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What to Do When the Father of the Bride Isn’t in the Picture

Planning a wedding can be extremely difficult for brides when the Father of the Bride isn’t in the picture. This could be¬†because they don’t have a good relationship, a death or other circumstances. Whatever the reason, many traditions can be hard or stressful to navigate for brides. Here are our favorite ways to skirt around moments of the wedding that are the traditional father of the bride roles, like who walks you down the aisle, father of the bride speech, and father-daughter dances.

Walking Down the Aisle When the Father of the Bride Isn’t in the Picture

This can be a particularly tough one for many brides. However, it’s a great opportunity to honor someone else in your life who has played a key role in raising you. It is not uncommon for mothers of the bride to proudly walk their daughters down the aisle and give them away to their future husbands. Trusted uncles, brothers or even old family friends can play this role, too! The person you choose to give you away does not have to be male. Rather, this tradition is about the transition from a brides childhood or family home to the one she’ll make with her spouse. Therefore, whoever had a hand in raising you to be the woman you are today should get the honors.

If you’re uncomfortable with anyone but your father walking you down the aisle, it’s also perfectly okay to walk alone. If you’d like to take the moment in remembrance, consider carrying a picture of your late father or pinning a locket with his picture on the bouquet.

Replacing the Father-Daughter Dance

There are a few ways to go about the father-daughter dance if the father of the bride isn’t in the picture. We can speak from personal experience in telling you that there is often not a dry eye in the room when a bride turns this tradition into a mother-daughter dance. Especially when this special honor is a surprise for your mom. However, make sure she’s not shy about lots of eyes on her or you’d be better off prepping her beforehand!

If you’d prefer to dance with a brother, an uncle or a family friend, that’s perfect as well. If you’d like to commemorate your father during this moment, ask all the father-daughter couples to come to the dance floor while you play a song your father loved, or even play a slideshow with pictures or video.

You also have the option to skip this entirely. Tactfully removing the father-daughter dance from the program is perfectly acceptable, and can be replaced with a speech, game or other activity.

Father of the Bride Speech

In many reception programs, the father of the bride says a few words. However, for the father of the bride that isn’t in the picture, this tradition will have to be scrapped. You can also hand off the traditions to someone else. Traditionally the father of the bride will thank guests for coming and say a few words about the bride and the man she chose. Someone who has been around for your courtship is a great candidate to speak instead. Mom, a relative or even a friend can happily take the honor.