Next month the Crown Princess of Sweden is going to be married amidst some controversy. She is marrying a commoner (what a bizarre word) Daniel Westling, but that’s not the controversial part. The controversial part is that she will walk down the aisle on the arm of King Carl XVI Gustaf, her father. He is giving her away.
To us that may seem normal, but in Sweden it’s not. It is customary in Sweden for a couple to enter the church together and walk down the aisle holding hands, to signify them entering the marriage as equals. Only one in ten Swedish brides are “given away” by their fathers, and Swedish officals are concerned that such a high profile wedding including that aspect of the ceremony might encourage an increase in the practice, which is not seen as a good thing.
I have to say, I hadn’t ever really given this a massive amount of thought. It had definitely occurred to me that it seemed a little antiquated. I mean, no longer do we go directly from the cozy bosom of our parents to that of our husband. We are women, with our own lives and means long before we marry in most cases so if anyone is “giving” us…well, it’s us! I jotted it down to tradition though, and the idea of a tender moment with just me and my dad appeals to me so I let it go. Now though, I’m wondering how much longer the tradition will remain alive and how many more generations will take that journey down the aisle with their fathers. Your thoughts?
I never thought about it to be honest. I knew from spending time in Sweden that they did it differently, and to be honest I think their way makes more sense.
Like you said, it’s not like we’re living with our parents until we marry, and I don’t think the giving away is the last contact most brides have with their fathers.