Best Fatherly Advice For Your Daughter on Her Wedding Day

Pittsburgh dads share their insight for couples preparing to tie the knot.



When Daddy’s Little Girl becomes a Bride-to-Be, many fathers channel their inner protective tendencies and become the Father of the Bride, a sometimes formidable figure who is part storyteller, part Dear Abby and part wedding planner. They want nothing more for their daughters to lead long and happy lives with someone who loves them as much as they do, because, as Euripides says, “to a father growing old, nothing is dearer than a daughter.”

Before walking down the aisle, these fathers and brides sat down and discussed the ins and outs of married life. Straight from the fathers themselves, here’s their best advice to future couples.

 Photo by Laurel Mountain Photography


Enjoy the Day
“I told Emily and Michael that this was their day,” says Marty Mallit, Emily’s father. “When planning the wedding, make sure you’re doing it the way you want. That day is about the both of you. All the work and planning that goes into the [wedding] wouldn't mean as much if you didn't make sure you enjoyed [the day.]”

Mallit also says it’s important to be best friends as well as partners in life, because, “There’s nothing you wouldn’t do for your best friend.”

“That’s my dad — always prepared and always thinking about me,” Emily says. She also says one of the most memorable pieces of advice her father gave her was not to sweat the small stuff. “Whether at the wedding or in life, not losing focus of all the great things going on has helped in so many situations,” she says.

photo by Libby Hilf Photography


Better Together
Alyssa Bania says her father leads by example rather than giving advice, but that taught her how to have a solid relationship. “He and my mom are an excellent team,” she says. “They were always on the same page when it came to raising us as kids; we never saw them fight or be angry with one another, and they always promoted good communication.”

And with that example, Alyssa learned that she and her husband should work in tandem, not independently, in their relationship.

“[My parents’] main goal is to make sure that they succeed together as a team,” she says. “Of anything they have taught me, I think that this is the most important lesson and one that I try to mimic in my own relationship. [My husband and I] will always face new and different struggles as we move through our relationship, but we are stronger as a team than as an individual.”

 photos by Nicole Cassano Photography


Father(s) of the Bride
For Alexandra Johnston, the one thing she knew for certain when planning her wedding to Brandon Mikulis was that both her father, Jim Johnston, and stepfather, Sam Bennett, had to walk her down the aisle.

“I was never a person that dreamed about my wedding day or knew the exact dress or the exact colors or the exact scenery, but the only thing that I would tell people that I knew for certain is that both of my dads had to walk me down the aisle,” she says.


Jim Johnston, Alexandra’s biological father, divorced from Alexandra’s mother when she was 3. Her mother married her stepfather, Sam Bennett, when she was 6. “[My stepfather] was a part of my life for about as long as I can remember. He played a huge role in raising me, along with my father, and my parents all actually have a great relationship, so everyone was kind of a big team in raising me” she says.

Bennett, who was divorced before marrying Alexandra’s mother, says the one piece of advice he would pass on is to know who you’re marrying.

“Make sure you realize it’s not always a bed of roses,” he says. “It‘s much more difficult than people think it is. And just don’t give up. You can’t change people; you have to accept them for who they are.”

Jim Johnston agrees: “Marriage is a journey that evolves as time continues. What you have now will be different as the years pass. Patience, understanding, empathy, compassion, and accepting the fact that neither partner is perfect will help [with this.]”

Another piece of advice Johnston has is to learn how to apologize. “Don’t be afraid to swallow you pride,” he says. “Realize you have faults and apologize sincerely when you need to. Even if you feel you are not wrong, apologies help couples move on.”

Photos by Alison Mish Photography


“Love is Number One”
As the owner of Barton’s Flower and Bake Shop, Jan Barton expected one day to be involved in his children’s weddings.

“I always dreamed of those days, doing my own kid’s flowers,” he says. “My four kids all were in high school together, so there was a period of time when we were doing all of their prom flowers and their Christmas dance flowers, and I always anticipated doing their bridal bouquets, so it was very fulfilling to do Corrine’s bridal bouquet.”


For Barton, communication is extremely important, especially when planning the wedding. “I know many times, the brides and grooms both come in to the wedding consultation, and there’s miscommunication and sometimes the one partner is intense about one area — and this is just talking about wedding flowers and cakes.”

And, like the advice from many of the other fathers, Barton stresses that it takes work to make a successful marriage. However, it’s love that makes the work easy.

“No one goes to the altar and gets married with the anticipation of failing at it. It’s work. It really all is work. Love is number one; it’s the foundation your marriage is built on.”


Categories: Beyond the Cookie Table