Monday, August 04, 2008

Wedding questions

No, not my (non-existent as yet) wedding, and not my friend's wedding that I posted about earlier. I am referring to weddings in general. There was a rather longish thread over on Phatmass about weddings: What kind of a gown is appropriate, and does the dad give the daughter away in Catholic weddings?

Most people seemed pretty positive that they liked the traditional white wedding gown, although many folks said that color shouldn't matter. I guess technically it doesn't - before Queen Victoria all kinds of colors were worn, even black - but there's something to be said for sticking with tradition. White is nice.

As far as fathers "giving their daughter away" after escorting her down the aisle, this is one innovation from the Protestant tradition that I am glad the Church has not incorporated. From the Catholic point of view, a girl is not her father's or her husband's property - she might be daddy's little girl but she's not his to give away! In fact if you ever go to a Catholic wedding you will hear reiterated that according to our theology, the husband and wife are supposed to give themselves to each other in the sacrament. You can read the awesome text of the wedding liturgy here.

Now in some Catholic weddings the priest does insert the "who gives this woman?" or "who presents this woman?" even though it is not actually a part of the liturgy. This is a bone thrown to standard American tradition, and it also has the added benefit of placating bridezillas who will go bananas if they don't get their "special moment with daddy." Excuse me, I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. No, I really don't mean to belittle anyone, I guess the "who gives this woman to be married?" "I do" exchange is meaningful for a lot of women, but it isn't for me. I guess I have a different relationship with my dad.


  1. If you "don't mean to demean anyone," why do you do it?

  2. When I say "I really don't mean to belittle anyone" I mean that by expressing my great dislike for the tradition I don't mean to mock brides for whom it is actually meaningful. I am expressing my opinion and not passing judgment and I hope people can tell the difference.

    Different strokes for different folks, but to me it is so insipid and precious. For similar reasons I will never do the Unity Candle, either. It's so... cute. I just don't do cute. In fact I am so allergic to cute that overexposure can lead to a medical emergency.

    Again I think it has to do with different relationships between fathers and daughters. I was not brought up to have a "daddy's little girl" relationship with my dad.

  3. i very much agree with this. when i was married, we began our ceremony in the back of the church at the baptismal font, with our parents, godparents, and wedding party, to renew our baptismal vows and receive blessings from our parents/godparents, we then walked down the isle--parents and godparents first, my husband and i next, and wedding party last. our parents stood at their pews to "give us away"...but not really. just to wish us well. it was beautiful. our parents were fully involved, it emphasized our baptismal call to vocation...which is marriage to one another, and also allowed us to present ourselves as giving ourselves to one another. while i understand the desire to adhere to tradition of our culture, and i am very close to my father, i just think that the church's approach is more in line with what marriage actually is, and signifies. i don't think that you are at all offensive, nor do i find those who wish to be "given away" offensive. i think that there is value to either way of approaching the marriage, both liturgically and culturally, dependent upon the individual.