Step Mom or Dad At Your Wedding 101

Ideas and Etiquette

If your dad and your step dad are two of the most important men in your life, double up and give them both the honor of walking you down the aisle.
Brad Howe Photography

The how-tos for including your stepparents in your wedding.

Sure, you’re marrying “’til death do you part,” but, alas, not all your relatives may end up abiding by this vow. Unfortunately, weddings can really ratchet up any tension between exes and their new spouses. If the divorced couples in question are your parents, well then, this is an area of wedding etiquette to tread lightly.

The good news? Stepparents who have helped raise you or your fiancé since you were young are often easier to include than those who entered the equation much later. Still, as long as you are respectful of all parties involved, you can navigate this emotional minefield successfully. We’ve isolated seven wedding-related duties that can be touchy—and give you a guide to sidestepping conflicts over your Steps.


Back in the day, stepparents were never included in wedding invitations. Today, those rules have loosened up as divorce has become more common. So, if you’re close to your Step or he or she is helping to pay for your wedding, it is expected that you include his or her name on the invitation. If your mom has remarried and now goes by her new last name, use that one on the invite even if it is different than yours.

An alternative that easily sidesteps all this: “The bride and groom, together with their parents, invite….”


This issue is for the ladies. Since the mothers of the bride and groom are expected to dress to stand out at the wedding, it is up to the step moms to dress slightly more subdued in this situation. Want your step mom to still feel special on your Big Day? Arrange for your floral designer to make her a special corsage to demonstrate her stature at your wedding.


Remember that the key to preventing everyone’s feathers from getting ruffled starts with how you approach explaining all the details regarding your parents’ new spouses. One easy way to acknowledge your Steps--as well as explain the situation to all of your guests briefly and succinctly--is to mention everyone up front in your wedding program.

A line at the bottom like, “We want to thank our parents [names] and their spouses [names] for all their support and generosity over the years…” will go a long way in making everyone feel included.

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