This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Australian Wedding Ceremonies
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Who brings this woman to marry this man?

By Published On: April 1, 2022Categories: All About Weddings
This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Australian Wedding Ceremonies

Celebrant: “Who brings this woman to marry this man?”
Father of the bride: “I do.”

Many traditional weddings feature this phrase, often called “giving away the bride”. This is a centuries-old, antiquated tradition where the bride was considered her father’s property until she was married. At that time she became her husband’s property (and problem, some might say!). In the 21st century, hopefully most Australian brides are not considered the property of anyone, least of all the men in their lives.

Some couples still choose to include this traditional statement, and that’s okay. My job is to facilitate whatever you want for your marriage ceremony. But I encourage you to think differently. Here are some other options.

Parent/family blessing

While I don’t love a traditional giving away, parents still like to feel important and included. So I encourage you to consider wording that includes BOTH sets of parents or families giving their blessing to the relationship. It’s a lovely way of acknowledging the support and love from both sides of the relationship rather than just from the bride’s side.

I usually ask the parents or families of the couple to stand and then say something along the following lines:

Celebrant: Parents (or families) are very special to a marrying couple. They have helped shape your lives to this point. You will need their continued love and support. We want to give the parents (or families) of both Partner 1 and Partner 2 the opportunity to publicly affirm your relationship. Parents/Families, do you affirm this relationship and welcome Partner 1 and Partner 2 into your families?

Parents/Families: We do.

Parent/family acknowledgement

Sometimes I have couples who don’t want their parents/families to actually speak, and that’s also fine. I have wording that goes something like this:

Celebrant: There were people that loved Partner 1 and Partner 2 long before they met each other. These people cared for them as children and taught them what love is all about. Of course I’m talking about their parents. Partner 1 and Partner 2 are so pleased you are all here today to share this celebration. On behalf of Partner 1 and Partner 2, it is my honour to congratulate you all on the job you have done in raising them. They thank you for the endless support that you have given them over the years… and they also want to let you know that they may well be getting married to each other, but they will definitely continue to need that support from you. Please give Partner 1 and Partner 2’s parents a round of applause!

Of course we can customise these words to suit your circumstances!

Leave it out altogether

You don’t need to participate in this giving away tradition at all if it’s not meaningful to you. Some people:

  • don’t have a great relationship with their parents/families
  • will not have any parents/families present at the ceremony
  • don’t feel the need to give any acknowledgement to their parents/families.

All of those (and any others you can think of) are absolutely valid reasons for just leaving this out completely. There are plenty of other options for walking the aisle (or not) and the wording can simply be skipped. It’s important that every part of your wedding ceremony is meaningful to you.

More information

Click here for an outline of a traditional Australian wedding ceremony.

Click on this link to find all the posts in my series about Australian wedding ceremonies.

Click on this link to find all the posts in my series about marriage legalities.

If you’re a celebrant wanting help with marriage legalities or ceremony creation and performance, come and join us at the Celebrant Institute!

***Originally posted 20/02/2015, updated 01/04/2022***

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funeral-celebrantWhat does a funeral celebrant do?
awesome wedding readingsWhy Marriage wedding reading
Series Navigation<< Introduction to the wedding ceremonyWords about love and marriage in the ceremony >>