Dear Miss Manners:
My daughter is getting married next year and is having a dilemma as to who should walk her down the aisle. Her father and I were divorced when she was 2. He has been involved in her life but not as much as she would have liked. Her stepfather has been around since she was 5.
She cannot figure out which one to choose without hurting the other’s feelings. She thinks both escorting her would be too much.
Help! Do you have several solutions or suggestions?
Miss Manners replies:
Miss Manners would not have had trouble with the two-father solution, as avoiding hurt feelings is a worthy goal when planning a wedding. But does it not seem odd to you that a male must give her away, and not the parent who has had her for her entire life?
Indeed, traditionally, giving away a bride was not an exclusively male role. Widows, for example, gave their daughters away. In this case, both fathers will be able to beam equally at the sight of you giving away the daughter you consistently reared.
If I had a traditional wedding—admittedly a big if—this would be almost exactly my situation. My father remained in my life after my parents’ divorce, although not as much as I would like, and in many ways, my stepfather has been the more involved, caring male figure in my life. But I’ve always bristled at the idea that I have to be given away by a man, particularly as that relegates my mom—the parent who really did the work of raising me—to being just a spectator. I suspect I’d either walk down the aisle by myself, with my mom or in a rather crowded herd with all my parents, which is more in keeping with the Jewish tradition of parents standing up with their children.
Those of you who faced this issue…what did you do? And Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there!