Carolyn’s dad was a great guy in a lot of ways, and extended himself to Tom in a way that made him feel included in the family. But Carolyn was his only daughter. He wanted to walk her down the aisle and “give her away” in the traditional way at the wedding, which is when tensions surfaced.
In college, Carolyn’s consciousness was unalterably raised by feminist teachers. She loved her father. But she saw the traditional beginning to a wedding as tied to a time when women were property to be transferred. She knew her father didn’t see her as property, but she thought the ritual was archaic. In consultation with Tom and the wedding coach, the decision was made to walk the processional together as a couple, with the wedding party preceding them – mirroring the recessional. It was different, and they liked the difference it made, and the independence it implied.
When Carolyn’s dad balked, they talked to the wedding coach. He suggested a new custom, now seen in many contemporary ceremonies, to be intentionally inclusive of all the parents. After the declaration of intent and before the vows would come “Pledges of Support.” In this moment, the officiant asks a question.
“Will the parents of the bride and groom please stand… Will you give your love, support, encouragement, and blessing to them as they are married today? If so, please say “we will.” “We will!”
Tom was especially interested in this variation because it meant his parents could participate as well in such an affirmation. It also meant, since his parents were both divorced and remarried, that his step-parents could be included as well.