african-american-couple-nashville-wedding-52Dear Tamara:

I am getting married in less than two months and I still have not decided who will walk me down the aisle and give me away. This has been a huge issue in my house and has been causing a tremendous amount of stress. I cannot choose between my biological father and my stepfather. My parents divorced when I was 2 and my mother remarried when I was 6. I did not have a strong relationship with my father growing up, but we recently reconnected and have been getting pretty close. On the other hand, my stepfather raised me and we have an extremely close relationship. My biological parents do not get along and my mother doesn’t even want my biological father at the wedding. My stepfather, who is paying for the wedding, claims to be neutral. He told me to make my decision and that he would support it no matter what. He has held this position from the beginning, but I know he really wants to walk me down the aisle. I am his only daughter and I don’t want him to feel left out or displaced because my biological father is back in the picture.

Bride to Be
Dear Bride to Be:

First, congratulations on your upcoming wedding. This should be a time of happiness and celebration for you and your family. This should be a time for everyone to come together rather than an occasion to divide. Dealing with blended families and managing relationships can be stressful and many family situations are complicated. While I do not know all of the details, it seems that both relationships are important to you. I encourage you try and find a way to include both your biological father and your stepfather in your wedding in a way that makes you happy. Maybe they can both walk you down the aisle, if not together, maybe one can hand you off to the other. I realize this may not follow normal tradition, but this is your wedding and that means you can alter and customize tradition as you see fit!

And while I am sure your mother has her reasons for not wanting your biological father at the wedding, her relationship and experience with him are very different than yours. She may no longer be his wife, but you will always be his daughter. Therefore, you have to manage that relationship. It sounds like your stepfather is a wonderful man as well and I can understand why you do not want to leave him out, especially since he raised you as his own from a small child. You are blessed to have had a wonderful father to raise you and even more blessed to reconnect with your biological father and mend a broken relationship.

I’m saying all of this to say that it is not father vs. stepfather. I don’t think you have to choose. I believe you can include both of your fathers and they both will be honored to walk you down the aisle and/or participate as you see fit.

 

Tamara Hartley is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. She uses her personal life experiences and lessons learned to give others a different perspective and help them make critical decisions in their life, relationships and careers. Email your questions to [email protected]. You can follow Tamara on twitter @drtamarahartley and check out her column and archives at www.youradviceguru.com.

tamara hartley (advice guru)