Dad’s Dead – What Do We Do About Father/Daughter Dance?


What Do We Do About Father/Daughter Dance When Father is Deceased

I’ll walk down the aisle alone, which I always wanted to do anyway. But what about the father-daughter dance? Play a song and let the floor be empty? Ignore it? There is no one else to dance with in his place. If nothing, could my FH still properly have a mother-son dance? I don’t really want a big picture of my dad somewhere as it would probably cause my mom to drink herself to passing out (his death was truly extremely horrible, and she and I witnessed it). She hasn’t moved past his death, though it’s been almost five years. So much of weddings, in addition to being bride-groom, is father-daughter and I’m not sure how to handle that or what to do for the traditional father-daughter things.

Donna, Wedding Queen

I’m so sorry you’re enduring such pain at a time that should be more sweet.

It would probably be best just to omit any father/daughter traditions rather than to ask another man to step into the role. I think that could be more hurtful. My children’s father died when they were very young so, for them, having a stepfather or a man close to them filling in might work fine since the wounds are not as close to the surface and, of course, since they never really knew their father.

And, save any memorials for the ceremony. In your case, I might simply make mention of your dad in the program or place a rose at the altar. But, it would probably be best not to have any sort of reading or memorial candle lighting.

Do what feels right for you and your family and thank you for considering your mother’s feelings so deeply. So many women are wrapped up in the “my day – my way” mindset.

God bless all of you.

I agree that you should just omit the traditions that would have included your father, memorialize him at the ceremony if it’s something you would like to include, and still observe the traditions that include other members of the family (like the mother-son dance). Do what feels most comfortable to you and doesn’t make others suffer.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

I couldn’t agree more. There really is no reason to include any father/daughter elements. So many of these traditions are so old that we don’t even know where they began. We can and should invent some tasteful elements that are meaningful to us and for our guests.

I’m so sorry for your mother’s pain.

I’d personally be more comfortable saying nothing at all, and maybe having a white rose somewhere (my mom carried white roses when marrying my dad), or a white-rose corsage for my mom.

I’ve wondered why these traditions still abound and why there’s relatively little said in terms of how to handle traditions that can’t be followed. We hear so much about how to word invitations, but what about the rest? So many these days have step-parents, two moms, two dads, one parent total, etc.. I’d like to see a book on modern wedding etiquette that takes into consideration all the millions of people out there who don’t have the “traditional” family one one mother and one father who are still married and everyone gets along splendidly.

Donna, Wedding Queen

Rebecca – do I smell an idea for a book which needs to be written?

Glad to have suggested it. If you need any real-bride type of input, I’d be glad to help. It’s a book I’ve thought about for a while, and my old Miss Manners and Emily Post stand-bys are lacking in much to say. Ever since my dad died almost five years ago, certain questions had run through my head, and now that gay marriage is becoming legal, that will increase the need. I’m not an expert in the field of modern wedding etiquette, though I doubt anyone can be just yet. It’s still emerging and the rules still need to be written.

Donna, Wedding Queen

Actually, there was a book just written called Ex-Etiquette which may interest you as well as a fairly new book on weddings by Post. called Emily Post’s Etiquette which came out in 2011. Speaking of which, I found this great resource of all the top wedding books brides should buy, I highly recommend them. There’s hope for this world yet!