The tradition of giving away the bride dates back to the days when women were their father's property while they were young and became their husband's property when they got married. The bride was literally given away to another family. In the modern world, the idea of being given away seems sexist to most independent women, so they decide to transform this part of the wedding ceremony into something else. What are the alternatives to giving away the bride?
Blessing. Instead of giving their daughter away, the bride's parents give their daughter their blessing to marry and recognize her husband as a member of their family, while the groom's parents recognize the bride as a member of theirs.
Non-verbal. The bride walks down the aisle unaccompanied, meets her parents at the alter and hugs them. No words are exchanged. If she doesn't want to walk down the aisle by herself, she can ask a family member (for example, a brother or cousin) to accompany her or walk down the isle with the groom.
Everyone is involved. The officiant asks all the quests, as a group, if they will support the new family and encourage them in their new life together. The guests respond “We will!” Of course you are free to change the wording, it is the idea that matters.
The bride gives herself. It's a feminist version of the old custom. When the officiant asks the traditional question, the bride answers that she gives herself, but with her family's blessing.
The bride and the groom are presented to each other. The bride's family presents her to be married to the groom, while the groom's family presents him to be married to the bride. This demonstrates that the partners are equals and that both families give them their blessing.
Skipping the aisle. The problem of walking the bride down the aisle and giving her away will solve itself if there is not aisle. For example, you can have a beach wedding with a beautiful canopy that reminds of a Jewish chuppah, and both sets of parents can be pre-stationed there to welcome you into a new life.
Being given away by children. If the bride and groom have already become parents, or if one/both of them have a child or children from a previous marriage, they can be given away by their child(ren). This is actually very sweet.
Remember that you don't have to transform this part of the ceremony if you are okay with it. But if you are uncomfortable with being given away, it is the perfect opportunity to create your own beautiful tradition.
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