With Father's Day just around the corner, it is time to honor the first man in a bride's life: her dad! Time and time again we are captivated by moments from real weddings that showcase a couple's love well well as celebrate the joining of two families.
We've seen fathers leave the hospital to join their daughters on their wedding days, and we've watched dozens of unique choreographed father-daughter dances. Among the hundreds of beautiful, and sometimes heartbreaking, stories we've heard over the past year, here are just a few of our favorites. Some will make you laugh, some will make you ugly cry, but all of them will make you appreciate the unbreakable bond between a father and daughter!
The Silent Dance
Even though Harmony Walton’s father lost his hearing in 2018, he still wanted to dance with his daughter at her upcoming wedding. Knowing this, Walton asked her father to choose a song he knew by heart. "I asked him to pick a song he could hear in his head, even if he couldn't actually hear the music," the bride told us. In the end, he chose "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, and during the dance she mouthed the words so he could follow the beat. "It was a really emotional moment, everyone on the lawn was in tears," Walton recalled.
The Ultimate Wedding Song
What's the best gift a father can give to his daughter on her wedding day? Father of the bride Fred Goldring thought an original song was the answer. In September 2018, he surprised his daughter, Jenna, at her wedding by performing a song he wrote just for her called “On Your Wedding Day.” “By the time I finished the song, there didn’t seem to be a dry eye in the place," Goldring told The New York Times. “The song had accomplished everything I had ever hoped it would, I had given my daughters the best gift I could think of as a dad.” The bride agreed that it was an incredibly special moment. "[He] basically had the entire wedding in tears. It was just so special and truly from the heart,” she recalled.
And They Danced
This Alabama bride didn’t let a wheelchair stop her from enjoying the father-daughter dance at her December 2018 wedding. Mary Bourne Butts spun her wheelchair-bound dad around the dance floor at her reception as Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” played; when the bride was just eight years old, her father decreed it "their song." "The words are perfect. The meaning is perfect," said the bride. "What we chose almost 20 years ago embraces and captures everything our family is going through." Her father struggled to hold back tears and the bride finished the dance with a long hug on her father's lap.
The Sweetest Tribute
Bride Kaley West was unable to share a dance with her late father at her September 2018 nuptials. But, her five brothers still wanted her to participate in the traditional moment. While the brothers took turns dancing with West as Michael Bolton’s “Fathers and Daughters” played, audio of her father’s voice interjected over the speakers, Huffington Post reported. West was taken aback by the soundbites of her late father from old home videos and called the moment “beyond incredible.” Even though her father wasn’t physically on the dance floor, he was still there for his little girl.
To His Darling Girl
Bride Arianna Casadei's wedding shoes had a very special meaning. As the daughter of famous shoe designer Cesare Casadei, the perfect pair of shoes for her wedding were destined since birth. But little did she know how precious these heels would be. The day of her wedding, her father surprised her with a pair of custom jeweled metallic sandals and a sweet note on the sole. "Alla mia cucciola," he wrote, which translates to, "To my darling girl." “The day of the wedding, I wasn’t just wearing a pair of shoes,” said the bride. “I was wearing the expression of love and passion that links us all to the business and to each other, as well. It was special, to say the least!”
Worth a Thousand Words
When bride-to-be Becky Carey found out her father was going into hospice care due to his battle with cancer, she knew that no one could replace him during the traditional father-daughter dance at her upcoming wedding. So instead of scheduling an engagement shoot with her fiancé, she asked her wedding photographer to do a photoshoot with her father instead. The photographer eagerly agreed and captured Carey dancing with her father outside of her childhood home. While her father may not be there to dance with her on her wedding day, she will always have this beautiful moment to hold on to. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
A Dance to Remember
Gina Ross’s wedding day began with her father using a cane to walk her down the aisle—but it ended completely differently. Her father, who was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder in 2016 leaving him paralyzed to a wheelchair for a period of time, eventually gained enough strength to walk with a cane. But, what Ross didn’t know was that her dad was working extra hard in therapy to ditch the cane on his daughter's wedding day. When it came time for the father-daughter dance, her father stood up without assistance. "[He] stood up independently and we danced together arm-in-arm as I continuously laughed [and] cried in his arms yelling, 'Really? Dad! No cane!'" recalled the bride. "He told me, 'I didn’t want to tell you in case I couldn’t make it happen, but I wanted to surprise you with this dance.'"