Photo: Courtesy of Buena Vista/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
Weddings are rough on our dear old dads. Not only do dads traditionally foot the bill, but they also pay, emotionally. For every dad, a daughter's wedding day is a bittersweet day.
Rationally, your dad's thrilled about your wedding. He's happy you've found the right guy, and he's excited about the prospect of grandchildren. Emotionally, however, he may be reeling. And he may not even know it.
It's normal for dad to feel sad he's losing you — hypothetically speaking. Your wedding makes him feel his age. Think about it: You were once that tiny baby girl he held in his arm, and now he's holding your arm as you walk down the aisle to get married. The wedding makes him come to terms with his own age and how he's grown older, too.
Many men aren't all that great at feeling their feelings. Especially dads, who are socialized to be "The Rock" of the family. So dads may misbehave, act up, act out, and sometimes act downright weird. I've heard stories of dads glued to their iPhones when their daughters are up on the pedestal at the bridal shops. Generous dads who suddenly become tightwads, watching every penny spent on the wedding. Warm and fuzzy dads become distant, even a little mean.
What can you do if this sounds like your old man? Talk with him about your feelings. Maybe he'll open up — or maybe not. Either way, don't get offended or upset. On some level, he's dreaded your wedding day since the day you were born. Brides must be patient with fathers as they get used to their new position as the #2 man in your life.
Allison Moir-Smith, MA, is a bridal counselor, creator of How Brides-To-Be REALLY Feel videos, and author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Her Life.