There are no set rules on who has the honor of escorting a bride down the aisle. Traditionally the father walks the bride down the aisle, but with modern non-traditional families this is not always an option.
Here are some ideas for non-traditional family situations.
Deceased Father or Absentee Father
You can walk down the aisle by yourself. Or you can ask your mother, stepfather, brother or a close relative/friend to escort you.
Whoever escorts you down the aisle will sit in the front pew after the precession. When the clergymember asks, "Who gives this woman in marriage?", your escort may respond. Even if your mother did not walk you down the aisle; she may still respond "I Do" from her place in the first pew.
You can ask a favorite aunt or grandmother to take your mother's place during the wedding. She should sit in the front pew with your father. It is even acceptable to have her join your father in escorting you down the aisle.
Divorced Parents - Mother Remarried
This can cause a sticky situation. Every family dynamic is different so there is no single solution. Here are some general guidelines you may want to consider.
Close to your natural father - If he has been a part of your life you may want to take the traditional route and have him walk you down the aisle.
There is no need to cut your stepfather out of your wedding - He can do a special reading during the ceremony, or dance the first dance with you.
Father and Stepfather on friendly terms - If you are torn between your father and stepfather you may ask them both to escort you (one on each arm). When the clergymember asks, "Who supports this woman in marriage", they both respond "We do".
Another idea is to have your stepfather walk you half way down the aisle and sit in the front pew as you take your father's arm to the altar.
Be sure to speak to your father and stepfather privately to make sure they are okay with your plans. If one or both father's seem kind of apprehensive with your plans, do not push the issue.
Absentee Father vs. Stepfather If your natural father has been distant and your stepfather has been there to support you, ask your stepfather to escort you down the aisle. The father who has supported you the most throughout your lifetime deserves the honor of escorting you.
Your natural dad may try to guilt you into choosing him but do not give in. He let you down many times before and probably will again. On the other hand, consider your stepfather's feelings. He helped raise you and loved you and would feel betrayed if you chose your absentee father over him. So be sure to choose wisely.
If you are very fond of both of your fathers and cannot decide who to choose; ask neither. Walk down the aisle by yourself or have your groom escort you.