Dad Dilemmas Solved

For Your Wedding Day

If you have a special relationship with both your dad and stepdad, have them both escort you to the altar.
Anya Albonetti Photography

Let’s face it. When it comes to your wedding day, bringing different members of your family together in one place can get, well, complicated. Especially when it comes to Dear Ol’ Dad. Read on for four solutions to some common questions from our readers.

It’s not easy to generalize the complex and emotionally rich world that is the relationship between fathers and daughters. In each stage of your life, who Dad is and what he represents changes. When you’re younger, he’s possibly your protector: squasher of bugs, creator of tree houses, bike-riding teacher. Fast forward to adolescence and he’s the enforcer: ensuring you get home by curfew, intimidating your boyfriends, a driving teacher.

By the time you reach your wedding day, you may not need Dad as much or as often. Depending on the rest of your familial relationships, time could have strained your relationship or a Stepdad could have become the more significant man in your life. In some cases, Dad may no longer be with you, and you’re struggling to figure out how to honor and remember him on your special day.

How to navigate these paternal woes to insure peace and happiness for your wedding day? Here, four common dad dilemmas solved.

How do I choose between my dad and stepdad to walk me down the aisle?

The first thing to ask yourself is how close you are to each of these men. If Dad and Stepdad are equally important to you, you may want to honor that by giving them equal time. They could split walking you down the aisle, Dad walking you halfway and Stepdad walking you the rest of the way or vice versa. If they’re amicable, they could share the responsibility, one on each side of you. Or, if you’d rather, you can assign one dad to each memorable moment: one to walk you down the aisle and one to do the father/daughter dance.

My mom and dad don’t get along, but I want to involve both of them in my wedding.

In this instance, there will need to be some emotional restraint on your parents’ end. They’re both adults and will need to figure out how to get along with each other on your big day. With that said, try to give equal time to both parents and involve them in separate but equal ways.

If Dad walks you down the aisle, maybe you can have a mother/daughter dance. Or, perhaps your mom can be the one to give the toast if Dad does the dance. What’s most important is that they’re both there for you. They can set aside their problems for one day—and seating them across the room from each other won’t hurt!

I want to honor and remember my deceased dad, but I don’t want it to be too sad.

Life milestones are always a tinge bittersweet when we can’t share them with the people we love dearly, and yes, you’ll have to accept that there will be sadness. But don’t let that stop you from remembering him and acknowledging your love. You can do this in small or large ways.

Perhaps a token of his can be incorporated into your wedding décor or bouquet. A charm made with your father’s picture can be wrapped around your bridal bouquet or your “something blue” could be a hankie from dad’s closet.

You could also choose one of his favorite songs for your first dance, or light a candle for him during your ceremony. Whatever you choose, don’t forget that this is a day of celebration and that your father would want you to be happy and full of love.

I don’t have a good relationship with my dad and I’m not sure I want him at my wedding…

This is a tough one, and only you can really know what’s right for you in this situation. Some may say that you’ll regret not inviting your father to share such a special day, but if he hasn’t been present in your life or if you think his involvement could only cause more pain than happiness, the right decision may be not to invite him. If you want him to be involved in some way or meet your fiancé, you could always set up a special post-wedding dinner to do introductions and spend time with your dad then.

--Karell Roxas

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