It is said to be the proudest moment in any father’s life: to escort his daughter down the hall on his wedding day. But now that marriages have returned, as part of the blockade relief, the government has announced that Dad will have to lose because of the social distancing. What seems extraordinary to me is that it takes a pandemic to pay for this traditional dinosaur.
Being walked down the hall by your father is a custom of a time when women were considered incapable of being responsible for themselves. You came under the auspices of your father, you lived at home and then your husband managed your life. But now, more than 100 years after women got the grade and at a time when they probably enjoyed good college education, they earned a salary, moved from their parents’ home to their apartment with friends. before the wedding and earn as much or even more than their future husband, they still passed from one man to another during a wedding ceremony.
Many daughters may have wanted to walk alone, but attempted to do so out of fear of disturbing their fathers. Now the Covid-19 restrictions give them the perfect excuse to intentionally do so as a symbol of a firm and independent intention to marry – a scene that is far more appropriate for the 21st century.
What’s also appropriate in these tight times will be how small a Covid wedding will be. The sumptuous ceremony will be over, with hundreds of guests, from your father’s business contacts, to the classmates you last saw at a meeting a decade ago, and to your future husband’s golf mates, only there to the sparkling flow and to observe the bridesmaids. It’s not so much a wedding, but an exercise in social networks and real marriage doesn’t count. Now, the Covid-19 regulations mean only 30 guests at most at the ceremony and just one reception. Groups of two families inside or six people from different families outside can bring a glass to the happy couple.
I suspect that a lot of people will breathe a sigh of relief from this restriction, including some fathers who lose on the corridor walks, but earn on finances. Weddings have become extravagances in recent times, with couples feeling obliged to organize a one-day celebration, starting with the ceremony, then a seated lunch that extends into the evening, followed by a party in the early hours. Add the dress, the tents, the country hotel, the band, the food and the champagne and it’s no wonder that wedding specialists like hitched.co.uk estimate that the average cost of a wedding in 2019 was close to £ 32,000.
With today’s events – more similar to the modest ones enjoyed by our grandparents during the war – the attention will not be so much on the wedding day as an experience but the wedding – a very contemporary commitment between two equal partners. If it takes hold and becomes the norm far beyond the block, it will truly be something to celebrate.