DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I are talking marriage soon, and I'm already stressing over who will walk me down the aisle.
I always planned for it to be my dad, but he passed away a month ago. Mom remarried when I was young, but I have never had a close relationship with my stepdad. He mentioned years ago that he'd like to walk me down the aisle one day, but I honestly would rather he didn't. I don't want to hurt his feelings or strain our relationship, but I also don't want to feel like I am replacing Daddy, who I was very close with.
Is it taboo to walk down the aisle alone? Or must I just suck it up and walk with my stepdad for the sake of not hurting his feelings? -- MARRIAGE IN MINNEAPOLIS
DEAR MARRIAGE: Brides can (and should) walk down the aisle with the companion of their choice. When the bride's father is deceased, the escort can be her mother or a close male relative. I have also heard of brides escorted down the aisle by their canine companion, which proves that although they say a dog is man's best friend, it can also be a woman's.
You are not obligated to have anyone walk you to the altar because the person asks. If your stepfather repeats his request, tell him the truth -- that it would be too hurtful because it would feel like he was replacing your father, something no one can ever do. You should also know that these days some women feel being "given away" is an anachronistic custom, and make their way alone to join their groom at the altar.