Robert DeNiro in The Big Wedding

Wedding etiquette
with stepparents

A wedding should be about the bride and her groom. But somehow it's never that simple — especially when stepparents are involved. Without taking the focus away from you and your happiness, make sure all your parents feel special during your nuptials.

Give them a part

Depending on how close you are with the stepparent, give them a role in the wedding. For example, if you are super-close with your stepfather, ask him to join your father in walking you down the aisle or tack on an additional father-daughter dance to the agenda. Be sure to speak with your biological father about this in advance so he's not shocked or feeling upstaged at the wedding.

Well before the big day, ask each parent and stepparent if they would like to take part in the wedding by doing a reading during the ceremony, making a speech or otherwise participating in the nuptials.

Invite them to other wedding festivities

My own husband was raised by his father and stepmother from the time he was very young. His biological mother is not in his life on a regular basis, but she attended our wedding. We invited her to some of the more relaxed family pre-wedding events, as well as the rehearsal dinner, so she could feel included in the special festivities. However, come wedding night, my husband shared his mother-son dance with the woman who raised him — his stepmother.

Catch a flick

Bring your biological parents and stepparents together to catch a wedding movie like the upcoming The Big Wedding, which hits theaters on April 26. This hilarious and heartwarming movie will have all parties looking at the family dynamic in a new way and will hopefully allow them to set aside any differences for the time being and redirect the focus to the happy couple about to tie the knot!

Set up special sweetheart tables

If you fear seating your parents and stepparents together at one main table will cause drama, consider splitting them between two "main" tables where you can include other special people, like grandparents, siblings and special friends. Opt for a sweetheart table for yourself and your new husband so none of the parents or stepparents feel as if they didn’t get prime seating with the couple of honor.

Talk it out

If you have specific concerns about including your stepparents in your nuptials, have an open dialogue with the people involved. While a straightforward conversation may seem daunting, putting all your cards on the table and being upfront and honest is better than moving forward with plans that may make stepparents feel not only awkward but totally caught off guard as well.

More on weddings and etiquette

Wedding etiquette no-nos
5 Must-dos as you prep for your wedding day
How to avoid a wedding day disaster

Photo credit: The Big Wedding

Tags: wedding etiquette

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