Ex-etiquette: Acknowledging the dads at wedding

Jann Blackstone

Q: My parents are both divorced and have both remarried. I love my bonusmom and my bonusdad. They have been great to me and I fell very blessed to have so many parents put me first and make my life easy in what could have been a really awkward situation.

I am getting married next June and I would like my father and my bonus father to walk me down the aisle. I would like to ask them to do this on this Father’s Day. My dad has always been very supportive of my bonusdad in my life.

What do you think of the idea? What’s good ex-etiquette?

A: I understand why you want your dad and your bonusdad to walk you down the aisle and there are ways that you can do that, acknowledging your bonusdad without disrespecting your dad.

First, I would like to address your idea of asking your “dads” to walk you down the aisle on Father’s Day — although I understand the sentimentality of asking on that day, my personal opinion is pick another day.

Walking a daughter down the aisle is something your father may have been thinking about all your life, and even though he has been magnanimous in his acceptance of your bonusdad, asking him to share walking you down the aisle on Father’s Day almost seems insensitive.

There are 51 other Sundays during the year where you can sit down with dad and bonusdad and make wedding plans. Or, if your birthday is nearby, that might be a good day to ask — that is your special day — present it as the ultimate birthday gift.

In terms of the wedding, there are a few different ways you can approach your dad and bonusdad walking you down the aisle.

One, dad can be on one side, bonusdad on the other, and they can walk with you together.

The second alternative is you start walking with your bonusdad and are handed off to your father so that he can formally give you away.

When Mother’s Day and Father’s Day roll around, I always get questions about sharing the day with a bonusparent. The question is always how to acknowledge the bonusparent without slighting the bioparent.

It’s not rocket science — Dad is always Dad. The key is not to compare, but acknowledge and be grateful to each for their contribution. Love is the equalizer, and no child can have too many people love her.