By Jessica Hunter
We have all heard the term ‘walking down the aisle’ and I can almost guarantee that images of white weddings, churches and vows immediately come to mind…but did anyone stop to think about what walking down the aisle really means? When I think about other walks in life that are well known – walking the plank, the walk of shame, and walking the line – it would seem walking down the aisle got caught in a bad game of ‘Which One of These Thing’s Doesn’t Belong?’
Traditionally, a father walks his daughter down the aisle, giving her away to her soon-to-be husband…but back up for a minute. Traditionally? Whose tradition is this anyways? I began to do some research (via my good friend Google) to shed some light on the situation. Site after site references that the bride walking down the aisle is a tradition stemming from a father offering his daughter as a ‘token’ or to be blunt, as a piece of property in some trade negotiation. Would women still be down to take that walk if they knew this is what it stands for?!
I caught up with Jeanne Hankerson, founder of SJ Couture Bridal to get her take on this rather disturbing news. “I have never understood the concept of a ‘traditional wedding,’” she replied without hesitation. “If you have waited this long for your BIG day, and this perfect partner, why do all of the things that you hold dear in your daily life - such as independence, a unique sense of style, views and opinions - take a backseat to other voices and ideas that feed your doubts?” That is a good question.
When I looked at a lot of the comments people have made about this topic, on sites like idoobxweddings.com and offbeatbride.com, it would seem a lot of brides suffer some serious stress over who should walk them down the aisle, and what the big day is ‘supposed’ to look like, rather than what they want their wedding to look like. Would it really be that bad if a bride opted out of the aisle?
Its funny, I have a lot of friends in the wedding industry from event planners to decorators, and all to often their one major complaint is that couples don’t know what they want their big day to look like. Maybe Jeanne was right and the reason no one knows what they want when they get married, is because they didn’t really realize there were options.
I can only imagine how difficult it is to plan a wedding because I am not engaged, nor really entertain ideas of the big day save for an occasional repin on Pinterest. But it would appear that the second a couple gets engaged, common sense goes right out the window. Budget becomes the new F-word, and everyone else’s opinion begins to matter.
Now before you pick up your pitchforks, I am not knocking what society has come to accept as the traditional wedding. If you want your father to walk you down the aisle, do it… but do it because you want to, not because someone tells you to! The very definition of tradition is to have a belief or a behavior with symbolic significance. So it would seem that even when dealing with traditions, sometimes the only voice that matters is your own.