It was a summer wedding in Ivyland, not unlike many of the others I’d attended that season (nine in 10 months — but who’s counting?): beautiful day, beautiful church, beautiful bride. Her father, a mild-mannered, strong, quiet type, escorted my friend down the aisle and up to the altar where the priest and groom awaited. The priest asked who was giving this woman in marriage, and as the hubby-to-be stepped forward, arms stretched towards his beloved, her father reached out as well, smacked the groom’s hands away from his daughter’s, and instructed him to — and I quote — “Back off!”
Apparently, he wasn’t quite ready to let go. It was a startling thing to see take place during a wedding ceremony (and indeed, perhaps no one was more startled than the distressed father himself, poor dear), but to be honest, it wasn’t the first crazy thing I’d seen a parent of one of my soon-to-be-married friends do. (No kidding: Another father I know rented Father of the Bride — the premier example of this type of behavior — and watched it, by himself, no less than 10 times in the two days before my friend’s wedding.) Planning a wedding can certainly be stressful for any couple, but parents can develop stresses and anxieties all their own. Maybe your dad is suddenly acting awkward around your fiancé, when he never did before, or your usually even-keeled mom storms out of the house whenever you mention serving chicken at the reception instead of her sea-bass suggestion. Their uncharacteristic, unexpected behavior might be causing you even more stress, we know — but they’re dealing with a few things, too. Try and cut them some slack.