In the midst of planning my wedding in the early months of 2010, I received a phone call from my brother. During our conversation, he nervously offered to fulfill a childhood wish of mine. He asked me if I still wanted him to walk me down the aisle. I immediately answered in the affirmative and the plan was set between us. The drama that followed was not as easy.
The hardest part was not when I called my dad to tell him about it. Though I was nervous and didn’t want to hurt his feelings, I wasn’t cutting him out of the wedding tradition completely. I did let him know that I still wanted our father-daughter dance. I know he probably felt a little hurt, but by the end of our conversation he seemed to at least accept the idea. Afterward I never heard a bad word about it. From him.
My grandma, his mom, did have something to say about it. “Your dad doesn’t want me to say anything, but I feel I need to…” I patiently listened to her complain then suggest that they both walk me down the aisle. I had already considered having them both walk me, but…well my dad and brother have never gotten along well. I was not about to be in a sandwich of tension on my wedding day. I love her dearly, but that suggestion was not going to pass go. However, that conversation was not the hardest part.
The hardest part was the day I got a hate filled text from my great-aunt. I was at work when I received it and it hurt me so much, I had to excuse myself from my desk to go cry in the bathroom. I couldn’t believe it. Not only was she the last person I ever expected to hear from on the subject, they were the not the kind of words I expected from her. “Do you know what you’ve done to your dad?” As a person who has issues with pleasing people, that has stuck in my memory more than the other words of being selfish she sent my way. Maybe because she made it sound like he was completely falling apart, yet when I talked with him he was fine and accepting of my decision.
In the end, I pushed through all the protests and negativity and on my wedding day, my older brother walked me down the aisle and gave me away. I have never regretted following through that wish once. In fact, the picture of us entering is one of my favorites of us and hanging in the hallway still. My brother and I have a special connection and I feel like him walking beside me was a declaration of that connection.
So, to the Bride who has a dream for her wedding that goes against tradition: It’s okay to fulfill it. Maybe you don’t want your dad to walk you down the aisle for whatever reason and you want someone else to do it, or you want to walk by yourself. It’s okay. Maybe you and your fiancé don’t want a traditional wedding at all. By all means, don’t shell out the money for the show just because people are pressuring you to. Maybe you want a certain song to walk to instead of Pachelbel Canon in D or Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Do it! Have Fun! We had planned to walk out to ‘I Love You to Death’ by Family Force 5. Unfortunately there was a mix up and it didn’t get played.
While the main point is the commitment you’re making to your intended, that isn’t the only memory you’re going to have. So make them memories worth remembering. I’ll be honest, some parts of that day are a complete haze to me, but there are moments that stand out and they’re usually moments where “tradition” was broken. (My wedding ring was delivered via RC Car, okay?) I remember those moments more than the words we spoke, maybe you will too. Those memories don’t make our commitment to each other less, they just enhance our day more.
To the Bride and Groom…