I am a follower of your articles because I think that you give honest answers to the questions given to you.
My daughter, who is 30, is to be married next year. She is living in New Zealand, our homeland. I am her dad and have lived in Perth, Australia for eight years. Her mum lives in Canada. We were married for 17 years and have been divorced for a long time.
Recently my ex-wife was with my daughter organising the wedding in New Zealand. Then I received an email from my daughter saying that she wanted her mum to walk her up the aisle at her wedding.
I sent her an email telling her how I felt—hurt and not respected. I explained how I had supported her through her upbringing as did her mother. Her mum is a very good mother. I suggested that her mum and I both walk her up the aisle but I have had no reply from my daughter since then.
In the future, I will decide if I go and be one of the crowd or stand my ground, only willing to attend if I am part of the wedding party.
What are your thoughts on this matter?
Grant, in general the wedding day belongs to the bride, and to a lesser extent, the groom.
Your daughter is making a public declaration and display that she is picking her mother over you. You don’t need to participate in that. You don’t need to be a party in that. You don’t need to be the doormat in that.
The best way to handle it is this: tell your daughter the choice is hers, but “with your mum walking you down the aisle, my presence at the wedding will be awkward, so I won’t be attending. There will be too many questions in the guests’ minds over why I am there but not walking you down the aisle.”
Instead of the day belonging to the bride and groom, now the wedding will be about why her dad didn’t walk her down the aisle.
This situation is rife with even more problems. Are you in the wedding photos or not in the photos? Do you sit at the family table or not at the family table? Do you give a toast or not give a toast? Will her first dance be with her mum?
There won’t be one awkward moment, there will be a series of awkward moments.
Just as your daughter gets to make this decision, so you get to make a decision that you won’t be the focal point of an awkward situation of your daughter’s devising. All the decisions we make have consequences. That is her consequence. You decide not to attend the wedding and not to be the subject of speculation or ridicule.
Your daughter is calling everything about your presence into question. The wedding day is not a day for paybacks. If you did something heinously awful, you shouldn’t be in the wedding party, but if that were the case, then you shouldn’t be invited at all. (Nothing in your letter suggests that is the case.)
It’s your daughter’s right to have her mum walk her down the aisle. It is not her right to decide on your reaction to it or to make you a party to it.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of May 18, 2015
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