Dear Catholic Exchange:
I recently attended a Protestant wedding of a family member. During the rehearsal the "Wedding Coordinator" told the brother of the bride (who was taking the place of the deceased father) that he needed to give the groom a "blessing" as he joined the Bride and Groom together. She turned to everyone present and said that is because the Bible tells us that the Father of the Bride must do this. I have never heard of this in scripture, is there such a verse?
Peace in Christ!
While blessings are generally considered to be desirable, we do not know of a mandate in Scripture for the father of the bride to give a blessing to the groom.
One scripture passage that is sometimes used to support the father giving away his bride is Exodus 22:16, 17. There seems to be a clear imperative for the father to give his consent to the marriage.
If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall give the marriage present for her, and make her his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equivalent to the marriage present for virgins. (Exodus 22:16, 17)
There are two other verses that also speak of a bridal payment, in conjunction with receiving a father's approval for marriage.
Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage. (Genesis 34:12)
Saul then said, "Thus you shall say to David, ‘The king does not desire any dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king's enemies.'" 1 Samuel 18:25
This wedding coordinator perhaps was passing on what she herself had been told. Of course, even if one found an "example" of a father blessing a groom, Scripture does not outline a divinely revealed procedure for marriage ceremonies, so one would have to find a very explicit "commandment" to this effect to make such a thing mandatory.
United in the Faith,
Catholics United for the Faith
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