A lovely Swedish couple had been refused at their planned wedding location due to a mistake with some paperwork. As they had made all the other arrangements, not to mention a load of friends and family travelling from afar, they contacted me in desperation just a few days before their planned wedding day. I love a challenge and a bit of drama so of course, I said yes.
An important element in the wedding ceremony for the bride was her father walking her down the aisle and ‘giving her away’. This is a tradition in the vehemently feminist society of Sweden which is no longer adhered to, but something which the bride absolutely wanted. I could really relate to this. At my own wedding as an English woman marrying in the greek orthodox church I was happy to embrace all of the traditions involved, but whatever else, I insisted that my father walk me to the steps of the church and shake my husband to be’s hand before letting go of my own. Of course, the bride didn’t want to be perceived as her father’s property but wanted the symbolism of her parent’s blessing.
“One of the most understated, but deepest relationships in human life is between a father and a daughter. One of the rare occasions, when this relationship is publicly acknowledged, is at a wedding ceremony. *Sven represents all of his family today, but in this special gesture, he symbolizes his own personal love for his daughter. I know no father who willingly gives his daughter away, so instead, I ask you, do you give this union your blessing?”
Having lost my own Dad less than a year before, I must confess to struggling with emotions and barely getting my words out here. The love and affection between this bride and her Dad were palpable. It was a truly beautiful moment and we tweaked the wording so that it wasn’t about ownership. And besides, isn’t feminism and equality about having the choice? This also highlights the beauty of a using a Celebrant at your wedding – there are no restrictions on traditions, wording or format.
It’s your ceremony, your way, whichever way.
*Not his real name and I apologise to all the people of Sweden for not coming up with a more original Swedish name…