Q: Our daughter is to be married in a few months, her stepfather, my husband, has been most of her support, college expenses, car, vacations, etc. She does have contact with her father who maintains a cordial relationship, does not encourage a father-daughter relationship but is available if she makes the first move. Would it be appropriate for both of them to give her away? If not, what role could my husband, the stepfather, play in the wedding?
A: It is appropriate for your husband to escort your daughter, since he has served as her father, it sounds, through most of her life. It is good that your daughter has a cordial relationship with her father, but under the circumstances, he could be a reader at the wedding rather than her escort. Although this sounds backward, it is not incorrect. If your sense, and hers, is that her father should escort her, then the reverse could be true for your husband. In any event, you and your husband sit in the first row or pew, and your daughter’s father sits three or so rows back. There is no expectation that you all would sit together, either at the ceremony or the reception, nor that you would appear in pictures together. What is important is that your husband is comfortable with whatever decision you make, since he, from what you write, has done everything in his power to care for your daughter.
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