Wedding Etiquette out the door!?

dhlmmlAugust 6, 2007

Help! Am I so wrong? My wife and I have been married for 12 daughter is getting married for the third time in a big daughter wants me to give her away, but wants me to walk out after the ceremony with her future mother in law instead of with my wife, who would be walking out by herself! She calls it a blending of families! I made a simple request to walk out with my wife and she has blown it all out. She has failed to blend my 12-year new family into her own, at any part of the wedding. She says that I'm being very negative and disrespectful to her plans!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tell her....sorry but she's wrong....and already has 2 failed marrieges under her belt and perhaps she needs a little lesson from Dad on personal and family relationships.
Tell her the blending of the families is not up to you but to her and her future husband.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 12:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not sure on her 3rd try why she is having a BIG wedding. Hopefully she is not choosing the same type person as the 2 previous marriages and has learned from them.
I would not let your wife walk the aisle by herself. Not only is that poor etiquette, it is being very rude to your wife. Tell your daughter no you will not leave your wife by herself. If you choose to have both women on your arm as you leave I think that is fine. But You escort your wife and a male relative can escort her MIL.
If she wants a blending of the families have a rep from both sides light a unity candle or something similar. Stick to your guns. Your daughter is wrong. You are being considerate and doing it the correct way. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 7:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I vote for Dad walking out with his wife and the new MIL.

Given that the new MIL isn't walking out with groom's Dad, I'm guessing there are multiple divorces on all sides and she would otherwise be unescorted.

I agree that the bride is in the wrong, but Dad doesn't want the new MIL to hear that he was trying to snub her (not the case, but you know how these things go). Hopefully a compromise will smooth things over.

In theory, the poster will have ties to these people "til death do they part" - may want to make nice for now, particularly if there may be grandkids down the road.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 9:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wonder why a woman who has already been married twice would have her father give her away inthe first place. I don't like that custom anyway, but in this case it really seems silly.

I agree with the others that this is inconsiderate of the OP's wife as well as silly, and that the OP walking out with both women would make sense. But I would advise the OP differently: do whatever your daughter wants, and let it go. It isn't important.

The OP didn't say anything about his wife being upset. Maybe she is, but I can only hear his own feelings about his daughter disrespecting his marriage and himself: "I made a simple request to walk out with my wife" -- not, "my wife is so hurt" or something. He repeats "12 years" for reasons that aren't clear to me -- what difference would it make if it were 1 or 25? I mean, I don't think this is particularly respectful to the OP's wife -- but it really isn't the worst thing in the world. Walking back up the aisle alone isn't walking over hot coals; she'll survive, and it's no reflection on her. In my experience, people watch the processional attentively, but no one pays much attention to who walks with whom in the recessional anyway -- everyone is just focussed on leaving themselves! Certainly no one is going to read anything into it about anyone's relationship.

The whole thing -- big wedding for a third marriage, daddy giving away the third-time bride, the idea of a recessional "blending the families" somehow -- I don't know, circumstances make a big difference, and we don't know them, but to me all this sounds pretty juvenile on the bride's part. But not important. As someone else noted, this sounds like a very complicated family constellation; there are surely bigger issues than this. So even though I agree that the bride is making a mistake, it's her mistake -- just let her make it. I think it sounds like a big no-win situation to make a fight out of it. And I'll bet you a cookie that something bigger than this is going to come up; don't use up all the good will on such a minor thing.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 10:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have to agree with what gellchom said. Weddings are stressful and contentious events in and of themselves, so I would say that if you are trying to resolve what you perceive to be a 12-year rift between your wife and your daughter, your daughter's wedding is the very last place to do it. After 12 years, whatever your daughter feels toward your wife or current family is probably pretty deeply engrained. It probably should have been resolved before now but at this point, I'd wait till after the wedding to take any steps toward resolution if that's your intent.

In the meantime, it's your daughter's wedding day (3rd or not) and in my book, the bride & groom get to call the shots. Participants can suggest alternatives, but must back off when told no. At that point your choice is to go along with what she wants or not participate. And I'm sure you do want to participate in your daughter's wedding, so best to just grin & bear it.

Now, this all assumes your wife is ok with it, is she?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 4:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I couldn't disagree more with the posters who said to just go along with your daughter. Sorry, but she sounds like a girl who's used to demanding and getting her way. She is using her wedding as an excuse to snub your wife and I suspect that if you go along with her, your wife will be deeply hurt whether she admits it or not.

If your daughter is old enough to get married for the third time she's far old enough to accept and respect that your place is at your wife's side. If not getting her way spoils her "special day" that's a character flaw of hers and not your problem.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 8:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I completely agree with deb18.

OP, I can't get my mind around your daughter asking you to leave your wife in the pew and walk out with her new MIL at your side. WTF??? If she truly wanted to blend the families, she'd have you all walk out together. She clearly doesn't consider your wife part of the family and wants everyone to know it.

In my opinion, she's dissing you and your wife, and intentionally publicly. I wonder how the MIL-to-be feels? If I were she, I'd be mortified at the suggestion.

If your daughter is totally innocently asking you to do so, without the agenda that I mentioned, then she's just clueless. Again, IMHO.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 10:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Essentially, the OP has three choices here.

1. He goes along with what the daughter wants and keeps the peace at least for the wedding.

2. He fights for what he wants causing lots of additional stress and anger for ALL involved. He may get what he wants or he may not, but hard feelings are sure to follow no matter what - so it's lose-lose.

3. He bows out of any participation in the wedding.

Whatever problems this family is having will not be resoved during the planning of a wedding. After 12 years, if the daughter hasn't accepted the OP's wife, it's not going to happen now in the middle of a wedding. So if OP fights for this, it seems to me that instead of improving the relationship between the daughter and the wife, it's going to put further strain on it.

Anyone who's ever been involved in a big wedding knows that there are inevitable disagreements among those involved as to how things should go. In the end, it's best to keep in mind that the wedding itself lasts a few minutes or an hour or whatever, but hard feelings can last a lot longer.

deb18 said Sorry, but she sounds like a girl who's used to demanding and getting her way
Yeah, I agree! But the chances of changing this now are about a zillion to one! So it's either fight or bow out -- and neither of these solutions is going to help family dynamics!

The best outcome to this dilemma is to try to fix the relationship between the daughter and wife after the wedding is over because what happens during the wedding will fade into the past, but dealing with daughters, wives, etc. is an ongoing daily event.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 9:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Although I stand by my position that this is weird, and that OP should try for the compromise of escorting both ladies (not to the point of causing a major rift - this isn't worth it), but...

I disagree with the statement that his "place" is at his wife's side. The reality is that in many social settings that is exactly where he shouldn't be.

(When seated at a dinner party comes to mind, but that's another subject)

More related to the topic at hand, if I were to get married tomorrow, I would probably expect my father to escort my grandmother out (since my grandfather has passed away) rather than his wife/my mom. Or maybe my BIL. Either way, someone's wife would get ditched and Grandma would get an arm. So there are exceptions.

And since there are so many variations on what you can do properly, I doubt any of the other guests would notice a real or perceived snub towards OP's wife. (OP and his wife's feelings hsould be considered, but I wouldn't worry about the rest of the crowd)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 10:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Asking the husband to ditch his wife is extremely rude and uncalled for. Rudeness should never be acceptable in any form or social setting. The father should either walk both ladies out or some other male relative should escort the MIL. If there has been a rift between the bride and OP wife for some time then bride should not be allowed to continue it in public for all the world to see. She needs to put on her big girl panties and stop acting like a child. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 11:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

lowspark, I think there is another choice. How about Dad just simply states that he doesn't think leaving his wife to walk out alone is very considerate. He would be happy to escort both ladies, or if his daughter prefers, he will attend without participating in the ceremony. No fight, and now the ball's in her court. She can still have the last word on the plans.

I don't think anyone should be able to dictate to anyone else that they behave in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable or disrespectful. The OP clearly doesn't feel that her plan is considerate of his wife, so why should he be expected to compromise his sensibilities and help his daughter insult his wife?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the choice you stated is still my #2 and #3. I guess when I say "fight" what I mean is that once Dad says, I'd like to do it this way (meaning escort wife or escort MIL and wife) and Daughter says, No, he either accepts her no, pushes for his way, or bows out of participating.

So, yeah, he makes the suggestion, the ball's in her court. So if she says "my way is the only way" the ball's back in his court and he has to pick one of the three choices, Accept, Push back or Bow out.

I contend that pushing back will only create (more) hard feelings between Daughter and Dad&Wife. Bowing out is not the best answer either because it's his daughter! getting married and in a big wedding at that - how can he choose not to participate without it really being a bad deal? So.... only choice left, bite the bullet and go along with it.

Let me just say that I agree that what the daughter is asking is out of line. I've seen and heard of brides doing all kinds of crazy weird things at their weddings, things I've thought totally in appropriate or out of line. You chalk it up to bridal behavior and move on.

In any case, what Daughter is asking is not going to change, she's made that clear. Daughter's will is out of Dad's control. What is in Dad's control is how he handles it. As gellchom noted, no one pays much attention to who walks with whom in the recessional anyway -- everyone is just focussed on leaving themselves! . My point here is, this is not a battle I'd fight because if Dad does push back OR bow out, there will definitely be damage to the relationship.

Daughter is being the way she's being, saying she should put on her big girl panties and stop acting like a child sounds good but SHE'S not the one asking what to do - she's already decided what she wants. Now it's up to Dad&Wife to take the high road and give in a little bit to what is admittedly an unreasonable request but in the grand scheme of things, minor in comparison to the potential for conflict, anger, resentment, etc. if Dad decides to dig in his heels.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 1:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rereading your post, I think what you're suggesting is that Dad give daughter an ultimatum: Dad's way or he bows out, thus effectively leaving the choice to her. Sounds good in theory and you can figure it such that if Daughter says Bow out, then it's her decision.

But I still think that even IF the daughter chooses "bow out" it's still the dad's decision to do that because he presented it to the daughter as an ultimatum.

I know what it is like to be the bride at a big wedding. You have your own ideas of how you want things. Some of those ideas may not be so wonderful but as bride, you may not see them the way others do. I had all kinds of arguments from my in-laws about minute details of my wedding. As far as I can tell, all those arguments did was cause us to have lower opinions of each other. I still ended up doing the wedding pretty much the way I wanted it and they had no choice but to go along with it. I think it was that experience (which was over 25 yrs ago) that made up my mind for me that it's the bride & groom's day, and although the family may not agree with what they want (does it every happen that EVERYONE is in agreement about a wedding?) it's sort of their job just to go along with it.

Once the wedding is over, no one except Dad & Wife will even remember that he didn't escort her down the aisle. Is that REALLY worth not participating in Daughter's wedding? IMHO, the answer to that is no.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 1:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

lowspark, looks like we'll have to agree to disagree. I think brides should certainly make most of the decisions for how things will be done, within the constrainsts of the budget, of course. However, I think in this case the daughter is attempting to send a very public message to Dad's wife. This is not a minute detail of what song will be played when or flower colors. It's demanding that a person do something that makes him feel uncomfortable and rude. I don't feel anyone has a right to ask that of another under any circumstances.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 2:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok, truce. I guess in the end it's really up to the OP anyway as to how important this is to him and how uncomfortable it would make him. Dealing with family and weddings is no easy task. I do hope he will post again and let us know what he decides, just for the sake of curiosity.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 3:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Actually, I think deb and lowspark are really saying the same thing: that the daughter is wrong to demand this, and it's not like the color of flowers or something, but if she's dug her heels in about it, dad can't refuse her without creating a problem that may not be worth it.

And that is the decision he is going to have to make: there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer (as usual). Only he is in a position to know how much this means to his wife, what the fallout from refusing will be, etc. Some families are drama-avoiders; some are drama-enhancers. We can all say what would make the most sense in our families, or how something would look to us as guests, but we can't really say what is best for his family. I think most of the comments have been very wise; I hope the OP read them.

I, too, would like to know what he decides.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 11:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm wee bit confused.

I'm going to forget this DD's third marriage although it does say something.

In my experience the father of the bride always escorts the mother of the groom out of the church and the mother of the bride is escorted out by the father of the groom. It is a custom that shows the melding of the families. They meet in the aisle as the wedding party exits. Each coming together from their "side" of the church.

If there is a "missing" parent then the three other parents will walk out together.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 2:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In the US in a traditional wedding the parents of the groom are seated...the mother on the arm of an usher sometimes her son and her husband follows.
The bride's mother is escorted to her seat while her husband, presumably the father of the bride waits to escort the bride.
At the end of the ceremony both couples leave with their spouses. If there is a parent without a spouse then another relative escorts her out.
Will there be a recieving line and who will be standing there?
It's all about tradition....and that's primarily what weddings are for...tradition, to do what has been done by so many couples invite witnesses and to throw a party in the very traditional formal, long dress and tux way....and if not for tradition, why just why not throw a party and the couple get up and say...Hey guys...we're married! Which is done too!!
If you are having a traditional walk down the aisle, dad giving you away ( for the 3rd time! Yikes!) then do it traditionally and don't make it up as you go along.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 4:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

IU love Linda and she is always right on most things...but not this time.

It is tradition and custom to have the father of the bride escort out the mother of the groom...having both meet in the aisle, each coming from there "side" of the church/venue and following the wedding party. This is true in the US as well as else do we have to do that, no.....we can do as we wish.

Most of our customs have given way to preference.In this case I don't think it's a matter of custom it's a matter of

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 5:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I found many sites with this same blurb.....but again I say , these days everything is flexible.

"The order of service

"Your ushers will be responsible for seating your guests when they arrive, but will need to know that in Christian weddings the bride's family and friends sit on the left-hand-side of the church and the groom's family and friends sit on the right. At the end of the ceremony, there is a traditional order for the wedding party to leave the church, which is the bride and groom followed by the chief bridesmaid and best man, then the mother of the bride with the groom's father followed by the father of the bride with the groom's mother. "

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 6:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Far be it from me to get between chase and lindac (both of whom are always right, in my opinion -- ), but I got a chuckle out of the dispute over what is "the" tradition in the US. There are many, many traditions, all valid, in the US.

As the blurb chase found specifies, this sort of thing is only an issue in Christian weddings anyway. The OP didn't say if this is a Christian wedding.

In a traditional Jewish wedding, for example, the groom's parents escort him down, and the bride's parents escort her. All the parents stand at the couple's sides during the ceremony. The bride stands to the groom's right, not his left. And so forth ...

Anyway, even if there were one "rule" for all American weddings, I don't think that would help the OP. His daughter, who is having a big wedding for her third marriage, is clearly not a stickler for tradition, so I doubt she would be impressed. Besides, we all know how pointing to a rule never makes a difference to someone who is upset by a decision.

I still think she is wrong, but unless his wife is terribly upset, he ought to just go along with it. I don't agree that that would constitute "ditching" his wife, or that "his place" is at her side every second of every circumstance. This family is going to have enough to deal with -- I'd classify this as "small stuff" and not sweat it.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 7:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes what I am referencing is a typical Christian or non denominational wedding. I have been honoured with invitations to two Jewish weddings and one Hindu. Totally different customs and certainly none that I am qualified to comment on.

As I said in both my posts.....this situation ain't about custom.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 1:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And you know what else it isn't about? The OP's relationship with his wife.

Reading Chase's post about there being a tradition of the groom's mother and bride's father walking out together made me see this differently, even though I agree that no rule in the world is going to make a difference in this situation, and even though I still would give the OP the same advice.

What made me think about this is the brief detour into discussing Jewish weddings, where all the parents escort and stand with the couple. Obviously, where there are remarriages and stepparents, this could get complicated. But people manage just fine, and the reason, I realized, is that they are participating as their children's parents, not as their current spouses' escorts. If both parents are alive, they participate as usual; if one is dead, the surviving parent does, sometimes with a stepparent, especially if that stepparent helped raise the child. Most people handle it graciously even where there are hard feelings between ex-spouses, because they both still are parents to their child, and new spouses understand that this isn't about them, it's about the parent-child relationship.

It's the same thing here: the OP will be participating in the wedding as the bride's father, not as his wife's husband. We have no way of knowing if the bride would not have asked for exactly the same thing were the OP still happily married to her mom, whom she adored (and maybe she does indeed love her stepmother). Especially now that I know that in some weddings, this is even seen as traditional, I would not take it as symbolic of anything about the OP's marriage, much less a slap to anyone. After all, he is planning on walking down the aisle with his daughter, not his wife, for the processional -- and that doesn't seem to bother anyone (except maybe me, but that's a whole different story!) -- I mean, no one sees that as "ditching" his wife. His walking out with the groom's mother wouldn't be, either.

I still think that this bride is kind of juvenile in her choices. But as I suggested earlier, the OP is being pretty self-centered himself if he thinks anyone is going to be focusing on him or his marriage. It's just not about him.

If there really is a problem in this family about the OP's remarriage, the daughter's wedding is not the time, after 12 years, to be working it out.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 3:18PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Centerpiece advice - White hybrid LA lilies
reposted in the Home Decorating Forum Here is a link...
Tipping a Personal Chef
I've been given a gift of having a personal chef come...
Planning ahead: graduation
My oldest is graduating college in May (yeah!). His...
Awkward Baby Shower - Did I Handle It Correctly?
We've all experienced strange party situations, but...
High School Graduation Party
We are planning my DD's HS graduation party and I was...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™