By Heidi Stevens Chicago Tribune
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When it comes to Meghan Markle, columnist Heidi Stevens asks, "How cool would it be if she inspired a trend of brides walking themselves down the aisle?"
I hope Meghan Markle walks herself down the aisle.
Her dad, Thomas Markle, is apparently no longer attending the wedding (something about conspiring with the paparazzi), leaving royal-watchers in a dither over how, exactly, the bride-to-be will arrive at the front of St. George's Chapel to wed her beloved Prince Harry.
Should her mother, Doria Ragland, accompany her? They're reportedly quite close.
Should her future brother-in-law, Prince William? That choice has precedent, People magazine notes. "When Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, her brother-in-law Prince Philip walked her down the aisle, as her father, King George VI, had died in 1952."
Prince Charles, her future father-in-law? CNN calls him "the most obvious choice."
I'd love to see her eschew the whole lot of them and declare herself perfectly capable of walking solo, thank you very much.
You've seen the coverage. This wedding is supposed to inspire trends, from royal-themed cocktails to royal-themed wedding gifts to Meghan-like gowns, for years, if not decades, to come.
How cool would it be if she inspired a trend of brides walking themselves down the aisle?
Not that there's anything wrong with dads, of course. Dads are lovely. Especially mine. (He walked me down the aisle at my first wedding. My kids walked me at my second.)
But for brides who aren't particularly close with their dads, brides who've lost their dads, brides who adore their dads but feel a little funny about the "giving away" implications, here you go, son, she's all yours now, walking solo is a wonderful solution.
I've attended a handful of weddings where the bride's dad didn't walk her down the aisle. One friend, more than a decade ago, had her older sister walk by her side. Another friend, more recently, walked by herself.
There's no right or wrong choice. That walk is a sacred one, and there's beauty in making it with someone by your side, particularly someone who's stood shoulder-to-shoulder with you through life's other big (and small) moments.
But there's also beauty in making it alone.
A marriage is a contract between two people, an agreement rooted in love and loyalty and a commitment to keep returning to those values even when bills mount and nerves fray and jobs go poof and life, in general, refuses to cooperate with the vision you both had.
That's no small task. Only about half of marriages stick.
But when they succeed, there's nothing greater.
And when they succeed, it's because both people commit their whole selves to doing the work. All in. Help and support from in-laws and friends and siblings and neighbors is lovely. But a marriage lives or dies in the hearts of the two people at its center.
In that sense, walking into a marriage on your own is both powerful and symbolic.
I hope we see Meghan Markle do it on Saturday. And I hope it frees up countless other brides, brides who have nothing in common with Markle other than their soul-filling, all-encompasing, optimistic love for their partners, to consider whether they'd like to do the same.