Your wedding day should be all about the bride and groom, but when family dynamics are complicated, a new layer of pressure can be added. Working with large and small families over the years has taught me a few things about making everyone feel included so all runs smoothly.
Here are several ways of including step-parents in your wedding and hopefully avoid hurt feelings.
Shopping and Planning
While you don’t have to invite your step-mom for every shopping trip, try to choose a few planning appointments when you can include her. Maybe you want your mom to shop for the dress with you, but you’ll have your step-mom at the cake tasting.
Allow your mom to accompany you to the florist, and your step-mom to the photographer’s studio. Keep communication open so no one feels left out.
Also, when you send the invitations, it’s perfectly okay to include all parents, step and biological, on them. This situation is extremely common and two extra lines of text can preserve relationships.
Be sure you buy flowers for all of your parents. A small thing like a corsage can mean a lot on a big day. Boutonnieres for the gents identify family members as special and part of the family. Consider a petite nosegay for step-mothers, half-sisters and step-sisters.
Before the wedding, talk to the photographer and detail your family history. You won’t be the first bride with a complicated family, and write down the ideas that you have that will help smooth out any tensions. Be as inclusive as possible in planning the photos.
While roles like giving the bride away typically go the biological parent, find another way your step-parent can contribute. Perhaps they can do a special reading of a poem or scripture. Maybe they can have time for a special dance and a toast.
Let Them Pay for Something (If They Offer)
A lot of times a step-parent wants to contribute and offering to cover some facet of the wedding is a way for them to contribute. Don’t solicit financial support, but if they insist on helping, allow them to do so. They will feel a sense of ownership for a small portion of the event.
Use the Rehearsal Dinner for Last Minute Finessing
Let’s face it, you may have done all you could to bring your family together. But sometimes folks just won’t get along. Use the rehearsal dinner to finalize your stance that you expect everyone to play nicely. Thank everyone in advance, however decide on consequences and explain them so all are aware they will be asked to leave if there is confrontation.
You will be able to tell at the rehearsal dinner if there will be drama, so with patience and sweetness, make your final bid for peace.
Communication is Key
Above all, be kind and communicate well with all parents in the days up to your wedding. Beforehand talk with all the parents involved, implore them to treat one another kindly and respectfully. Tell them that you love them all and want your wedding day to be amazing, surrounded by all the people who love you.