I'm on the brink of engagement and am having to face an issue I've avoided for years. I'm at a loss and am very interested in any advice that can be given to me since this is something I can't exactly talk to my family about.
I do not have a close relationship (or any type of positive relationship) with my biological parents. I was conceived from the event of a one-night stand. When my biological father found out my mother was pregnant, he skipped town until almost a year after I was born. He later returned and became involved in a very unhealthy and abusive relationship with my mother that they are still both in to this very day. Upon entering the relationship, my mother discovered that he did not want a child and, since she wanted him, she didn't either. Needless to say, I was practically forgotten about by the two of them and was raised by my great-grandfather, great-grandmother, and great-aunt. Now, at 21 years of age, I have made peace with the situation and have limited contact with both of my parents even though they live 3 houses down the street from me.
My great-grandfather (who legally adopted me) has passed on and, without a father-figure in my life, I have no idea who could walk me down the aisle and "give me away". The closest person I have as a father-figure is my best friend's father. To add on to the dilemma, when the seating of the mothers is to take place, I am uncertain who should sit in the 'mother' section on my side. Should it be my great-grandmother, great-aunt, my best friend's mother (since I'm very close to her, as well), or my biological mother that takes part in the wedding? I am grieved with the idea of my biological parents being at my wedding and having them know that I chose not to allow them to be apart of my wedding. I know what it is like to be hurt by the people who are supposed to love you the most. I do not want them to have the same feelings about me even though they chose to push me away. My main concern is my mother. While I am not close with her, she is in an abusive relationship by choice and she chose to let me go, but I feel like not allowing her to be apart of the wedding would be too much for her. At the same time, I do not think it is fair to me or the other three women in my life who have helped me so much to allow my mother to be apart of it when she has done nothing.
My family is pretty bizarre and, while I chose to go against the flow of them, I do not want my future in-laws to think I am a reflection of my parents and my crazy family. I do not want to be the person who has four mothers be seated on the first row compared to my future hubby's one. How should I go about handling this situation properly and stop feeling guilty and upset?
How should I go about handling this situation properly and stop feeling guilty and upset?
It is every child's birthright to be loved. Your biological parents denied you that love. You have nothing to feel guilty for, nor do you owe them anything.
But even if everyone here says that, your feelings may not change. It's very possible that you might need to work with a good therapist to explore and get past some of these feelings.
As for being "proper," invite whomever you would like to be there. Have whomever you love and care about walk you down the aisle. If you wish to avoid conflict, you may choose to do as many modern brides are doing--walk by yourself (nobody really has to "give you away," because nobody owns you but yourself), or meet your FH halfway down the aisle, to symbolize your new partnership, meeting of the minds, etc.
I wrote a longer answer to your question in the Etiquette section.
Suffice to say, here, that you absolutely can ask whoever you want to escort you down the aisle, male or female. You can walk alone. You can walk in with your groom.
Please go read the other answers in the other section. Everyone is very supportive of your situation. Again, I am really impressed with the maturity you express in your message. You are a remarkable person.
How sad for you that something so wonderful as an engagement is giving you anxiety because of the choices these 2 people made for you. Please don't let anyone have that much power over YOU and YOUR happy day!
Now - I understand where you are coming from. My birth father is not a part of my life anymore. Hasn't been since I was 12 years old. He is an alcoholic and was extremely abusive to my mother. My mother, me, and my 2 siblings were lucky when my mother met a fantastic man! They later got married and he adopted us as well.
I am a firm believer that blood is NOT thicker than water when it comes to matters of the heart. You (and most public school educated folks) know what it takes to become a mother or father. Not much! But to raise someone. Give your everything - through the good years and the bad teen years - that's the sacrifice of loving a child! Any parent of a teen can tell ya that one. I teach 120 of them so I know myself!
Anyway, your wedding should be a celebration of you and your fiance and your lives together and should be celebrated by those who helped you get to where you are. Your great-grandparents were those people. I'm assuming they were older when they took over your care - but they did it because they love and care about you. They deserve to sit front and center at your wedding. And perhaps - if they are able - they should give you away as well. There is no law that states it has to be a male.
Sorry if this has turned into a bit of an emotional rant on my part, but it's something that's very close to my heart as well. When my wedding day comes it will be my dad - the man who raised me, supported me, put braces on my teeth, listen to me tell him how much he ruined my life during those rough year, helped me earn 2 college degrees, and promised to kill any man who broke my heart that walks me down the aisle and gets that special spot in the front. The sperm donor is not invited!
Good luck to you - and whatever you decide please enjoy this time for you! You deserve it!
Personally, I would opt to honor those who have been there for you. If your grandmother and aunt have been your "mothers", then by all means, honor them as such. As for who to walk you down the aisle, no one says it has to be your biological dad. You can pick anyone you choose...it doesn't even have to be a man. It could be a good friend, your aunt, your grandmother, your FH's dad, or even your MOH. Do what feels right and stick to your guns. Try your best not to feel guilty -- this is your special event. Family is about more than titles and names. Surround yourself with those who support you and make you happy. Good luck!