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Dad Hurt When His Daughter Asks Both Him And His Wife To Walk Her Down The Aisle

Nik Shuliahin/Unsplash

While wedding planning is supposed to be a happy occasion, but being an important event, there are typically lot of people who want to share their thoughts and opinions.

Sometimes this can lead to serious disagreements, or at least hurt feelings, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor postman_deluxe was hurt when he found out he wouldn’t be the only one walking his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

But when he thought about sharing his feelings, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if that would put him in the wrong.

He asked the sub:

“WIBTA (Would I be the a**hole) for wanting to walk my daughter down the aisle by myself?”

The OP was excited for his daughter to get married.

“So my wife (43 Female) and I (44 Male) adopted my daughter when she was 14 along with her 2 bio brothers (8 & 6). We adopted them all so they could be kept together and I love them with all my heart.”

“Now my daughter is 25 and getting married to ‘Dan,’ who is a great guy and they’ve been dating for 3 years now and just got engaged 8 months ago.”

The OP’s wife was hugely involved in the wedding planning.

“My wife has been helping my daughter plan everything and doing the regular mom and daughter wedding things.”

“My sons (19 & 17) and I just do as we’re told and try to help out where we can. They’re doing a small wedding but I’m paying for a third and so is her fiancé’s father (Dan’s dad) and the happy couple is doing the other third.”

The OP had mixed feelings about one of the plans. 

“Now my daughter had us all go out to a fancy dinner 2 days ago with her fiancé and that’s when she told us that she would like myself and her mother (my wife) to walk her down the aisle.”

“She says that she’s so happy to have found her forever home with us and how she loves us both so much and wants us to both give her away.”

“My wife was ecstatic and said yes while I just nodded and tried to hide the hurt I felt.”

“I’ve always dreamed of giving my daughter away as I think it’s a precious moment that should just be between father and daughter.”

“No one seems to have caught on about my hurt yet, but I wanted to talk to my wife about it to see if she could step down and let me have it.”

“So WIBTA?”

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 thought the OP was being too old-fashioned. 

“YWBTA.”

“IMO (in my opinion), a father walking a daughter down the aisle to give her away is a patriarchal leftover from ancient times.”

“When I got married almost 30 years ago, both of my parents walked with me, and both of my husband’s parents walked him.”

“Our officiant asked, ‘Who escorted these young people through life so they could be brought together?'”

“All four parents answered, ‘We did!'”

“It was a beautiful and inclusive moment.” – DogTrainer24-7-365

“You’re walking her down the aisle, no giving her away, not giving her away. She’s your daughter, not some possession like your car or money. YWBTA.” – Dogandcatslady

“It’s an outrageously antiquated tradition. I did it only because if both my parents walked me down the aisle it would have been 33% of the guest list.”

“Frankly, I assumed OP was going to say she wanted her birth father to walk her. I would say N A H on that most likely. But he’s just upset about sharing the moment with his own wife?!”

“YTA. It’s a symbolic passing from her family of origin to her newly formed family. It’s absolutely appropriate for both parents to take part in that.” – Gatorae

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable for him to talk to his wife and share how happy he is that she’s getting all her special moments and his disappointment that he doesn’t have one yet.”

“I wouldn’t be keen on him making the suggestion to his wife that she step down, but if I knew how my husband felt about something like this, I would move heaven and earth to make sure he had something of his own that was really meaningful to him and our daughter.”

“My guess is that mother and daughter are caught in their little fairy bubble. Mom might be able to relate more than a daughter to what he’s going through, and be able to help the daughter find something and think it was her own idea.” – InnerChildGoneWild

“I don’t think he’s an a**hole for being hurt, but he would be if he threw a fit about it.”

“I don’t think simply discussing it calmly expressing how he feels to his wife would make him an a**hole. Sounds like he cares a lot and thought this would be his big part in the wedding.”

“Maybe ask for some more responsibilities, ask if your daughter would do a father/daughter dance, etc.” – hanmeaknife

Others agreed and said this new arrangement could be really meaningful.

“I think having both parents is lovely. My dad died before I got married and I just had my mom. Why? Because it was the symbolism of our little family transitioning into something different.”

“Please don’t think of it as being against you, but embracing the whole family she loves.” – Tangyplacebo621

“I had both my parents walk me down the aisle, but that’s a tradition in my culture. But for my dad, I had him give me away and we had a dance together. It was a short-lived dance because he gets tired easily.”

“I don’t think you are the AH for feeling hurt but you would be if you pressure your wife into stepping down.” – okapi-forest-unicorn

“My husband walked down the aisle with his parents and I walked down with mine at our wedding. I hope my boys will give me the honour of walking them down the aisle at their weddings one day.” – kennedar_1984

“I think what OP could do is talk to his daughter about generally feeling left out and wishing he was more involved somehow or had individual quality time with his daughter. It sounds like OP is bummed that he feels his wife gets to do the traditionally Mother of the Bride stuff as a special time with their daughter and that the only traditional Father of the Bride thing he knows of is now a group activity.”

“Maybe go to daughter and say, ‘Is there something you and I could do together at or related to your wedding, just the two of us? Or is there something we could plan or work on together? I’ve been so happy to see all the quality time you and [wife/mom] have been spending together wedding planning, and I’d really love if we could do something like that sometime.'”

“Then have some ideas to pitch.”

“Maybe you and daughter could make some sort of wedding decoration together? Or a keepsake? You could plan a night with her just the two of you making wedding favors, you guys could plan them together, you could pay for them, and you could assemble them together and marathon movies you like and chat with snacks?”

“Maybe you could say you know moms traditionally pick out the dress with their daughter, but could you guys go pick out a necklace or something blue or whatever together? And make a day of it, where you also hang out and go out to eat and talk wedding shop?”

“Maybe you could get a special of jewelry from your family member (to at least borrow), and you could drive/travel together to get it, stop places together and have fun, look at your old family home, or whatever?”

“Maybe you say you’d like to make a tradition for the two of you to do at the wedding? You guys could learn a fun or funny dance together for your father of the bride dance. Maybe a pop culture thing? Or something meaningful to you from your family or culture?”

“If you like to sing, you could sing a song together at the wedding? Etc.” – TheHatOnTheCat

“Because with the way the daughter wants it, OP would still be walking his daughter down the aisle. The only difference would be that his wife, and her mother, also gets to share that joy.”

“If this was really about wanting to walk her down the aisle, OP would be happy because he’s still getting to do that. But this is about OP being the only one to walk her, so he’s mad even though this is what the bride and groom want.”

“Also, did anyone else notice how OP says he, the groom’s father, and the couple are splitting the cost? Was it weird to anyone else that the moms weren’t mentioned?”

“He should have said he and his wife are paying one-third. Even if she was a SAHM and wasn’t bringing in actual money, it’s still a partnership and both he and his wife should get credit for that.”

“I think this phrasing, in combination with OP wanting to give his daughter away, just made the whole situation seem extra misogynistic. Rubbed me the wrong way. YTA.” – Jadertott

A few pointed out it was his daughter’s wedding and her choice, simple as that.

“YWBTA for a couple of reasons:”

“1 – it’s your daughter’s wedding, not yours. She wants both her parents to walk her down the aisle because she loves and respects both of you. It’s HER choice.”

“2 – Whatever dream you had of “giving away” your daughter, maybe you need to rethink that. Your daughter is not property to be “given” to her husband. She’s an adult making a choice to join her life with a partner and she wants her parents – BOTH OF THEM – to help her celebrate that.” – MaggieMae68

“I’m Catholic and usually, the father walks the bride down the aisle, but I’ve been to Christian and Catholic weddings where both parents walk the bride down.”

“I believe it may be a personal preference nowadays… most people are kicking old-school traditions to the curb.”

“OP would definitely be TA, especially considering how excited the mother was. It’s the daughter’s choice. It’s not a slight against the dad, it’s her choice to include two incredibly important people to share a special moment with her.” – ccam04

“YWBTA. First of all, it’s her wedding, so she and her fiance get the final say in what happens.”

“I understand that this may have been something you were looking forward to, but please don’t feel it’s a slight against you, but her expressing love for both her parents.”

“Plus, a lot of people feel the old tradition of just a father walking a daughter down the aisle is a bit misogynistic (one man symbolically giving custody over to another man) while having both parents walk the daughter down the aisle has more modern symbolism (moving from one family to forming your own, separate family). Try to look at it that way.” – SpaceyAwesome

After receiving feedback, the OP shared a positive update.

“I realized that I was just wanting a special bonding moment with my daughter in this new chapter in her life. I just felt left out and I guess I didn’t realize it until now.”

“Thank you to those who understand where I was coming from and left patient comments and ways to help.”

“I have discussed this with my daughter and my wife as well and she’s more than happy to incorporate a father-daughter dance.”

“As a little dab of humor, I even have a son-in-law and father-in-law dance with her fiancé, and I even have the special honor of placing her veil.”

“Her brothers even have a role as being the ‘flower girls,’ and she even gave them creative freedom. So thank you guys again for your advice.”

The subReddit could get behind the OP being disappointed and recognizing that his feelings are valid, but they were more strict about how he should act on those feelings.

Fortunately, the OP chose to go with a calm, constructive conversation, which led not only to a meaningful conversation, but also to everyone being involved in a way that made them comfortable.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.