Wedding Etiquette / Wedding Tips & Advice

Being The Stepmother

Those who work in the wedding industry too often witness the manipulation of the bride and groom in order to alienate or intimidate a stepparent. It’s a regular feature.

Movies all the way from Snow White to the more recent animation film Happily N’ever After, would have us believe that all stepmothers are wicked, evil and ugly. Fairy tales are rife with them.

But actually very few of them are – it’s just so ’80s, to believe that stepparents are the enemy.

No matter how smooth the relationship with a step family, however, weddings can bring out the worst in everyone. Stepmothers are far more commonplace at modern weddings, and some can get a rather raw deal.

Whilst the idea of etiquette smacks of overly traditional weddings and pushy families adhering to a set of rules that are rather outdated, there is something to be said for knowing what is expected of you on the day.

On being the stepmother:

  • Bear in mind that being a stepchild is often as tough a journey as being a stepparent
  • Principally you are a guest at your stepchild’s wedding, as difficult as this may be to accept
  • The bride’s mother will more than likely be very involved in helping the bride decide on her wedding dress; and her mother will give the fashion cue as to ‘acceptable’ attire for the rest of the wedding party
  • In other words, you’re often encouraged to take a back seat (steal the bride and mother of the bride’s thunder and you could find yourself party to an icy shoulder or two for a while)
  • It is quite probable that the invitations will include the bride’s mother and father’s name; yours won’t feature
  • And even if you are close to your stepdaughter, chances are that she will lean on her mother during this period, which is no reflection on you, or your relationship
  • You will probably have to wait until the rehearsal, and perhaps even the day itself, to find out where you will be seated during the ceremony
  • At the reception, if there is a receiving line (and many weddings forego these) you probably will not be in it, which doesn’t mean that you should wilt in a corner; use the time to circulate and mingle, see yourself as a hostess whilst the rest of the family is busy

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