Why is that there are still women who let themselves be walked down the aisle by their father and handed over to their husband to be? Like an item. Like a merchandise to be delivered. Like a prize possession. Here she is! She’s all yours now. I give her to you. She now belongs to you.
This tradition was recently up for debate with the royal wedding in England. Apparently, the bride’s father was not well enough to walk his daughter down the aisle. Instead, the soon-to-be father-in-law Prince Charles stepped in and said he would do it. In the end, the bride walked halfway on her own and was escorted the rest of the way by Prince Charles. Why didn’t she walk all the way on her own?
In Sweden, giving away the bride is not a tradition. At Swedish weddings, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together. To me, this is the way it should be. Walking down the aisle together is a symbol of their equality in the marriage that is about to commence.
When I was to get married, my mother suggested that my father would walk me down the aisle. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Here she was, a strong, independent career woman who all of a sudden suggested something that to me represents the complete opposite of that. Luckily, she didn’t insist when I told her no, but still I was disturbed by the fact that she had even suggested it.
In 2010, the Swedish crown princess got married and she was given away by her father. This caused some debate since this is not the typical Swedish custom. The Swedish church has also stated that it prefers if the couple walks down the aisle together as equals.
I listen to a very popular podcast in Sweden (#skäringermannheimer) hosted by two strong women. To my surprise when they discussed wedding ceremonies in one of their episodes they talked about being given away by their fathers. Unfortunately, their fathers didn’t live to witness their weddings, meaning that the giving away part was never an option for them. But they expressed a regret about there fathers not being able to walk them down the aisle and discussed the giving away as if that is the Swedish tradition.
Once again, strong, independent women who are willing to give up their sovereignty and be handed over.
Why is it always the bride that must be given away by her father? Why not have the mother walk her daughter down the aisle? Or let the groom be escorted by his father or mother to his bride to be? Don’t be fooled by all the other lovely aspects of a wedding. If a woman is walked down the aisle by her father, she is delivered from her old caretaker to her new one.
Don’t blame it on that it’s just an old custom. We have a lot of old customs that we no longer practice because they were seriously outdated. This one needs to face the same destiny.
If you’re about to get married and considering whether your father should walk you down the aisle, think about what that means. Think about the message you’ll be sending to the world.
We need to end this tradition whose sole purpose is to objectify women and take away their independence. Walk down the aisle together with your husband-to-be. As two people who are willingly entering a marriage. As equals. That’s the message that we need to send to the world.
A woman can stand on her own two feet and walk down the aisle as the independent, strong woman that she is.