Give Away the Bride

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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 walks her down the aisle to the altar where the vows are exchanged, a holdover from the days of Arranged Marriage. Nowadays, it's a symbol of endearment towards the most important man in her life before the groom came into the picture, and he "gives her away" to the groom. If her father is unavailable or didn't fill that role in her life, her brother, close friend, or mentor figure are popular choices to stand in his place, but it might even be her son if the bride is an older woman. 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!

Examples of Give Away the Bride include:

Comic Books

  • 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 Sue and Johnny.
  • When Donna Troy gets married, she has her closest friend Dick Grayson walk her down the aisle, as she doesn't have a father.

Film

  • 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. Watch it here starting at 2:05 [dead link].
  • 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. It Got Worse.
  • The entire plot of Father of the Bride is exploring this trope.

Literature

  • A similar custom exists in The Inheritance Cycle, except 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.)
  • 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.

Live Action TV

  • Phoebe from Friends 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 of Friends, Ross gives his ex-wife Carol away when she marries Susan, because her parents don't approve of the lesbian wedding.
  • 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. Still holding out hope for the second bit.
  • In Mash 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.
  • 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.
  • This was brought up for Dana's wedding in According to Jim.
  • On Family Matters, when Mother Winslow remarried, Carl gave her away.
  • In the Series Finale of Golden Girls (Golden Palace? What's that?), Dorothy had her mother Sophia give her 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 where she leaves The Drew Carey Show, Kate is getting married to a man 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 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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?

Music

  • In the country song "You Can Let Go Now Daddy" the second verse is about the narrator being escorted down the isle. When they get to the altar, her father wouldn't let go of her hand until she tells him the title of the song.

Theatre

  • Mamma Mia!: partly because the main character doesn't know who her real dad is, partly because he wasn't there when she was growing up, regardless, she asks her mother to give her away.

Video Games

  • 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.

Web Comics

  • 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 do.

Western Animation