I’m not anywhere close to being married yet, but thankfully, my family and I have a pretty open dialogue about what to expect when that day comes. I’m lucky to have parents who are really supportive of my life and my dreams, and they love the fact that I’m a strong feminist who isn’t big on tradition. I’ve always liked the idea of
walking yourself down the aisle as a symbol of independence and freedom from antiquated rules.
There are many reasons why a woman might choose to do this — maybe her dad isn't part of her life, or she’s been living on her own for a while now. Or maybe she just wants to break from tradition. I’ve already told my dad I’m not keen on the idea of
a man asking him for my hand, nor do I love the concept that a woman should be “given away.” Thankfully, he fully agrees. I talked to several other women who have made this choice, and their stories left me feeling inspired and touched. No matter your situation, you should feel empowered to walk alone if it’s right for you — no explanation needed. You’re stepping into a brand new phase of life, and what better way to get there than to stand on your own two feet? I'm an only child who lost her dad a few years ago, so that father-daughter moment at the end of the aisle isn't an option for me. I'm not much of a traditionalist to begin with, but I can't deny that I feel pretty ripped off. I don't want my mom to walk in his place because it feels like I'm saying someone needs to get me there. So instead, I'll walk alone — they raised me to be my own woman, and I think it's a nice symbol of the work they did together. I might even carry some of my dad's ashes in my bouquet somehow to feel like he's still with me after all.
— Jamey, 27
By the time I got married, I had been supporting myself for 17 years ... I had spent the bulk of those 17 years trying to choose a different path in life, and the symbolism of my father, or my parents, giving me away felt completely absurd. I felt that the only person who could 'give me away' to my next phase of life was me. To have him walk me would have felt inauthentic and I deeply wanted my wedding to be as authentic as a wedding can be. For me, that meant bringing most of the people I love into one space in a moment of hope for the future — not performing traditions just for the sake of show. Having anyone walk me down the aisle felt like I was giving away my agency and right to enter freely into my marriage.
— Michelle, 37
I was super disappointed when I saw Meghan Markle take Prince Charles' arm down the aisle at her royal wedding. We all knew her dad wasn't showing, and it would have been such a girl-power moment for her to do it by herself in this foreign country as she prepared to change her life forever. Maybe if I had Prince Charles as an option, things would be different, but I've always planned on walking myself down the aisle. There's no denying this tradition is archaic. I got myself to school, got my jobs, found my boyfriend, and dated him completely without their guidance/supervision. There is no 'giving me away.' After I lived with my parents, I lived on my own. That's when my life truly began! I'm simply adding my boyfriend/future husband into my already enriched life. I'm not being passed from one life to another. I'm also planning on being an equal partner if not the main breadwinner in my marriage. If my boyfriend wanted to be passed to me from his parents, maybe I would consider doing it, but that sounds ridiculous, and having someone pass me off sounds just as ridiculous.
— Brittany, 27
I spent much of my later high school years sleeping in laundromats or bouncing around foster care situations in my hometown. I tried to keep [my parents] in my life, and they were invited to my wedding, but I never intended for my father to walk me ... Ultimately it made sense to me that I'd carry myself down the aisle into this new life, and walk back up the aisle with my husband, facing future adversity together. Seven years later, my parents are no longer in my life at all, but my husband remains my partner through thick and thin, pregnancy and motherhood, and life in three different states.
— Kelly, 34
Each of these stories is so different and moving in its own right. These women know their personal autonomy and their value, and they’ve chosen to show that in a tangible way. Whatever you choose to do, just know that you are following your own heart, rather than what tradition might tell you. Your wedding is a celebration of your love and your relationship, and it should reflect the values that matter most to your life.
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