Ask The Celebration Advisor: My daughter is getting married.. her father is deceased, adopted father is not coming to the wedding, I am married now, my new husband and I are the one's paying for the wedding.. there is an issue with who is walking my daughter down the isle or giving her away.. on her biological's dads side of the family his oldest brother was to give her away and backed out at the last minute.. I have two son's one of which is a US Marine and is being deployed the youngest son my daughter has issues with because she doesn't like his girlfriend…My daughter announced to me that she is going to have her soon to be brother in law (grooms brother) give her away of course this is not setting too well with me… what advice would you give on this??? ~ Rosemarie
The Celebration Advisor: Rosemarie, great question! Modern weddings are seeing a lot of similar occurences so wedding etiquette has adjusted to fit the changing family. In the situation you are discussing, it is perfectly acceptable to find alternate options for who will give the bride away. If you are unhappy with your daughter's choice, perhaps you could discuss options like these with her:
An important female figure in her life — More and more we are seeing mothers, grandmothers and important female figures give the bride away. This is especially common when issues with the fathers arise. Regardless of the issue with the father, it is entirely acceptable according to modern wedding etiquette for the mother or important woman to give the bride away.
An important male figure in her life — He doesn't have to be a father but he can be a father figure. The mother's brother, a brother, the father's brother (if the mother has none and the father is deceased), a very close employer, a best friend and other men are fine. Though her brother-in-law could fit into this category, it is still possible to address other options with your daughter.
Give herself away (walk alone) — You've seen it in movies. It may not be ideal but having your daughter walk alone is also an acceptable solution. She may not have someone to lean on but she gets to be the complete center of attention. This is usually reserved for when no better option is available like the ones above or if both parents are deceased. In special circumstances such as yours, having the bride give herself away is not a bad option.
There is one thing that wedding etiquette makes no exceptions for when it comes to giving the bride away. The person who gives the bride away should not be a groomsman or usher. They should fill no other role in the wedding party. It is not proper etiquette (or very fair) to ask this person to do "double duty" during the wedding. Even if they would agree, it's a definite Don't.
I hope you and your daughter find an acceptable solution and are able to enjoy the wedding. What a wonderful time in her life! Best of luck and congratulations to you both.