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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Asking the Question?

Nope, I'm not referring to that wonderful question asked in so many wonderful ways - the "will you marry me?" question. 

I'm actually referring to the question traditionally asked when the bride's father walks her down the aisle, "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" - or something along those lines.  It is actually one of the things I have learned to ask my couples about -- including what does the bride want, what are her Dad's expectations...

The reason I ask about it, and don't want to make assumptions either way, is that most couples who work with me are either living together already, or have been in the relationship for a good amount of time - but are definitely not coming to me directly from their father's home.  Therefore, the word "give" is where the issue tends to lie.

According to - "In times when women were granted few privileges and even fewer personal rights, the bride was literally given away to the groom by the father, usually in exchange for monetary gain." Yeah, doesn't really describe most of my brides, thankfully!

I'd love to get your thoughts on this.  I tend to offer two suggestions - if they and/or their father want a question asked at that point, I recommend, "Who supports this woman as she joins this man in marriage?" They still answer with "her mother and I do" or whatever is meaningful to them.  It feels much more comfortable to my couples, and is still honoring the bride's father and the important role he has played in his daughter's life.  If they aren't worried about asking a question, I reassure them that a question is not necessary, and truly won't feel odd not being there.  But, if the father is very traditional, and the bride would prefer that I ask the traditional question with "gives," I am happy to do it.

Either way, I love to have the bride and her father stop at the first row of chairs, either ask or don't ask, and then the groom joins them there, shakes the hand of his soon-to-be father-in-law (or hugs him, depending on their relationship), the bride turns to Dad and hugs him, and then the couple take the final step or two to me together.  Whether it is a real distance of a few steps or even stairs, or just a symbolic distance of only a few feet, it's nice that they are coming to me together, coming to their marriage together, as equals and as a team.  


1 comment:

  1. I have no strong opinion on it...I guess were I in your shoes/robe/whatever, I'd do what you're doing, ask the couple. Maybe dad has strong feelings about it, so I'd probably ask the couple if they knew about that as well.

    My late father-in-law answered to "who gives this woman...", as did I when I walked my sister down the aisle last year. I saw nothing wrong with the tradition, and neither did she.

    Hope this helps.