Family issues can be a stressful part of wedding planning, but wedding etiquette helps brides and grooms navigate otherwise difficult family situations. Part of wedding day etiquette is making sure step-parents and step-grandparents are acknowledged appropriately. With sensitivity, you can make sure that everyone, even your step-grandmother, feels special on your special day.
Wedding etiquette is evolving all the time to accommodate ever-changing family units. Through divorce, separations, death and other unique situations, families grow to include step-relatives. A step-grandmother may come into a family when a grandfather remarries, or when a parent remarries, bringing a new set of relatives into the relationship. A step-grandmother's involvement in a wedding will depend partly on the couple's relationship with her.
While there are no set rules to follow for a step-grandmother in a wedding, the basic rules concerning grandparents apply. In traditional weddings, grandparents play only a small role. You generally don’t need to include a step-grandmother's name in the wedding program, as grandparents are rarely listed. However, it is polite and perfectly acceptable to buy her a corsage and to include her in the wedding processional, as you would for other grandmothers. During the ceremony and reception, the step-grandmother should sit with her spouse. Seat a parental grandmother and a step-grandmother in separate rows or at different tables to avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable.
At a wedding, grandparents represent family history, being among the eldest living relatives. That significance is noted by including them in the wedding processional. While processionals vary by denomination, it's common for the ushers to escort grandparents to and from their seats. According to BridesClub.com, the grandmothers of the bride are seated first and then the grandmothers of the groom. If there is a step-grandmother on either side, she is seated after the parental grandmother.
Etiquette also guides a step-grandmother's behavior at your wedding. Her role is to accompany her husband to your wedding, or to support her child who married into your family. Like all wedding guests, she should be respectful of you and your blood relatives.
It's up to the couple to make the wedding etiquette decisions to ensure that everyone--including a step-grandmother--feels comfortable on the wedding day. Additionally, the wedding day provides an opportunity to open the door to a new relationship. If you have never been close to your step-grandmother, including her in the event in some small way may be the first step on the path to a closer relationship.