Quick history lesson: The traditional giving away of the bride came from a time when women were viewed as the property of their father until they were ‘given away’ to become the property of their husband. But, fast forward to 2018, and some folks are moving away from the whole ‘who gives this woman to be married’ line and modernising the customary practice to incorporate both parents, other family members and even the whole community. Here are four ways the giving away of the bride, groom or both partners can be done…
1. Go traditional (with a twist).
If you’re not keen on the term ‘giving away’ you can still embrace tradition by having the person who walks the bride, groom or both parties down the aisle confirm their support for the marriage.
“Who presents this [woman/man/couple] to be married?” or “[Name], do you support your [son/daughter/child]’s decision to join [Name] in marriage, and welcome [him/her/them] into your family from this day on?”
2. Both families give their blessing.
This is a chance to honour both partner’s families and acknowledge the role that they have played in your lives. It doesn’t have to just be Mum and Dad – this wording can be tweaked to include any family members or familial figures that are important to you.
“[Name] and [Name] are honoured to have their parents here today to witness their commitment to one another. As they seek to join these two families together in marriage, they wish to do so with their parents’ affirmation. So, I’ll now call upon the parents: [Name] and [Name], and [Name] and [Name], do you offer [Name] and [Name] your blessing and support for this marriage?” or “[Name] and [Name], you play an important role in this couple’s lives. It is from you that they have learned compassion, strength and compromise. Now that they enter this new phase, your role is changed, but in no way diminished. Will you continue to love, support and encourage them as they begin their married life?”
3. All the guests give their blessing.
Ideally, your wedding ceremony will be full of all the people who mean the most to you – so, why not call on them to show their support for your commitment? This group blessing can be a lovely way to make all your guests feel involved.
“Could everybody please stand? A marriage needs the support of not just a couple but a whole community – of family and friends who will be there to celebrate with [Name] and [Name] in times of joy and bolster their marriage in times of hardship. Will you, as those people closest to [Name] and [Name], do all you can to encourage their marriage and nurture the union they are making here today?”
4. Don’t say anything at all.
You don’t need to have any words said after you walk down the aisle if you don’t want to. You can simply have the person who accompanies you down the aisle greet your partner with a handshake, a hug or whatever feels comfortable for them!