Walk Down the Aisle | Can the Bride and Groom Walk Down the Aisle Together | Bride Walking Down Aisle Alone
Can the bride and groom walk down the aisle together? What about 2 grooms, or 2 women? It’s your wedding, and couples walking down the aisle in their own ways is 100% awesome
Photos by destination wedding photographer Kathryn Cooper Weddings
Walking Down the Aisle…Together?!
I’ll cut right to the chase, because people often ask if they can walk down the aisle together. Or
The answer: YES.
Yes, of course you can! And for so many reasons.
First, there are no rules when it comes to weddings and elopements. You can do whatever you want, when you want!
Second, it’s not 1950. You can walk in as equals, as more and more people are doing first looks prior to the ceremony these days. You can have different last names, the same last name, combined last names, made-up last names, etc. If you have kids, they can have the female’s last name, and a husband can take a wife’s last name. 2 grooms and 2 brides deal with this frequently, but what’s important here is that you can walk in as equals, heading to say your vows together.
Third, it’s really sweet to be holding the hand of the person you love and are about to make vows to.
I’m a non-traditional wedding photographer, and as 2023 continues, I’m seeing more and more couples walk down the aisle together.
Below is the history of a father walking the bride down the aisle, alternatives if walking with your father is not your cup of tea, and photos of couples who did things differently.
Choosing the Right LGBTQ+ Inclusive Language
At first glance, writing this article about brides and grooms walking down the aisle together would be a more fitting title. But in reality, people getting married these days are much more than brides and grooms.
- Around 10% of the married U.S. population is in an LGBT marriage
- Because a large number of my couples are LGBTQ+, it wouldn’t make sense to use outdated terminology such as “bride and groom” or “same-sex marriage”
- Not every bride wants to be called a bride, and not every man identifies as a groom. It’s important to use inclusive terms that fit each couple/throuple, and I try my best to do that
That said, LGBT weddings are fairly recent, with weddings still steeped in female-male ceremonies. So, in this article, I refer to many historical events using the traditional bride-groom analogy.
Historically, Why did Brides Walk Down the Aisle with Their Fathers, Anyway?
The history of a bride walking down the aisle with her father is a pretty oppressive one. There are several different variations you may hear, but it all comes down to this:
Historically, giving away the bride was more transactional that paternal. This tradition of giving the bride away may have come from the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, and the process would involve taking the right hand, placing it in the groom’s, and receiving a dowry for the bride.
Not a great feeling to be owned because you’re female, right?
While the tradition is steeped in male ownership, today’s brides often enjoy having a calming father figure to walk them down the aisle. Because let’s admit it: Mothers of the bride can often be more nervous and intense about the whole wedding process than even the bride, right?!
That said, many take a normal (some may call it feminist) approach and walk down the aisle alone. As a wedding photographer, I see this more and more frequently–at least several times a year.
Cultures and Wedding Starts
In almost every culture, the bride is the star of the day. But in some cultures, the groom gets the big entrance, even if the bride is second to go and gets more attention.
Take the baraat, the Indian wedding tradition where the groom (occasionally women have baraats, so I’ll showcase photos as soon as I get to photograph that!) celebrates with music, color, and dancing. I’ve seen cars, elephants, horses, camels, you name it. Below, some baraats I’ve photographed. In this case, the entrances are quite different, with the groom’s full of energy and the bride very somber.
2023 Wedding Trends when Walking Down the Aisle
If you’re getting married in 2023, chances are high that you’re incorporating at least one of these 2023 wedding trends.
One of them that my colleagues and I predicted at the beginning of the year was walking down the aisle together. I especially see a lot of LGBTQ wedding couples walk down at the same time, already holding hands. That said, many folks don’t want to walk down the aisle that way, or have not had a first look.
Not to worry: Here are ALL the alternatives whether you’re a bride, groom, male, female, partner, betrothed, or whatever you want your title to be.
- Walking down the aisle with your pet
- Having your mother or father walk you down the aisle
- Walking down the aisle with your brother or sister
- Linking one parent on each arm
- Sauntering down the aisle alone
- Dancing down the aisle with wedding guests
- Walking down the aisle with your grandma or grandpa
- Having your aunt, uncle, or cousin walk you down the aisle
- Parachuting down (hey, it’s been done)
- Walking from behind the ceremony so there’s no walk
- Driving up in a golf cart
- Walking down the aisle with your friend or chosen family
- Pulling up in a boat for your wedding
- Literally anything else, because it’s your wedding, and you truly can do whatever you like!
Though walking alone, with a brother, or with one or both parents are the most common, I’ve seen all of these examples carried out!
Be as Non-Traditional or Traditional as You Want
It’s your wedding, so you have the creative freedom to walk (or cartwheel) how you want, and with whom you want. Even if your cousin Robin doesn’t approve…well, it’s your day! Let this be the sign to have fun and start your wedding exactly how you picture it~
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