It is almost certain that everyone would be familiar with this wedding tradition. Even though it has become commonplace at most wedding ceremonies, many would be surprised by the extent of the numerous variations to this theme.
The Giving Away of the bride has a long history. In Roman times, it was the custom for a young woman to be under the authority and protection of the head of her household; this would usually have been her father or elder brother. When she married, that responsibility was then passed to her husband. This was the origin of the ‘Giving away’ ceremony.
Times certainly have changed, but we retain this ancient custom with a somewhat new cultural meaning. Nowadays it is considered as the perfect occasion when the father- daughter relationship is acknowledged. It also allows the families and friends of the Bride and Groom to show their approval and support for the union.
Below are 2 examples of common wording, and in a later post we'll share with you a more modern version for those that don't like the wording/concept of 'giving away'.
1. Celebrant addresses person giving bride away:
‘Who brings this woman to be married to this man?’
Person replies: ‘I do’ (Then steps forward and joins the other guests.)
2. If both the Bride’s and Groom’s parents are involved, the celebrant will ask them to stand, and addresses the guests as follows:
‘Who brings this man to stand beside this woman?’
Groom’s Parents ‘We do’
‘And who brings this woman to stand beside this man?’
Bride’s Parents ‘We do’
‘Are you willing now and always to support and strengthen this marriage by upholding both Lindsay and Lisa with your love and support?’
All parents: ‘We are’
3. When the father is the giving the bride away, the celebrant may say:
‘When thinking about this moment people will often ponder on what are the real values in life, and come to decide what it is that really matters — it is human relationships. One of the deepest, yet understated relationships in life is that between the caring father and his loving daughter, and one of the rare occasions that this relationship has the opportunity to be openly acknowledged is at a wedding ceremony.
(Insert Father’s name) represents his family and all of us here today, but in a special gesture on this important occasion he symbolises his own personal love for his daughter and their journey together to this point.
So mindful of these values and of that love I now ask him, who brings this woman to be married to this man?’
Father: ‘I do’
He then joins the other guests
The Wedding Gurus xx
Look out for future posts and modern versions of this topic.