9 Alternative Ways to Answer the Question “Who Walks the Bride Down the Aisle?”

In a traditional wedding, it can usually be expected that the father of the bride walks down the aisle with her to meet the person she is going to marry. However, here at Loverly, we believe more in creating new traditions than always sticking with the old ones!
 If your dad passed away, you just aren't close to him, or the tradition of being "given away" rubs you the wrong way, there are plenty of other ways to get yourself down the aisle! Regardless of how you choose to begin your wedding ceremony with any type of processional, it’s important for you to feel comfortable and loved in that moment. If the traditional order of the bride walking in with her father doesn’t fit for you, find and choose an alternative that can honor your vision of your special day.
For some couples, especially many in the LGBTQ+ community, the tradition of a man escorting his daughter down the aisle feels heteronormative and doesn’t represent their desires for their ceremony day. Furthermore, the tradition echoes some of the more patriarchal roots of marriage in the act of “giving” away a daughter to a new man. That said, we’re all about rewriting traditions here to make them work for you, so feel free to keep the tradition and just change the perspective, too. Some couples may feel that this special moment is important to them and want to fulfill this tradition by having their dad as an escort on their big day—and that’s great, too! It is entirely up to you and your partner how you decide to start your wedding. 
On that note, please keep in mind that this piece features a lot of gendered language, but we want to emphasize that whoever you are and however you identify, these tips and ideas are still for you! You are welcome and encouraged to take whatever inspires you from this post, regardless of whether or not you identity with the occasionally gendered language it is written in. 
If you’re getting ready to walk down the aisle but for whatever reason, don’t want to have your father escort you, we have a list of alternative options to make this tradition fit you (rather than the other way around).
Read on for nine different options for who can walk down the aisle with you and give you the special moment that you deserve exactly as you want it to occur.

1. Walk down the aisle with your mom. 

Photo by Bence Halmosi on Unsplash
Photo by Bence Halmosi on Unsplash
We love when brides are escorted down the aisle by their mamas! If your mom raised you or the two of you are extra close, it's a wonderful way to honor her and give her a bigger role in your ceremony. If you have two moms though, just be sure not to play favorites! We don’t think three would be a crowd in this case.
This is a great option to just tweak the tradition a bit if you still feel that you’d like a parent to accompany you down the aisle but your father isn’t an option.
You can also include your grandmother if she played a big role in your life and make it a generational family affair. Your mom would definitely recognize the honor and would make sure you got to the end of the aisle with all of the love and support that you could ask for. 

2. Walk down the aisle with both your parents. 

If you love your dad but don't want your mom to feel excluded, have both parents walk you down the aisle. This is traditional in a Jewish ceremony, where the bride is escorted by both of her parents with her father on her right side and her mother on her left side. However, brides of all religious backgrounds can definitely choose this processional arrangement in order to make this a moment for the entire family to experience together. 
Not sure where to put your arms? Link arms with one parent and have the other one place his or her hands on the front and back of your bicep. If you’re getting a walking down the aisle photo, this arrangement will look the most natural. Also, this way, both of your parents get to reach the altar with you and give you the best possible sendoff, instead of the potentially uncomfortable moment of being “given away.” Think of this more like a stroll into the next chapter of your life with the two people who’ve had your back from the very beginning.

3. Walk with a grandpa, your stepdad, an uncle, or a brother. 

Photo by Aaron Bond on Unsplash
Photo by Aaron Bond on Unsplash
If your dad wasn't a prominent figure in your life but another man was, invite him to walk you down the aisle. We never fail to tear up when a bride walks down the aisle with her brother. This arrangement doesn’t necessarily mean that someone else is taking the place of your father or filling his role (although it can); it’s more about giving you someone to support you as you walk down the aisle.
Regardless of gender, if you have a family member who has had a significant impact on your life and you’d like to give them a special moment in your wedding day to commemorate their place in your journey, having them walk you down the aisle is a perfect way of doing so.

4. Walk with your sweetheart. 

Photo by Tim Stagge on Unsplash
Photo by Tim Stagge on Unsplash
If your venue has (or can be set up to have) two aisles along the sides of the room, you and your love can walk down at the same time and meet in the middle. If you happen to be a bride and groom, this allows your marriage to start off on an equal note instead of a gendered one, but this is an arrangement for any sort of couple whether bride and bride, groom and groom, or just partner and partner.
If your venue doesn’t have enough space to have one partner on either side of the ceremony space, you can also just walk down the one aisle in the middle together. Making your grand entrance to the wedding as a team could be just the vibe you want for starting off on this next big journey together! Or if you really want to maximize the entrance drama, you can also potentially enter one from the left side and one from the right side and then meet in the center at the back of the aisle to walk down together as equal partners.
Whoever walks down the aisle and in whatever order, it might be nice to have your escort also be your soon-to-be-spouse.

5. Walk alone. 

If you're a strong, independent bride who don’t need no man then don't hesitate to make the aisle trip solo! Walking down the aisle alone isn’t a sign of weakness or that you don’t have someone else to ask. Instead, it allows you to have a moment all your own to truly recognize who got you to that altar—yourself.
It’s important to make every part of your wedding ceremony, including the processional, match your desire and your vision for how you want to be celebrated. While many brides may want someone to accompany them to the front, you can take this opportunity to do something different and show your strength and beauty by feeling free to walk alone–if you’d like to. 

6. Have your dog escort you down the aisle. 

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash
Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash
Because we all know he's really your rock of support. Now, this choice may require a bit more wedding planning than the other, as some venues may not be thrilled with you bringing a pet on your wedding day. But since we know “walk” is your pupper’s favorite word, why not involve him in your wedding ceremony in his favorite way?
While many pet owners choose to involve their furry best friend in other ways, such as replacing the flower girl or ring bearer, we think it would be super cute to be escorted to your human best friend at the altar by your other best friend. Plus, then your pooch is already front and center for the photos—as he should be!
Keep in mind that some dogs respond better to crowds than others, though! If your pet is likely to bolt when they see your partner up front or get nervous being surrounded by your guests, then maybe this isn’t the right option for you. That said, you know your poochy pal best, so if they’re ready to walk down the aisle with you then we say, go for it.

7. Walk with your Maid of Honor.

Besides your spouse-to-be, there is potentially no one more tried and true at your wedding than your maid of honor. While the person at the end of the aisle is your future, whichever bestie you choose for this position is that plus your past and present.
You’ll have to be careful not to be cracking jokes while you’re walking down the aisle (at least not the entire way), but seeing as the Maid of Honor’s job is to keep you calm and collected during the entire wedding process, it seems only reasonable to keep her as close to you as possible on your ceremony day. Plus, it’s a big deal to choose a person as your maid of honor, so why not have them fill as many places as they can. Family and best friends are forever, after all.
When it comes to strutting your stuff down the aisle at your wedding, who better than your bestie to take you there?

8. Walk with your kids.

Now, including your kids in your wedding day can be a little bit complicated. But lots of parents figure out ways to do it, especially when you follow these tips.
If your kids are comfortable with being involved, walking down the aisle with them could be a great way to start the celebration together. As their parent, of course, you may decide that they might be better suited for a flower girl or ring bearer position, but being escorted down the aisle with your kids is truly a powerful family moment. If you have multiple kids, see if one might like to walk down with their other parent and one with you or if they’d prefer to just be one on each side of you.
Take care to be respectful of their wishes; don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to do. But you can also remind them that this ceremony is about your family, not just their parents, and that walking down the aisle with them would be a really special experience for all of you together. 

9. Don’t have a processional at all.

If you’re really struggling to pick an option, you could always just nix the processional all together. This definitely isn’t the traditional option, but—like we’ve said—what’s traditional and what’s right for you aren’t always the same thing! So go with what’s right for you.
By skipping the processional you avoid any chance of offending one of the parents or another and you can take your time with other aspects of the ceremony like the vows or other special unity ceremonies you may want to tie in. Walking down the aisle is a pretty quintessential wedding moment, but it might not be your cup of tea so don’t feel obligated. The bride and groom can both just start front and center with the officiant, rather than giving them both a grand entrance and long line of walking wedding party members in between.

So who walks the bride down the aisle?

The answer is anyone! Anyone can walk the bride down the aisle as long as that’s what the bride wants on their wedding day. Whether it’s the parents, the groom, or someone else, “traditional” doesn’t matter unless it’s something that makes you feel good about your day.
So think about what you want, and walk down the aisle with whoever you want to. After all, it’s your wedding day.
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About the author
Kellee Khalil is the Founder & CEO of Loverly. She lives in upstate NY with her fiancé and two dogs.