Here Comes the Bride
. . . Walking the Walk to the Altar

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Traditionally in Christian weddings, the father of the bride escorts his daughter down the aisle to the altar. There, her groom awaits and greets her and her father "gives her away." It appears that with this custom, as with many others, circumstances make it necessary and appropriate to bend tradition.

If the bride finds herself fatherless, due to an untimely death or the unpleasantness of a divorce or separation, there are a variety of alternative solutions.

The bride may enter, pause and wait for her groom to greet her and then walk down the aisle together. A self-assured bride may choose to walk the walk by herself. Chances are her guests will interact with her through waves, smiles and perhaps even some hugs and kisses. Yet another twist is for the bride to be escorted by one of the ushers. Her mom may greet her at the pew or seat reserved for the mother-of-the-bride and escort her daughter the rest of the way to the end of the aisle, where she "gives over the bride" to the groom. Adopting the tradition of German brides, the couple may choose to walk down the aisle together, as a symbol of starting their lives together. Finally, she may choose to emulate Jewish tradition and be escorted down the aisle by both her parents, who then remain under the wedding canopy with the couple, his parents and perhaps others as well.

It's best to remember that when it comes to wedding traditions, there are both many and varied customs. None are "right," and none are "wrong." They are merely reflections of the history of people and countries and all can be molded to suit special circumstances and situations.

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