I was having a chat with a good friend of mine recently who isn’t so keen on the concept of marriage. She doesn’t have a problem with the idea of committing to somebody, but she feels that the things we value as traditions are holding on to an archaic and patriarchal value. They assume the woman is property of her father being handed over to her husband, whose property she then becomes. And if you look at it like that, it does kind of look a bit crappy – doesn’t it.
But personally I don’t see why tradition can’t evolve into something more palatable in the 21st century. Why shouldn’t “giving you away” turn into a metaphor for being your support when you take a big step in your life? Your parents, no matter how old you are, probably still see you as their little girl. Maybe walking you down the aisle is symbolic of letting go of your childhood and your past. In that case, I don’t think it matters who “gives you away”.
A still from Father of the Bride (1991) George Banks gives his daughter away
In Jewish tradition, both parents walk you down the aisle. Funnily enough, I didn’t know that when I asked both parents to do it. The reason I asked both my parents is because they’re the two people I’d like beside me when I walk towards my future. But I think anyone can have that kind of meaning in your life, a friend or a relative who you feel closest to.
And if you’re very confident, independent and feel strongly about it, there’s always the option of “giving yourself away” which I think is actually quite romantic!
Finally, there’s the option for your groom to also be walked down the aisle towards you (if it works logistically) at the same time, so you’re meeting, rather than being “presented.”
So this is a short and sweet debate starter! What do you think about the tradition of being “given away”?