Who Gives This Woman?

All that you ever wanted to know about this tradition and wording

Weddings are perhaps one of the oldest ceremonies that still exist today. And giving the bride away to the groom is an irreplaceable part of it. It is usually accompanied by the traditional wording that the bride’s father says. However, not all of us know where these phrases come from!

Want to learn the origin of the traditional give-away-the-bride wordings and find out what the modern alternatives are? Then keep on reading! It’s gonna be interesting!

Who Gives This Woman. Traditional Wordings

As all of you probably know, when a woman gets married to a man, a wedding ceremony takes place. During this ceremony, a bride’s father gives his daughter away to her future husband, the groom. And this act is followed by the specific wording that traditionally sounds as “who gives this woman to be married to this man?”.

Nevertheless, you will be mistaken if you think that this is the only existing variant of wording that is used during the wedding ceremony! In fact, several other versions can also be used:

  1. Who gives this man and woman to be married to each other?
  2. I’ve never met a father who was willing to give up his daughter, so instead I ask, do I have your blessing for this marriage?
  3. Who presents this woman to be married to this man?
  4. Who presents this woman and this man to be married to each other?
    All parents say, “We do.”

But if you think that these are the only available variants, you are not quite correct. Nowadays, plenty of alternative wordings have appeared that are also widely used if the couple wants something more up-to-date.

Alternative Phrases For Giving Away the Bride
Luis Tosta Mezdy, Unsplash

Alternative Phrases For Giving Away the Bride

So if you are about to get married, and you would also like to make use of more modern give-away-the-bride phrases, take into consideration several variants that can become handy. Besides, they suit different occasions and conditions (for instance, if one of the parents is no longer alive), so every couple will be able to pick up the variant that is suitable for them exactly.

  • Non-verbal support from parents
  • Blessing only
  • A longer blessing
  • Wording if someone else besides a parent present the bride

Now let’s see how each of these alternative brides give-away phrases will sound.

A non-verbal support can be used if the family members want to physically show their support without any words. To do this, you can opt for one of the possible ways. The first one is when the accompanied couple reach the end of the aisle, the father of the bride (or both parents of her) give her a hug and then they hug her future husband. During this, no words must be said.

The second variant can be used when the couple is unaccompanied. In this case, when they walk down the aisle, they can first walk to their families, give them each a flower and embrace, before they two meet each other at the altar.

Who Gives This Woman
Housekeepingbay.com

Also, you can choose to use giving away the bride wording that consists of the blessing only. In this case, others can bless the couple by saying: Does (name) have (his/her) family’s blessing to marry (name)? “(He/she) does.” A longer blessing will allow parents to express their support to the couple by saying: “(Parents’ names), do you support your child’s decision to join together in holy matrimony with (name), and do you vow to receive (him/her) as a member of your family from this day on?

Answer: “With love in our hearts for both (name) and (name), we joyfully do.”

And finally, if there is anyone else who is presenting the bride along with one of her parents, this wording can be used: “Marriage is in itself a blessing. But doubly blessed is the couple who comes to the marriage altar with the approval and love of their families and friends. Who has the honor of presenting this woman to be married to this man?

Answer: “On behalf of her loving family and friends, I do.”

What Is Bride Giving Away
Jacob Owens, Unsplash

Feminist Wedding Ceremony Script

Since today quite many women are very independent and tend to be feminists, they might not want to be “given away” to their future husband even by their parents! If this is your case, then why not opt for a feminist-style wording? Moreover, it is not that distinct from a traditional version:

Officiant: “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”

Answer: “She gives herself, but with her family’s blessing.”

What Is Bride Giving Away?

So what is this giving away? It is the moment during the wedding ceremony when the father of the bride is giving his daughter away to her soon-to-be husband. The bride leaves the hands of her father and joins the groom.

This is a very old tradition that nowadays is viewed as a way to show respect and love of the couple to their parents. Also, at most of the modern weddings, both father and mother can be giving their daughter away at the wedding.

Where Does This Tradition Come From
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Where Does This Tradition Come From?

Now that you learned the basic giving the bride away phrases, you might be wondering what are the origins of this tradition. Well, the background of the presentation of the bride is rather interesting.

You see, long ago, a woman was in her family’s possession until she got married. Then she became a property of her husband’s family instead. This is why, when a woman was about to get married to a man, her father was giving away the bride during the wedding ceremony to show the act of transferring her to another family.

And even though today this tradition is no longer alive (fortunately!), the wording remained and it is still in wide use. Only these days, it is more of a symbol of respect to the couple’s parents and traditions.

Other Examples Of How to Give Away the Bride
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Other Examples Of How to Give Away the Bride

Are you not much fond of traditional ways of organizing the wedding ceremony? Or maybe you want your ceremony to be not like others? Then you can start your renovations from the giving-away tradition!

And if merely changing the traditional wording or skipping some old-fashioned cliches is not enough for you, check out several ideas of how you could make your wedding ceremony modern and yet keep it look presentable.

  1. The bride may not be given away. Instead, she walks down the aisle herself.
  2. Both the bride and the groom can arrive early and be meeting guests together.
  3. The bride and the groom both walk down the aisle with the bridal party leading the way.
  4. An escort (for instance, a family member) can give away the bride.
  5. Both the bride and her groom can be given away by their families.
  6. All the guests can give the couple away to each other.

No matter which way you choose for your own ceremony, the good news is that nowadays any variant can be freely chosen and used. There are quite few families that will insist on using a traditional give-away-the-bride wording or ceremony.

Other Examples Of How to Give Away the Bride (2)
Beatriz Perez Moya, Unsplash

Well, this was the description of such a popular wedding tradition as giving away the bride. We told you about its origins and the most common wording variants that can be used during the wedding ceremony. Also, now you know what alternative types of this tradition exist.

And if you will need any unusual ways of giving the bride away for your own wedding, you know what to choose from!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to ask for her hand in marriage?

The most common phrase is “Will you marry me?”

What to shift “who gives this woman away” phrase to?

You can use “Who gives this man and woman to be married to each other?”, “Who presents this woman to be married to this man?” or “Who presents this woman and this man to be married to each other?”

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