(Serving the Amicalola Falls area in the North Georgia Mountains)
This part of the wedding vow is entirely optional. Traditionally, the father of the bride is the one who is charged with this task.
If this part is included, he walks the bride down the aisle with her on his left arm, so that he is standing between the bride and the groom, as a metaphorical barrier.
When asked “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”, he commonly will answer, “I do.” The more modern way of answering is to say, “Her mother and I do.”
After that, if the bride is wearing a veil, the father will turn it back and then leave to go back to his seat, usually next to the bride’s mother on the front row. Sometimes, he gives his daughter a kiss before retiring to his chair.
Some brides prefer in this part of the wedding vow to have the minister ask, “Who presents this woman to be married to this man?” instead. The more traditional “Who gives?” dates back to the times when women literally belonged to their fathers and were married off in exchange for a dowry.
Many women do not feel comfortable using the old way and prefer the “Who presents?”, as this puts them on a more equal basis. Sometimes a bride will adamantly prefer one over the other and either is fine to use.
If a woman’s father is no longer living or available, another person may be designated to have the honor of this wedding vow. A brother, favorite uncle, grandfather, or any other member of the family may do this part of the ceremony. I have even done weddings where the single mother of the bride “gave her away.”
No matter which version is used in the ceremony, it needs to be placed fairly close to the beginning so that the one presenting the bride will not have to remain standing up at the alter for very long. I did one ceremony where the couple did their own vows and put that part way down at the end.
The honoree was handicapped and standing on crutches, and he finally sat down before I could get to it because it was painful for him to stand. When planning wedding, one should take into consideration the needs of all participants in the ceremony.