Stepmother Wedding Etiquette

Stepmother wedding etiquette is particularly tricky, especially when the child has a close relationship with both the mother and the stepmother by remarriage. Divorced and remarried parents can make wedding arrangements a little less traditional, as the bride and groom must carefully consider everything from invitation wording to seating at the ceremony. With some clear communication and attention to feelings, a stepmother can have a proper place in the wedding events without upstaging the mother.

While the stepmother's role as the wife of the bride or groom's father should be respected, there are definitely some areas of the wedding where the role of the biological mother and father simply must take priority over a stepmother's wishes. Stepmother wedding etiquette suggests that she be gracious and understanding, knowing that this special day is about making the bride and groom happy, not spotlighting inter-family tensions.

Most of the stepmother/mother issues arise when it comes to seating, whether at the church or at the reception. At the wedding ceremony itself, there are several options. Some people choose to have their father and mother sit together in the first row, while any stepparents sit in the second row. Other people choose to have the people they lived with after the divorce to sit in the front, with the others in the second row. As long as the bride and groom communicate their wishes clearly to parents and stepparents, there should be no tension.

Reception etiquette can also cause confusion for parents who are remarried. If the father and stepmother are hosting the reception, it is proper for the stepmother to take her place in the receiving line next to her husband. If the mother and father are both hosting, the stepmother must be content with taking a back seat and not standing in the receiving line.

From the wedding shower to wedding photos, a stepmother should follow the cues from the bride and groom. In an ideal situation, both sets of parents will humbly concede to the wishes of the bride and groom. However, when something arises and the parties seem to be at an impasse, the stepmother should be the one to concede. When it comes to the wishes of a stepchild, the stepmother must be prepared to bow out of the spotlight for wedding activities. No matter how close she is to the stepchild getting married, the day does belong to the mother, father and their child; to preserve harmonious family relations, a stepmother will create more good feelings by being gracious and accommodating at every turn.

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