Week 4 – The Giving of the Bride

Welcome to ritual number 4 in our ‘52 Rituals/Traditions in 52 weeks’
We’re pretty sure that all of you would be familiar with this one, but even though you’ve probably seen it done at most wedding ceremonies you have attended, you might be surprised by how many variations there can be to this common tradition.
The Giving Away of the bride has a long history. Nowadays we often like to make it the perfect occasion when the father- daughter relationship is acknowledged. It also allows the families and friends of the bride and groom show their approval of the marriage. In Roman times though, it was the custom for a young woman to be under the authority and protection of the man who was the head of her household — this would usually have been her father or elder brother.
When she married, the responsibility that was theirs, then passed to her husband. This was the origin of the “Giving away” ceremony. Clearly times certainly have changed but we retain this ancient custom with a somewhat new cultural meaning and that is to honour the role of the father and allow the family and friends to clearly show their support.
Some examples of possible wording for the Giving of the Bride:
1. Celebrant/Priest addresses person giving bride away: Who brings this woman to be married to this man?
Person replies: I do (He then steps forward and joins the other guests.)

            2. If both parents are involved, the Celebrant/Priest addresses the guests as follows: Who brings this man to stand beside this woman?
Groom’s Parents We do
The question is repeated for the bride’s parents: 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/Priest says: When thinking people conclude what are the real values in life, and come to decide what really matters — it is human relationships.
One of the most understated but deepest relationships in human life is that between the caring father and the loving daughter. One of the rare occasions this relationship is acknowledged is at a wedding ceremony. (Insert Father’s name) represents all of us, he particularly represents his family, but today in a special gesture he symbolises his own personal love for is daughter. So mindful of these values I now ask him,
— who brings this woman to be married to this man?
I do