Anyone who wants to get married someday likely has some kind of vision in mind of how they would like the day to go.
It can be heartbreaking when a vital part of that vision cannot be played out, like a significant person passing away before the special day, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor DiligentDefinition33 knew that the only person who could walk her down the aisle on her wedding day without making her unhappy was her father, who had passed away.
When her stepfather was hurt by this and her mother insisted she was being rude, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was being selfish about what she wanted on her wedding day.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for turning down my stepdad’s offer to walk me down the aisle?”
The OP made the decision to walk herself down the aisle on her wedding day.
“I (27 Female) have chosen to walk down the aisle alone on my wedding day.”
“The decision was made for two reasons. My dad died when I was seven, and he would be my number-one choice if he were alive, but he’s not. Also, my mom has made it perfectly clear that she would find it disrespectful to my stepdad if she walked me down the aisle and would not do it.”
“Given that both my parents are out, and I don’t want to ask my paternal grandparents to do too much, my grandma and I are already sharing a special dance. Walking alone is what I feel the most comfortable doing.”
“I could ask my stepdad, and even when I contemplated my decision, I knew he would want to do it.”
“But it would make me sad to have him walk me instead of my dad, if I’m honest. I think my stepdad is a good man, and he has tried his very best to be a dad for me, but I didn’t want a dad when I lost mine. I wanted my dad. Nobody else was ever going to be able to fill that role in my heart.”
The OP’s stepdad did not take the decision well.
“I asked my mom and stepdad if they would like to do a joint toast or two separate ones and whether they would like to walk down the aisle/dance to specific songs.”
“While discussing this, my stepdad asked who I would be walking with.”
“I told him I was walking alone.”
“He offered to do it, and I said it was a lovely offer, but I would walk alone.”
“He pressed me on why, and I said it felt like the best option.”
“He said it would mean the world to him if he could do it if just once he could feel like he’s a real dad and not just second place to my dad.”
“I told him I understood, but it was not an option on the table.”
“He said he was already being shamed by having to watch me dance with my grandpa when it should be a father-daughter dance. But to have everyone watch me walk alone when they know I have a stepdad is going to send a very big message.”
The OP was set in her decision.
“I know people will ask about details on our relationship, etc. I met my stepdad when I was nine, and he married my mom when I was ten. He offered to adopt me and give me his last name, and I turned him down five times in the eight years I lived with them.”
“He was married before my mom, and he lost his wife and unborn baby in an accident. He was also made sterile by the same accident. He always longed to be a dad. We got along well, but our relationship was always more to him than it was to me.”
“Where he sees a daughter and wants a daughter, I see a good man and someone who is a great spouse to my mom and is good to me but does not fill the father role he wants to emotionally for me.”
“Physically, he did. But emotionally, I never felt like he was my dad, and everyone in our lives is aware that I feel as though I have one dad, and my stepdad is my stepdad.”
The OP’s mother and stepdad were not happy, though.
“My mom and stepdad are not paying or contributing to the wedding in any way. My fiancé and I both have savings, and we’re putting those into the wedding. Though our wedding will be smallish since we want to prioritize other things.”
“My mom and stepdad say I am rude and heartless for turning down the offer.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some reassured the OP that she was NTA for making the right decisions for herself.
“First, NTA in any way. You aren’t the reason your stepdad doesn’t have kids, nor do you owe him a father-daughter relationship.”
“ON A BETTER NOTE, have you considered printing a small picture of your dad or you and your dad to frame and tie to your bouquet so he’ll still be with you while you’re walking down the aisle?”
“I don’t know if I’m explaining it well, but for my aunt’s wedding, she had a slightly smaller than palm-sized picture of her biological parents (both deceased) on her bouquet and then a larger framed photo held by my nana (her stepmom). I’m fuzzy on some of the details, but it was a nice way to include them, and it made the moment more special for her.” – designatedthrowawayy
“NTA. Your wedding, your choice.”
“I had a family member who had a similar situation. She started to walk up the aisle by herself to represent her father’s absence, then her stepfather joined her halfway. She also had a picture of her father on her bouquet as well. It was a nice tribute to her father and also acknowledged the role her stepfather played in her life.”
“Again, it’s your wedding, your choice. And based on the info provided in your post, it is completely understandable why you want to walk alone.” – quitcute5264
“NTA. One thing my wife and I learned from our wedding is that no one should feel pressured to do anything or invite anyone they don’t want to your wedding (especially since you are footing the bill).”
“It sounds like your stepdad is a little disappointed, and I know your mother is upset, but newsflash, it isn’t their wedding; it’s your wedding and your day.”
“Maybe explain to stepdad that you think he is a good man, a good husband, etc., but you are walking alone as a way to honor your father? Or say f**k it and just tell them that’s how it’s going to be.”
“To reiterate, don’t let anyone pressure or bully you, it’s your day, and weddings and planning don’t need extra stress and bulls**t added on to it.” – kraven94
“NTA. Walk yourself. I did.”
“I had both natural and step father in the seats and walked myself. My stepdad was an abuser and my natural father was almost a stranger to me at that time.”
“I didn’t think either one of them represented the kind of ‘father’ to walk me down the aisle. If my grandfather had been alive, I would have had him walk me. He was my ‘father figure.'”
“You do you.” – Dar_and_Tar
Others understood why the OP’s stepdad was hurt by this decision.
“Being a stepparent is truly a thankless job. You’re NTA, but I really feel for your stepdad.” – rchart1010
“NTA for what you’ve very eloquently said, but your stepdad isn’t an a**hole either. He’s just loved you since you were a kid and doesn’t understand why you don’t feel the same. I am sorry you lost your dad, OP, and when you were so young, but I completely feel for your poor stepdad, especially after he experienced such a horrible loss, as well.”
“I know it’s easier to hold your dad in a better light, especially when all you have is good memories of him until he died when you were seven, but know that your stepdad also gave you his whole heart, even if you never wanted it. He’s not your dad, that’s for sure, but it doesn’t mean he didn’t love you like a dad would.”
“You’re not heartless, but definitely cut him some slack, too, okay? He’s been in your life as a parental figure for a very long time. I understand why it stings to hear ‘no.'” – beetleswing
“OP is NTA, she can do what she wants, but d**n, there’s some ice in those veins. Instead of being appreciative of someone who clearly loves her as his own and has raised and provided for her like a real father, this is a supremely shitty thing to do.”
“Because it’s her wedding, she can do as she pleases, and they should not guilt her into doing something she doesn’t want to do, but if there is any compassion in OP whatsoever, one day she will look back on this day with regret, perhaps after becoming a parent herself the lightbulb will go on.” – InspectorNoName
“NTA, but you might lose another father… While I agree with most that it is your day and ultimately your decision, you have acknowledged he has done everything he could to build a relationship with you, he is a good man, and this will rightfully be seen by him as the ultimate rejection of all his effort for over half your life.”
“With that said, don’t be surprised if he very understandably rejects you in the future. After all he has done to try and be a father to you after you lost yours, I wouldn’t blame him. I know I would. I’m going to be blunt: Your dad is dead and has been for a long time. He is gone, and no amount of rejecting this man on such a personal level, especially after all he has done for you that he was under no obligation to do, can change that.”
“Are you willing to lose another father? Because if you go through with this rejection, you probably will, but it won’t be like last time when you were just a child and life dealt you a cruel blow. This time, you will be an adult who made a conscious choice to reject a man who loves you like he is your father and it will be your fault.”
“I’m not trying to hurt you. Just make sure you think this through before you do something you can’t undo and irreparably hurt someone who loves you as his own when he never had to. What would your father think of that?” – One_Conversation_616
“I’m amazed so many people have written NTA on this one. It seems like it’s all about the bride and nothing (nobody) else matters when it comes to weddings.”
“This reads like she had someone who did everything they could for her in difficult circumstances and her ‘thank you’ is to make it absolutely clear to everyone that she doesn’t consider him to be her Dad.”
“She’d prefer to walk the less than two minutes down the isle alone and permanently damage their relationship than to do the normal thing and walk down the aisle with her stepfather.” – SmurglX
“Deep Sigh. NTA. You get to choose. It’s your wedding.”
“I’m a stepmom. You’re breaking my heart here. And I can’t fully explain what a thankless job it is. You give everything. You get nearly nothing.”
“Your dad passed, and I understand that no one can fill his place in your heart. My dad is also gone, and I will always miss him.”
“That said, it sounds like your stepdad has spent all the years since he came into your life trying hard to be a parent to you. He clearly loves you and is devoted to you. He lost his own child, and he directed his love toward you, a fatherless daughter.”
“All those years, and it feels like maybe it didn’t mean anything to you. It isn’t a betrayal to your dad to love another man who did his best to care for you in your dad’s absence.”
“You can’t find any room in your heart to do something special for/with him? If not walking down the aisle, not even a stepdad/daughter dance to acknowledge his love and efforts over the years? Would you consider speaking and including your gratitude to him and your mom specifically in a toast or speech?” – SelfImportantCat
While everyone could agree this was the OP’s wedding to plan, the subReddit was about as deeply divided over this situation as the OP was from her mother and stepdad. And it was obvious to them why the OP’s stepdad was so upset about the decision after his commitment to the OP.
But while it was her right to invite, walk with, and dance with whoever she wished, there would surely be repercussions for her choices.