In recent years, more brides are reconsidering the North American tradition of being given away by one or both of their parents. According to December 2011 data from Pew Research Center, the median age of first marriage for American women is 26.5. Many of these brides are mature women long independent of their parents. And let's be real, they've likely engaged in various pre-marital activities — including cohabitation — with their grooms. So the idea of this wedding being an exchange from parents to husband is out of date. People who practice the tradition today view it more as a sweet gesture of parental approval of the union and an extension of family.
A bride who chooses not to walk down the aisle escorted by a parent wouldn't be the first. In traditional Catholic weddings, as well as most European ceremonies, the bride and groom walk together. For the last 200 years, couples marrying in the Swedish Church have entered the ceremony together as a symbol of equality. So you can imagine the controversy when Sweden's Princess Victoria asked her father to escort her to her groom. In Jewish weddings, on the other hand, both the bride and groom are walked down the aisle by their mothers and fathers, who stand beside them during the ceremony.
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Some American women have decided to take center stage and walk alone down the aisle. If that doesn't add to some pre-wedding jitters, we don't know what will! But there are a few less lonely options for making your wedding start off on a more egalitarian foot. Brides and grooms can walk in together. Don't worry, seeing the love of your life all dressed up is just as emotional from the other end of the aisle. Another trend involves the bride and groom starting out at opposite ends of the aisle, meeting halfway, and walking the rest of the way to the altar together. During this time, the groom can deliver flowers to the bride or greet her with a hug. Think of all the photo opportunities!
There's no right or wrong way to get down the aisle. Cartwheel or leapfrog over your parents and future in-laws, if you want. The most important thing is to treat your wedding like your relationship — love it and make it your own.
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How do you feel about the tradition of walking down the aisle? Would you try something new?
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