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Q: My daughter is planning her wedding, and we're not sure who should walk her down the aisle. As her father died several years ago, would it be right for me to escort her? Would it be better for her uncle to do it? Or, should she walk down the aisle by herself?
A: Any of these options are acceptable. These days, it's perfectly fine for a bride to have her mother escort her or to walk down the aisle alone. The decision is up to your daughter, based on how close she feels to you and her uncle and her dreams for her special day. I recently attended the wedding of a good friend whose widowed mother walked her down the aisle, and everyone agreed it was a lovely part of the ceremony.
Q: I would like my stepfather—not my father—to walk me down the aisle, as he has played a more active role in my life (he's also paying for the wedding). But how do I tell this to my biological father? The aisle is not wide enough for them both to escort me, and I'm beginning to think I'll have to go alone just to spare everyone's feelings!
A: Walking down the aisle by yourself isn't your only option (though some women prefer this to being given away). One choice is to have your mother accompany you; this would work well if you two are especially close. Or you could include both fathers: Ask your biological dad to take you halfway, then meet your stepfather and walk with him to the altar. The other solution is to have your stepfather go with you the entire way. After all, you say he has been more involved in your life, and so he certainly should have a major role in your wedding. Have a heart-to-heart with your biological dad and gently tell him your plan. Assure him that you love him (surely you do) and have other meaningful ways to honor him. See if he'd like to participate in the first father-daughter dance, do a reading or light a unity candle during the ceremony. If you're sensitive to both fathers' feelings and express your wishes honestly and tactfully, you'll find the solution that's best for all.