Stepparent wedding etiquette guides them on how to behave and conduct themselves at the weddings of their stepchildren. According to St. Louis Healthy Families, a non-profit agency serving the St. Louis Community, nearly 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. are a remarriage for at least one partner. Proper behavior by stepparents at weddings ensures that the bride and groom will not have to grapple with family conflict on their special day.
Wedding etiquette usually requires stepparents to take a back seat in wedding ceremonies in favor of the biological parents. For instance, although the bride usually chooses where the stepparents sit at the wedding, stepparents should ideally sit next to or behind the biological parents. Moreover, the stepmother should dress like other mothers in the ceremony and not in a manner that overshadows the attire of the biological mother.
Stepparents participate in the wedding ceremony, although proper wedding etiquette demands that they do not dictate wedding decisions. In special arrangements, common wedding etiquette allows both the biological father and the stepfather to hand over the bride to the groom by walking her down the aisle. Stepparents also participate in the photo session. Couples will take two sets of pictures that feature both the stepparents and biological parents.
Stepparents' roles during wedding planning include tying up last-minute details in the planning of the wedding, running errands for the couple or wedding attendants and lending moral support for the couple. Notable roles for stepparents who are close to the couple include contributing to candle lighting during the ceremony, making a toast and having the first dance at the reception.
Stepparents must be civil and respectful to the biological parents and the guests to avoid any potential upsets that can cause embarrassments. If the bride prefers her stepfather to walk her down the aisle rather than her biological father, proper wedding etiquette calls for the stepparents to inform the biological parents about the arrangement before the wedding day.
Stepparent wedding etiquette requires stepparents to consider and show regard to the biological parents and current family dynamics. Mutual respect and cooperation ensures both sets of parents are civil to each other and that they play their part in making the wedding a joyous occasion.
- St. Louis Healthy Families: A Fact Sheet on Stepfamilies in the United States
- The Buffalo News: Wedding Etiquette for Step-Parents
- Frugal Bride: Divorced Parent Syndrome
- Marriage & Wedding Planning Guide: Getting Married With Stepparents Involved
- Your Wedding 101: Wedding Etiquette for the Divorced, Mixed and Blended Family