works as a graphic designer for an LA-based fashion magazine, and her hubby Steve is a teacher.
“Once [the officiant] was up there, Steve walked out and stood at the back of the aisle. After Steve got there, I walked out and met him at the back of the aisle. We walked up to the arch together.”
Daphne said that room was alive with smiles, because their guests recognized that their ceremony was a reflection of their love and her independence. Her proud father was smiling too, because he totally understood why she had decided to walk out alone.
“It was perfect,” she said, remembering the big day. “I didn't feel like someone should give me away. Plus, there was powerful symbolism as we entered into our marriage together.”
"My husband and I are a team and we wanted our ceremony to reflect that..."
Samantha, the next bride we spoke with, gave us a similar reason for choosing a modern approach to the procession.
“I'm super close with my family, but the idea of being ‘given away’ strikes me as being really outdated," she explains.
As a wedding planner, and former bride, Samantha had a lot of experience with weddings and knew she had a lot of options for personalizing her ceremony. Being 'given away' wasn't one of them.
"Nobody owns me, and I'm most certainly not an object to be passed from one male to another.”
Samantha and her husband Rick decided on a vow exchange ceremony that started with them walking each other down the aisle.
Samantha added that her primary concern was planning a ceremony that everyone felt comfortable with. “If my husband felt uncomfortable walking down the aisle with me, I'd walk myself down before I had my dad walk me down,” she said. “When my aunt asked me about our choice, I just said that my husband and I are a team and we wanted our ceremony to reflect that.”
You can get even more creative if you want! The last bride we spoke with inspired us with her choice...
This bride, who we'll call Meera (to protect her privacy), had to think outside the old traditions. Meera's father had passed away when she was young.
She decided to walk down the aisle with her golden retriever puppy, explaining that “she and I are a package deal.”
Meera's not alone in choosing a loving furry friend to support her on her special day, either. Many couples choose to involve their pet (or pets) in the wedding ceremony, either as a member of the procession, ring bearer, or cheerful companion.
With ever-changing trends and traditions, weddings are becoming more representative of each couple's ideals and beliefs, and what makes them unique. Virtual and hybrid weddings, microweddings, and elopements, for example, ask us to rethink and reimagine the guest list, the procession, and even our vows, opening us up to new possibilities and more authenticity.
This clearly extends to the bride's preference on walking alone or escorted down the aisle!
Meghan Markle famously walked down the aisle alone during her wedding to Prince Harry
We hope this information helps you feel more comfortable and confident about your decision. Remember, this is your wedding, and if it feels true to you, we think you should go for it!
Be sure to check out our online Wedding Officiant Training tools to see how to plan and rehearse this important part of the wedding ceremony with your wedding officiant.
If you're an officiant: We’ve also covered this topic pretty extensively in our guide to ceremony creation, Asked to Officiate, if you seek further guidance on planning the processional, vows, or any other element of the ceremony.
We teamed up with AMM Officiant Amber Olsen to release Navigating Your Wedding Ceremony. This valuable guide covers everything from wedding day logistics, writing your own vows, how and where to meet ideal wedding vendors, to obtaining and completing your marriage license – and more.
Updated April 2021
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