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Is giving away the bride biblical?

In modern weddings, it is commonplace for the father of the bride to walk his daughter down the aisle and give her away to the groom. This tradition has been a common feature of Western weddings for centuries, but it raises an important question: is giving away the bride biblical?

There are different opinions on this question, and this article aims to provide an overview of the different arguments and perspectives on the matter.

Historical Background

The tradition of giving away the bride has its roots in ancient times, when marriages were often arranged and seen as alliances between families or tribes. In these cases, the bride was literally given away by her father or male guardian as a token of the transfer of her allegiance from her family of origin to her husband’s family.

In Christian weddings, the giving away of the bride was not originally part of the ceremony. According to Dr. Alexander Hislop, a nineteenth-century Scottish minister and antiquary, the custom of walking the bride down the aisle and giving her to the groom was introduced in the 16th century as part of the Protestant Reformation. It was seen as a way to emphasize the voluntary nature of the marriage contract, as opposed to the forced and arranged marriages of the past.

Biblical Arguments for Giving Away the Bride

There are several biblical arguments that have been put forward to support the practice of giving away the bride. One of the most cited is the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis. According to this interpretation, Eve was taken from Adam’s rib and presented to him by God, which is seen as a model for the giving away of the bride.

Another biblical basis for the tradition is the concept of the bride as the father’s property. In ancient times, daughters were considered a valuable asset that could be used as a bargaining chip in political alliances or to secure social status. In this context, the father’s act of giving his daughter away was a sign of his authority and control over her.

In modern times, this argument is sometimes framed in terms of the father’s role as protector and provider for his daughter. By giving her away to the groom, he is entrusting her with another man who will take care of her and provide for her needs.

Biblical Arguments Against Giving Away the Bride

Not everyone agrees that giving away the bride is an appropriate or biblical practice. Some argue that the tradition reinforces patriarchal norms that are contrary to the biblical vision of equality and mutual submission in marriage. In this view, the bride is not a piece of property to be transferred from one owner to another, but a person with her own agency and dignity.

Moreover, some point out that the Bible does not have a specific command or example of giving away the bride. While there are many wedding customs in the Bible, such as the exchange of gifts, the pouring of libations, and the signing of a written agreement, there is no explicit mention of the father giving his daughter away in marriage.

Theological Implications

At a deeper level, the question of whether giving away the bride is biblical raises important theological issues about the nature of marriage and the role of gender in the Christian faith. According to Genesis 2:24, marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman who become one flesh. This image of unity and mutual commitment is at odds with the notion of the bride as a transferable object that can be given away or exchanged.

Furthermore, the gospel message of redemption and liberation calls Christians to challenge structures of power and oppression, including those based on gender. The practice of giving away the bride can be seen as reinforcing patriarchal norms that limit women’s agency and autonomy.


In conclusion, the question of whether giving away the bride is biblical is a complex and contested issue that reflects different cultural and theological perspectives. While some see the tradition as a symbol of fatherly love and protection, others view it as an antiquated custom that reinforces patriarchal norms. Ultimately, the decision to include or omit this practice from a wedding ceremony is a personal one that should be guided by careful reflection on the biblical vision of marriage and gender diversity in the church.


What does giving the bride away symbolize?

Giving the bride away is a longstanding tradition in Western wedding ceremonies, but its meaning has evolved over time. Historically, this act represented a transfer of ownership from the bride’s father to her new husband. In ancient times, marriage was a business transaction and a way to ensure socioeconomic stability. Fathers were responsible for arranging marriages and negotiating the dowry. When it was time for the wedding, the father would lead his daughter to her groom and formally hand her over, signifying the transfer of ownership.

As society has evolved, so has the meaning of giving the bride away. Nowadays, the act is much less about ownership and more about the bond between the bride, her father, and her soon-to-be-husband. Many brides and fathers see it as a symbolic gesture of gratitude for all the support, care, and love that the father has provided over the years and as a way to honor the bond between them. It is also a poignant moment for the father, who is letting go of his little girl and entrusting her to the care and protection of another man.

In recent times, giving the bride away hasn’t been limited to fathers. It is common for mothers, stepfathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, or any other important person in the bride’s life to escort her down the aisle. This signifies that the bride is not just leaving her father’s home but also moving away from the people who she has depended on for guidance and support throughout her life. It represents the unity of the two families coming together to support their loved ones in their new life together.

Giving the bride away is a long-standing tradition that has evolved with the times. It holds different meanings for different people, but it remains a beautiful way to honor the bond between the bride and her loved ones and symbolize the start of a new chapter in her life.

Can a mother give the bride away?

Traditionally, the father is the one who walks the bride down the aisle and “gives her away” to her groom. However, modern wedding etiquette has seen a shift towards alternate ways of including important family members in the processional. One of these ways is for the mother to give the bride away.

There are many reasons why a mother may be the one to accompany the bride down the aisle. Sometimes it is simply a matter of preference, and the mother-daughter bond is strong enough that the bride wants her mother to have a significant role in the ceremony. Other times, the father may have passed away, be estranged from the family, or have other issues that make it difficult or inappropriate for him to give the bride away. In these cases, the mother may step in and take on the role.

It is important to note that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to who can give the bride away. the decision should be based on what feels right for the family and the couple. Some couples may even choose to walk down the aisle together, symbolizing that they are equal partners in their marriage.

If a mother is going to give the bride away, it is important to make sure she feels comfortable with the role. She may want to wear a special outfit or have her own bouquet to carry. It’s also important to coordinate with the wedding planner or officiant to make sure the logistics of the processional are smooth and everyone knows their role.

While it may not be the traditional way, it is entirely appropriate for a mother to give the bride away at a wedding. Modern wedding etiquette encourages couples to make their own choices when it comes to how they structure their ceremony, and the mother-daughter bond can be a beautiful thing to celebrate in this way.

Does the bride have to be given away?

The tradition of “giving away the bride” dates back many years and has its roots in the patriarchal structure of society where women were viewed as property to be transferred from one man to another. In modern times, this tradition has evolved, and many couples choose to forego this practice.

The decision to include “giving away the bride” in a wedding ceremony ultimately rests with the couple. Some couples may choose to keep this tradition to honour their families and recognize the important role their parents have played in their lives. In this case, the gesture can be seen as a simple act of respect and gratitude.

However, for some couples, the idea of being “given away” can seem outdated and unnecessary. Rejecting this tradition can be a way to reject the idea that women are seen as property to be transferred between men. In this way, removing this practice from the ceremony can be seen as a feminist statement, reclaiming the power and agency of women.

If a couple decides to forego this tradition, there are many other ways in which they can honour their parents and include them in the ceremony. For example, the couple could choose to have both sets of parents walk them down the aisle, or they could simply have their parents stand beside them during the ceremony. Alternatively, the couple could ask their parents to perform a special reading or prayer during the service.

Weddings are about joining two families together and celebrating the love between two individuals. Whether or not to include “giving away the bride” is a personal choice that each couple should make based on their own beliefs and values. What is important is that the couple creates a ceremony that reflects their relationship and values.

What does the bride represent in the Bible?

In the Bible, the bride is one of the most significant theological themes that is often used to symbolize different aspects of divine relationships. The concept of the bride appears in both the Old and New Testaments, where it is usually used metaphorically to represent different ideas, including the relationship between God and Israel, as well as the relationship between Christ and the church. Through the images of the bride, the Bible teaches about the nature of divine love, as well as the sacrificial, covenantal, and redemptive nature of God’s love.

The identity of the bride is generally considered within Christian theology to be the church, with Jesus as the bridegroom. Ephesians 5:22–33 in particular compares the union of husband and wife to that of Christ and the church. The text speaks of a deep and sacrificial love that is characterized by mutual respect and devotion. The bride symbolizes a pure and spotless soul that is consecrated to the groom, who represents Christ. The imagery suggests that the union between Christ and his followers is a sacred covenant that is entered into through faith, trust, and obedience.

Moreover, the bride represents the church in her perfected and glorified state. Revelation 19:7–8 describes the bride as an adorned wife, ready for her wedding. The bride’s beauty is described as being illuminated by the radiance of Christ, her groom. The image of the bride in the book of Revelation suggests that the church’s destiny is to be united with Christ in a perfect union that is characterized by love, devotion, and holiness.

In the Old Testament, the bride is used primarily to symbolize the relationship between God and Israel, in which God plays the role of the husband. The theme is carried through the prophetic writings, such as Hosea, where the relationship is portrayed in terms of love and faithfulness, despite Israel’s unfaithfulness and rebellion against God. The bride metaphor is also evident in the book of Isaiah, where the prophet speaks of a new Jerusalem, which is described as being adorned like a bride for her groom.

The bride is a significant theological theme that is used throughout the Bible to represent different ideas, including the relationship between Christ and the church, God and Israel, and the coming of the New Jerusalem. The imagery of the bride suggests that divine love is sacrificial, covenantal, and redemptive, and that the ultimate destiny of the church is to be united with Christ in a perfect union of love, devotion, and holiness.

What is the symbolism of removing the garter?

The tradition of removing the garter is believed to have originated in the Middle Ages, where it was considered good luck to possess a piece of the bride’s wedding dress. The bride’s garter was considered to be the most valuable piece of clothing, and guests would often try to get their hands on it during the wedding reception. In order to avoid a free-for-all, the bride would toss her garter into the crowd to prevent guests from tearing her dress apart. This tradition eventually evolved into a more structured event, where the groom himself would remove the garter and toss it to the bachelors present.

Today, the practice of removing the garter is seen as a playful and lighthearted tradition at weddings. It’s essentially the male equivalent of the bouquet toss, and symbolizes the groom’s ownership of the bride. The groom removing the garter in front of his family and friends is a way of publicly showing his authority over his new wife, while the bride wearing a garter underneath her dress signifies her willingness to surrender to her husband.

In addition to being a fun tradition, removing the garter also holds a bit of superstition. Similar to the bouquet toss, it’s believed that the person who catches the garter will be the next to get married. This is seen as a playful incentive for single guests at the wedding, and often results in a lighthearted competition between bachelors vying for their chance to catch the garter.

Despite its playful connotations, the tradition of removing the garter has been subject to criticism for being a bit outdated and even sexist. Some people argue that the practice reinforces traditional gender roles and can make guests uncomfortable. However, many couples still choose to include the garter toss as an optional tradition at their weddings, viewing it as a fun way to entertain their guests and add a bit of lightheartedness to the reception.