Tips for Giving Away the Bride in a Christian Wedding Ceremony

Giving Away the Bride
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The giving away of the bride is a significant way to involve the parents of the bride and groom in your Christian wedding ceremonies. Below are several sample scripts for a traditional giving away of the bride. Also, explore the origins of the tradition and consider a modern-day alternative.

Traditional Giving Away the Bride

When the father or parents of the bride and groom are not present, other possibilities for incorporating this element into your wedding ceremony can be explored. Some couples ask a godparent, a brother, or a godly mentor to give away the bride.

Here are some of the most common sample scripts for giving away the bride in a Christian wedding ceremony. You may use them just as they are, or you may wish to modify them and create your own script together with the minister performing your ceremony.

Sample Script #1
"Who gives this woman to be married to this man?"

Choose one of these replies:

  • "I do"
  • "Her mother and I do"
  • Or, in unison, "We do"

Sample Script #2
"Who presents this woman and this man to be married to each other?"

Both sets of parents answer in unison:

  • "I do" or "We do."

Sample Script #3
"Doubly blessed is the couple which comes to the marriage altar with the approval and blessings of their families and friends. Who has the honor of presenting this woman to be married to this man?"

Choose the appropriate reply of your preference:

  • "I do"
  • "Her mother and I do"
  • Or, in unison, "We do"

Origins of Giving Away the Bride

Many of the customs found in today's Christian wedding ceremonies trace back to Jewish wedding traditions and are symbols of the covenant God made with Abraham. A father escorting and giving away his daughter is one such custom.

This part of the ceremony seems to suggest a transfer of property from the bride’s parents to the groom. Many couples today feel the suggestion is demeaning and outdated and choose not to include the custom in their wedding service. However, understanding the tradition in light of its historical origin places the giving away of the bride in a different light.

In Jewish tradition, it was the father's duty to present his daughter in marriage as a pure virgin bride. Also, as parents, the father and mother of the bride took responsibility for endorsing their daughter's choice in a husband.

By escorting his daughter down the aisle, a father says, "I have done my very best to present you, my daughter, as a pure bride. I approve of this man as your choice for a husband, and now I bring you to him."

When the minister asks, "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?," the father responds, "Her mother and I do." These words demonstrate the parents' blessing on the union and the transfer of their care and responsibility to the husband to be.

A Modern-Day Alternative: Reaffirming Family Ties

While many couples think the traditional act is archaic and meaningless, they still appreciate the emotional significance and the acknowledgment of family ties. Thus, some Christian ministers today suggest including a time of 'reaffirming family ties' as a more meaningful and relevant alternative to the traditional giving away of the bride.

Here's how it works:

The groom’s parents and the bride’s mother are seated in the traditional manner. The father escorts the bride down the aisle as usual but then sits with his wife.

When the ceremony reaches the point where the bride is customarily given away in marriage, the minister asks both sets of parents to come forward and stand with their daughter and son.

Minister:

“Mr. and Mrs. _____ and Mr. and Mrs. _____; I have asked you to come forward now because your presence at this time is a vibrant testimony of the importance of family ties. You have encouraged _____ and _____ to come to this moment of creating a new family union. You are giving your children to a new life together with God, and not merely giving them away.

“As parents, we raise our children to let them go. And in their going, they come back again and again to share their discoveries and their joys. _____ and _____ affirm that you as parents have fulfilled your task. Now, your new role is to support and encourage your son and daughter in theirs.

“It seems right, then, to ask you all, mothers and fathers, to make a vow, just as _____ and _____ will make theirs to each other in a moment.

“Do you support _____ and _____ in their choice of each other, and will you encourage them to build a home marked by openness, understanding, and mutual sharing?”

The parents respond: “We do.”

Minister:

“Mr. and Mrs. _____ and Mr. and Mrs. _____; thank you for your nurturing influence that brings _____ and _____ to this day.”

At this point, the parents may either be seated or embrace their children and then be seated.

The above script may be used as it is or modified to create your own unique text with the minister performing your ceremony.

As another affirmation of family ties, some couples also choose to have the parents leave with the wedding party at the close of the ceremony. This act expresses the parents’ involvement in their children’s lives and demonstrates their blessing and support of the union.

Source

  • “Minister’s Workshop: Reaffirm Your Family Ties.” Christianity Today, 23(8), 32–33.