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Give Away the Bride

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She's your problem now.

Dick: [explaining Earth weddings] The ceremony begins with the bride being given away.
Sally: Excuse me? Given away? Like an object? As in, "free girl with every large fries"?
Tommy: Hey, there are free girls? Can I go?
Harry: Fries? Can I go?

In Western weddings, the bride's father traditionally walks her down the aisle to the altar where the vows are exchanged, a holdover from the days of Arranged Marriage where he would formally offer her to the groom. Nowadays, it's a show of endearment towards the most important man in her life before the groom came into the picture, and Daddy is "giving away" his little girl. If her father is dead, unavailable, or didn't fill that role in her life, then she might have her mother, brother, uncle, close friend, or mentor figure stand in his place. If the bride is older, her adult son could also fill this role.

Because this is a ubiquitous part of Western weddings, only list examples where something notable happens between the bride and her father before or during the walk, or if someone other than her father does the honor, or even examples where the groom is given away!


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  • When Donna Troy gets married, she has her closest friend Dick Grayson walk her down the aisle, as she doesn't have a father.
  • Fantastic Four: When Reed and Sue Richards got married, her brother Johnny walked her down the aisle, since their parents are dead. This happens in The Movie as well, following a truly touching moment between the siblings.
  • One Garfield comic features Jon surprised (and angry) to see a mouse wedding occurring in his living room, but he officially draws the line when he sees that Garfield is the one giving away the bride.
  • In Superman: The Wedding Album, this is one of a number of traditions Lois has a problem with, and her insistence that no-one is "giving" her to anyone is one of a number of reasons Sam Lane nearly doesn't attend. She and Clark walk down the aisle together.

  • Since most of her father figures and male friends are either in prison or dead, Alfred proudly escorts Selina down the aisle at the end of Batman: Melody for a Mockingbird.
  • In the Dragon Age: Inquisition AU Beyond Heroes: Of Sunshine and Red Lyrium, there's a wedding late in the story at which there is some contention over who will give away the bride. It doesn't get explicitly resolved, either - though to be fair, everyone present has just received a major shock. That's because the characters who are arguing over who gets the job are the bride's brothers, who have just come Back from the Dead.
  • Subverted in the Contractually Obligated Chaos series, when BJ and Lydia are tying the knot on the grounds of their new home. Her father, Charles, decides it's in everyone's best interest if he doesn't give the bride away, because he has to keep an eye on his wife Delia to make sure she doesn't sneak away and redecorate the newlyweds' house while they're distracted.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Empath's Wedding", Empath's half-brother Brainy plays the role of giving away Smurfette as the bride.
    • Brainy also played this role in Smurfette's mock wedding to Hefty in "Hefty, The Luckiest Smurf", while Willpower (formerly known as Weakling from "A Little Smurf Confidence") played it in the alternate timeline version.
    • In the Framing Device of "A Wedding To Remember", since Empath himself plays the minister, Empath's friend Duncan McSmurf gives away Empath's daughter Psycheliana at her wedding to her friend Miracle.
    • Slightly gender-flipped in "Flowerbell's Love Triangle", though instead of a single Smurf giving away Papa Smurf as the groom in his wedding to Flowerbell, three of his little Smurfs walked with him down the aisle as his groomsmen. This was done basically to surprise Avarice the imp, who was expecting to be married to Flowerbell at the ceremony.
    • Brainy does the honors of giving away Bigmouth's bride Bignose at their wedding in "Wedding Bells For Bigmouth" when both ogres were no bigger than the Smurfs.
  • In Flowers of Antimony, since Ed and Winry's parents are all deceased, Sig Curtis (who is a sort of father-substitute for the Elric brothers) does the honors at their wedding. Near the end of the story, Grumman is thoroughly pleased to be giving away his only granddaughter.
  • In the Hero: The Guardian Smurf story "Hero's Wedding", Hero's friend Fergus MacSmurf gives away Hero's Second Love and Opposite-Sex Clone Wonder Smurfette to Hero at their wedding together.
  • Gender-Inverted in I Hope You're Prepared For An Unforgettable Wedding!: Seymour Skinner is given away by his overbearing mother, Agnes Skinner.
  • Seen repeatedly in the Skyhold Academy Yearbook series. Dorian, Mahanon, Fenris, and Cullen have all performed the duty thus far - none of them being fathers of the brides (or grooms).

  • The entire plot of both the 1950 and 1991 versions of Father of the Bride are about exploring this trope. From the 1950 version:
    Stanley: Who giveth this woman? "This woman." But she's not a woman. She's still a child. And she's leaving us. What's it going to be like to come home and not find her? Not to hear her voice calling "Hi, Pops" as I come in? I suddenly realized what I was doing. I was giving up Kay. Something inside me began to hurt.
  • Guys and Dolls. At the end of the movie, Miss Adelaide marries Nathan Detroit and Sarah Brown marries Sky Masterson. Miss Adelaide is given away by Lieutenant Brannigan and Sarah is given away by Arvide Abernathy, an older man who works with her at the Save A Soul mission.
  • The Bride in Kill Bill asks her boss/mentor/ex-lover by whom she's pregnant Bill to pose as her father for her wedding. When the groom says he can give the bride away, Bill gets a very dangerous look in his eyes and the Bride hastens to explain that it's not the sort of thing her 'father' would be interested in doing.
  • In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, King Richard requests to do this when he interrupts the wedding of Robin and Marian just before Friar Tuck declares them to be husband and wife. None object.
  • In Les Visiteurs II: The Corridors of Time, 12th century French knight Godefroy de Montmirail is asked by a young woman from his 20th century descendance to accompany her at the altar when she marries (after realizing that he's not her long dead father despite looking a hell lot like him, since both were played by Jean Reno). Moved by this, Godefroy obliges, and he even convinces her to wear the fertility relic he came back to the 20th century to retrieve (her mother finds the object horrible, meanwhile) for the duration of the wedding.

  • Around the World in Eighty Days ends with Phileas Fogg and Aouda marrying, with Passepartout giving the bride away, since he was the one who saved her from being ceremonially burned alive.
  • Charlie Thomas gives his mother away at her wedding to Watson Brewer in The Babysitters Club.
  • In A Brother's Price, the bridegroom is given away at the betrothal. His sister walks him to his eldest bride, who then clasps his right hand in her hands.
  • In Catching Fire, Effie asks Haymitch to give Katniss away at her wedding to Peeta (her father is dead) and the sarcasm of his response ("The sooner, the better.") apparently went over her head. We don't find out if he does the honors at their actual wedding after the main story ends.
  • Queen Ehlana's father is dead (and never treated her very well anyway when he wasn't), so when she gets married in the third book of the Elenium trilogy, she recruits a cousin for the job. She's distantly related to the King of Deira through her mother, who had been a princess of that country, and he's the one to give her away.
  • A similar custom exists in Inheritance Cycle, except that the bride's mother takes part, as does the groom's father; each parent lists what their child is bringing to the marriage (the groom's land, the wife's dowry, etc.) When Roran marries Katrina they both have stand-ins, however, since their respective parents are deceased. (Roran has Horst, an older male friend and father-figure, and Katrina has Birgit, who was a friend of her mother's.)
  • In Love Over Gold, lesbians Diane and Katrien agree that at their wedding they'll be given away by both their parents, which Diane thinks is less patriarchal than being given away by their fathers.
  • In the world of The Priory of the Orange Tree a version of this exists. Rather than their parents, the bride and groom choose their best friends to walk them down the isle. Loth repeatedly laments that he wasn’t there to do this for Sabran.
  • In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance from Vorkosigan Saga, Ivan's father-in-law (who is from Jackson's Hole, which has ruthless capitalism as their planet's hat) says that he considers this trope to be valuing the daughter far too little. He thinks better of the tradition when Ivan explains that the behind the scenes negotiations of marriage contracts can go on for months, it's just considered bad form to bring up those details during the wedding.
  • In Watchers, by Dean Koontz, when it comes time for Travis and Nora's wedding, she does want to be escorted to her groom, but the only one other than Travis Nora has any significant emotional tie to is Einstein. So, it being a Las Vegas wedding, the staff of the wedding chapel don't seem to find it excessively odd for a golden retriever to be giving away the bride.

     Live-Action TV  
  • This was brought up for Dana's wedding in According to Jim.
  • Bones:
    • Brennan lets her dad Max give her away to Booth, but she insists it's not a transfer of a woman from one man to another like property.
    • Angela's dad gives her away at the aborted wedding. When she and Jack actually marry, it's a courthouse thing with no formalities.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Something Blue," Buffy and Spike are planning their wedding (It Makes Sense in Context), and Buffy asks Giles to give her away. Unlike them, he realizes this entire discussion is ridiculous and that they must be under some sort of spell... but he's still touched.
  • Chuck: Ellie asks Chuck to look for their Disappeared Dad so he can walk her down at the altar. After Chuck successfully locates and rescues his father from Fulcrum with the help of his team, both Chuck and his dad do the task of giving Ellie away.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Wedding of River Song" both of the bride's parents give her away. In fact, the entire wedding pretty much consists of them saying, "I consent and freely give."
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: Dr. Quinn asks her mother to give her away, as her father has passed away. Her mother, being a stickler for tradition, refuses (presumably, this was unheard of in the 1800s, when the series is set). Fiance Sully asks his former father-in-law Loren to do it, as a means of making amends for him and Loren's daughter running off and eloping years ago, thus depriving him of the chance to do this. Loren agrees, but her mother comes around and does it after all.
  • In the episode where she leaves The Drew Carey Show, Kate is getting married, but her parents don't attend because they think it's too rushed. Drew, despite having been married to her and still loving her, gives her away at the ceremony and wishes her a happy life.
  • On Family Matters, when Mother Winslow remarries, her son Carl gives her away.
  • Friends:
    • Phoebe asked Joey to give her away, because her stepdad was in prison. Joey, however, ends up officiating the ceremony (he's an ordained minister through the Internet), so Chandler does it.
    • In an earlier episode, Ross gives his ex-wife Carol away when she marries Susan, because her parents don't approve of the lesbian wedding.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In season 3, King Joffrey gives away Sansa Stark to his uncle Tyrion Lannister. Sansa is by that point a captive in King's Landing forced into an Arranged Marriage, and because her father is dead (at Joffrey's hands, no less) and no other Stark family members are in the capital, it falls to Joffrey as "father of the realm" to carry out this duty.
    • In Season 5, Theon Greyjoy gives away Sansa Stark. Subverted in that it's a sadistic game arranged by her betrothed, Ramsey Bolton. Theon was involved in the (apparent) deaths of the Starks during the War of the Five Kings, so he is the last person she wants to give her away.
  • Gilmore Girls: When Luke's sister Liz gets married, her son Jess walks her down the aisle. He wasn't eager to do it, since it's far from her first wedding and he has no reason to believe this guy's going to stick around any longer than the others, but Luke talks him into it. Luke and Liz's father is dead, so he wasn't an option anyway, but Liz did want Jess to be part of the wedding.
  • In the Series Finale of The Golden Girls (Golden Palace? What's that?), Dorothy had her mother Sophia give her away.
  • In the Highlander episode, "Til Death." It involved two Immortals who had been married for nearly 300 years, Robert and Gina de Valincourt. In the flashback when the two announce their intention to marry, Gina asks Duncan and Fitz to give her away. This shocks both of them, as the two had been competing for her favor earlier in the episode and both expected they were going to be the one Gina would marry.
  • Jessie: Bertram gives Jessie away to Brooks when Jessie's dad can't make it to the wedding.
  • In Kamen Rider Double's finale in the film Movie Wars Core, it's shown that Akiko's father Sokichi (who was always away working) promised he'd be there for her wedding day — but unfortunately, he suffered Death by Origin Story. Shotaro was originally going to give her away, but when the ceremony comes he sits in the pews next to his partner Philip, explaining that it's taken care of; we then see a specter of Sokichi escorting Akiko down the aisle.
  • Lucifer (2016): At Maze and Eve's wedding Maze walks down the aisle on the arm of Dr. Linda, one of her closest friends who's also acting as officiant. When it's Eve's turn ex-husband Adam approaches and offers to give her away. Eve declines the offer and walks alone instead. At the reception Linda explains to Adam that Eve needed to do this as she's always been dependent on someone else whereas Maze was always denied connections with others and thus needed someone with her.
  • M*A*S*H:
    • Col. Potter gave away the bride in an otherwise completely traditional Korean wedding. (Dunno if that's a custom in Korean weddings or not.) He had vetoed the wedding taking place in the compound; BJ said "but she wanted you to give her away," at which point he relented.
    • Col. Potter also gave Margaret away when she married Donald Penobscott.
  • NCIS: When Ziva is considering marrying Ray, everyone assumes Gibbs would walk her down the aisle. It does not happen, and never will. Marrying Ray, that is, not Gibbs walking her down the aisle. But now that Trent Kort killed Ziva, the second won't happen either. Or will it, since Ziva is actually alive?
  • The Office (US): In "Phyllis' Wedding", she gives Michael a part in her wedding ceremony in exchange for a longer honeymoon vacation. Michael initially wished to walk Phyllis down the aisle (which would be strange and uncomfortable), instead he is allowed to roll Phyllis' dad down the aisle with her. As they walk through the chapel, the dad motions for Michael to stop and starts to stand up from his wheelchair. Michael tries to force him to sit down, fearing the father will take the attention away from himself. Phyllis' dad then walks her the rest of the way. The touching moment is disrupted by Michael, who is annoyed with the feat and bothered that he has to carry the wheelchair. He passive aggressively drags it along as everyone waits for him.
  • In Roseanne at Darlene and David's wedding, Dan begins to walk Darlene down the aisle when she briefly excuses herself to throw up. It is a Shotgun Wedding, after all (luckily they were outdoors).
    Dan: (to the attendees) What? You've never seen a pregnant bride throw up before?!
  • In The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith" (Whoniverse titles sure are repetitive, aren't they?), Sarah Jane asks her son Luke to give her away. He asks why she doesn't choose the Doctor instead, and she says she wants someone reliable.
    Sarah Jane: Besides, where would I send the wedding invitation? Metebelis 3?
  • Schitt's Creek: David, who is marrying Patrick, asks his sister to walk him down the aisle. This leads to Played for Laughs Incest Subtext when Alexis choses to wear a full length white gown with a big bow in the back that happened to come with a tulle headdress which she doesn't wear. David points out that this is a wedding dress, which she eventually realizes. Thankfully, it doesn't ruin the day for the grooms.
  • The Grand Finale of Sense8 ends with Amanita and Nomi's wedding. Amanita walks down the aisle on her mother's arm with her three fathers walking behind them. Nomi, who has a frosty-at-best relationship with her transphobic parents, walks down the aisle on the arm of her best friend Bug.
  • Star Trek:
    • Though the wedding between Angela Martine and Robert Tomlinson in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Balance of Terror" is interrupted by a red alert, we do get to see Scotty give Angela away.
    • Lwaxana Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation wanted to hold her wedding aboard the Enterprise and asked her other crush, Captain Picard, to give her away. Picard granted permission because "Nothing would please me more than to give away Lwaxana Troi."
    • In the episode "Data's Day" from The Next Generation, Data gives away Keiko Ishikawa at her wedding to Miles O'Brien.
    • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Course: Oblivion," Chakotay of the biomimetic Voyager crew gives away B'Elanna Torres at her wedding to Tom Paris.
  • On The West Wing President Bartlet almost did not get to give away the bride at his own daughter's wedding due to an international crisis he had to take care of. In the end he had to plead with two world leaders to hold off war just long enough so he could walk his little girl down the aisle.
  • Will & Grace: Moments before Grace and Leo's wedding her father throws his back out and can't move. Grace asks Will to give her away instead but he freaks out at the idea of being the one to hand her over to another man. Grace talks Will around by reminding him of how they first met, and how they will always be part of each other's lives.
    Will: Get Jack to do it.
    Grace: I'm not having Jack walk me down the aisle. He'll meet someone halfway down and ditch me!
    Will: Well, then, get Karen to do it.
    Grace: Karen? When was the last time she could walk in a straight line?

  • In the country song "You Can Let Go Now Daddy" the second verse is about the narrator being escorted down the aisle. When they get to the altar, her father wouldn't let go of her hand until she tells him the title of the song.
  • The last verse of "Butterfly Kisses" has the father (and narrator) giving away his daughter at her wedding.

  • Mamma Mia!: The main character doesn't know who her real dad is, but she wants him to give her away at her wedding, so she invites the three men who might be her dad to the wedding and tries to figure out who it is. They never do find out, but in the end she asks her mother to give her away... and then decides she's not ready to get married yet after all, so her mother and one of the possible dads get married in her place.
  • Seen in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, at the second wedding. Claudio, believing that Hero has died of a broken heart due to his false accusations, has agreed to marry her lookalike cousin. Hero's uncle, the cousin's father, presents the heavily veiled bride. "This is she, and I do give you her." The 'cousin' doesn't exist. It's Hero.

     Video Games  
  • One of the more popular mods for Dragon Age: Origins is the wedding mod, which lets the player experience the wedding of King Alistair and Warden-Commander Cousland. The bride's elder brother gives her away.
  • In the ending of King's Quest VI, if King Caliphim and Queen Allaria are brought Back from the Dead, they give their daughter Cassima away to be wed to Prince Alexander. If Cassima's parents aren't rescued, Jollo acts on behalf of King Caliphim.
    • It's also notable in that the Green Isles also asks someone to speak for the groom as well. If Alexander rescues the genie, then Graham does the honors. If not, then Captain Saladin of the guard dogs will speak on Alex's behalf.
    • An aversion in the Fan Sequel The Silver Lining. Rosella refuses to be given away, choosing to walk down the aisle by herself. Unfortunately, this leaves her family too far away to stop the mysterious stranger's attack... if they could have prevented it at all.

     Visual Novels  
  • Melody: In the Perfect Ending, Arnold walks Melody down the aisle. He is not her actual father, and the two of them previously had a strained relationship. This shows just how solid their reconciliation is.

     Web Comics  
  • In Shortpacked!, Leslie's religious parents won't attend her wedding to Robin, who's acting as the "groom," so Leslie chooses her friend Ethan to do the honor instead. Except her boss Galasso also wants to do it. And is joined by Joe, Rachel, Roz, Ultra-Car, Malaya, Lucy, Danny, Billie, their kids, Walky, Joyce, and Robin's mother, all of whom Robin instructed to accompany her.
    Robin: You make family wherever you go, Les. An' I want in on it.
  • In Something*Positive, Aubrey asks Mr. MacIntire, her best friend's father, to give her away at her wedding. Her own father is never seen or really mentioned, so it's unclear why he didn't, but Fred is delighted to have the job.

     Western Animation  
  • On American Dad!, Steve and his friends get a Russian Mail-Order Bride. Snot wins the contest over who gets to marry her, and Steve gives her away.
    Steve: (fondly) I can't believe I'm giving you away on your wedding day. Oh, seems like just yesterday you popped out of that box and I was planning to have sex with you. Sunrise, sunset.
  • In Family Guy, Jillian, whose parents are dead, asks Peter to give her away. Justified in that they have a rapport due to their common stupidity.
  • In The Smurfs (1981) special "Smurfily Ever After", Papa Smurf played this role as well as the minister of Woody and Laconia's wedding, since we don't see whether Laconia has any parents or not.
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series Mary Jane asks Robbie Robertson to give her away because her dad was never there for her. It was revealed a few episodes later that Peter had actually married MJ's clone, but the sentiment is still there, especially if you simply choose to ignore most of the last season.