We recently received an email from a bride who was planning her ceremony and wanted to walk down the aisle alone, and asking for our advice. Since it wasn’t the first time we’ve been asked that question, we figured this is a discussion worth having here on American Weddings, so here goes. We’re always interested in hearing from you, so make sure to follow us on social media and tell us about your experiences!
I’m not very close to my father, and we never had much of a relationship, to be totally honest. And while I could have someone else walk me down the aisle, I would rather just walk by myself. I've always been an independent sort of person, and I see this as a statement of my autonomy. Is this common, and what should I keep in mind if I go this route? -- Shelby in Albuquerque
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 . Perhaps the father isn’t even in the picture, perhaps he’s not well enough to handle the task, perhaps you would simply prefer the company of your golden retriever. Whatever the reason, just remember that it’s your wedding, so celebrate it your way!
We reached out to other brides in the AMM community to get their input, and you’ll be glad to know you are in great company.
“Our officiant walked out first,” our fried Daphne told us. She’s a graphic designer for an LA-based fashion magazine, and her hubby Steve is a teacher. “Once he [the officiant] was up there, Steve walked out and stood at the back of the aisle. After he got there, I walked out and met him at the back of the aisle. We walked up to the arch together.”
The room was alive with smiles because their guests recognized that their ceremony was a reflection of their love and her independence – including her proud father who totally understood why she had decided to walk out alone. “It was perfect,” Daphne said. “I didn't feel like someone should give me away, plus, there was powerful symbolism as we entered into our marriage together.”
“I'm super close with my family, but the idea of being ‘given away’ strikes me as being really outdated,” former bride and wedding planner Samantha told us. “Nobody owns me and I'm most certainly not an object to be passed from one male to another.”
Samantha and her now-husband Rick decided on a vow exchange ceremony that featured the couple walking each other down the aisle. That said, Samantha’s primary concern was doing something 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! Another bride, whose father passed away when she was young decided to walk down the aisle with her golden retriever puppy, explaining that, “she and I are a package deal.”
With ever-changing trends and traditions, weddings are becoming more representative of the couple's ideals and beliefs, and what makes them unique. 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
Be sure to check out our wedding training tools on our website to see how to plan this important part of the wedding ceremony. We’ve also covered this topic pretty extensively in our guide to ceremony creation, Asked to Officiate if you seek further guidance on planning this particular part of the ceremony.