Step Parent Etiquette?
Is there any set etiquette on step parents / divorced parents related to weddings?

My FH parents are divorced and both remarried. He is very close to both of his biological parents but also very close to his stepmom (he gets along with his stepdad but they don't have the father-son type of relationship)

How should the two sets of parents (they don't get along) be seated at the ceremony?

Is it ok to have three parent tables at the reception? (One for mine, two for his)

FH isn't sure if he wants to do two mother-son dances, but he would like to honor his stepmom in some way, are there any other ways of doing this?

If he does decide on doing a mother-son dance with his step-mom does anyone have any song suggestions?

Also, do the step parents typically wear what the parents wear? I would thinks so, but other have said they shouldn't.

Married: 08/25/2012
Posted On: Oct 3, 2011 at 6:59 PM • Vendors are allowed • Add to My WatchlistFlag As Inappropriate1 like

14 Comments | Login or Signup to post a comment!

Married: 07/31/2010
Reviews: 5
Oct 03, 2011 at 7:25 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I think it's very nice of your FH to want to recognize and honor his stepmother. I'm sure whatever he does will be greatly appreciated!

Strict etiquette states the parents of the groom should be seated together. Obviously, that doesn't always work in today's society, and if this absolutely cannot be accomplished, seating one parent behind the other is okay. Bio mom/stepdad in one row, bio dad/stepmom in the row behind, or vice versa. Unless the bio parents can be seated at opposite ends of the same row?

It is definetely okay to have 3 parent tables at the reception. (It sounds necessary!)

Not sure about a substitutution for the dance.

Married: 07/28/2012
Reviews: 5
Oct 03, 2011 at 7:46 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Ok so I checked my wedding etiquette book and it says that the custodial parent (usually the mom) and their spouse sit in the front pew and the other parent and spouse sit in the 3rd pew behind the grandparents.

Sorry I couldn't find anything about how they should sit at the reception but it did talk about the receiving line. Let me know if you are interested in that if you are having one.

Married: 08/25/2012
Oct 03, 2011 at 7:53 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Thanks Michele, figuring our how to appropriately handle each set of parents has been the hardest part of planning! I always have to stop and thing about who's name should go first, who should sit where, who to invite to special wedding things, ugh it's frustrating!

Ester-Thank you! We are planning on having a receiving line, but i hadn't put THAT much thought into it yet. Definitely interested in what your etiquette book says on that :)

Married: 07/28/2012
Reviews: 5
Oct 03, 2011 at 8:51 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
After reading it again, it actually talks about the brides divorced parents/step parents but it doesn't mention FH divorced parents. But for the brides divorced parents it says they can both be in the receiving line just not standing next to each other so you could do the same with FH's parents.

You could have your parents, FH mom and stepdad, bride, groom, FH dad and stepmom then the MH.

Married: 04/21/2012
Reviews: 14
Oct 03, 2011 at 9:22 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Hi Elizabeth. My mother and father are no longer together. He is remarried. I have no problems with her at all. My mom either, but she is not a fan of my father. He will walk me down the aisle, but will sit on the second row and not the first with my mother. There will be three parent tables at the reception. One for my FH's parents. Two for my parents. Mom will be at one table with close aunts and relatives. Dad will be at another with my step-mother and additional relatives on his side. FH and I talked about a receiving line but thought it may be too much (time that is), so we are going to do the table to table visit. That way, we've eliminated the awkwardness of having them to stand next to each other. Hope that helps.

Married: 08/12/2012
Reviews: 5
Oct 04, 2011 at 12:10 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
Both my parents are remarried and don't always get along and my FH parents are divorced as well and HATE each other. So I just threw the seating chart out the window. Makes is super simple. I feel for you FH , I have been fighting emotionally on the father daughter dance... Who do you dance with first since they are both my dads. I say he dances with both and a song that may work is Ain't no moutain high enough.... It's the main song for the movie step mom. I feel it would be pretty fitting if he is pretty close to her. It's my song for my step mom :) if you haven't seen the movie yet rent it and make sure you have tissues. It's a tear jerker :) I hope this helps.
Edited On: Oct 04, 2011 at 12:11 AM

Married: 2+ years ago
Oct 04, 2011 at 12:19 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
I am kinda in the same boat my FH parents are divorced and both remarried. FH gets along with all of them, but it seems like he dont want his stepmom to have nothing to do with the wedding. Which upsets me.

Married: 05/19/2012
Oct 04, 2011 at 12:38 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
I totally understand your fustration. I think 3 parent tables would be fine. My parents are divorced and do not get along and my FH parents also are divorced and do not get along. I'm planning on two "Parent" tables one for our mothers and their current husbands and another table for our fathers and their current wives. It seemed to work best this way. I'm also seating them up front, near us but at opposite sides with a table or two in between as a buffer, with siblings and other close family. I also will be warning my parents and he will be warning his that this is our day and that any drama or fighting wont be tolerated and they will be asked to leave. I hate to do and say this but my experience dictates setting boundaries or they feel its okay to say whatever they want and start fighting.

We also are doing the same type of thing for the actual ceremony.Were will have the "Mother" side and the "Father" side. I know your situation is a little different, but I hope this helps.

Married: 08/20/2011
Reviews: 3
Oct 04, 2011 at 2:04 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
I think it depends on alot of factors. If they parents seperated and both remarried when the child was little- it's different. If the parents remarried when the child was an adult, then that step-parent isn't exactly deeply involved in the child's life.

Honestly- if he does a mother-son dance, I think he should reserve it for his mother. He should certainly dance with his step-mother, but I wouldn't make it a big public event. I think that would take away from his mother.

He can honor her with simple things- a corsage, like the other mothers are wearing. Mention both sets of names on the invitation (if they are paying/hosting).

I would seat them at the same table- but if they don't get along, that could not be pretty. But I'd start now- telling them that this event is about their child- and you won't tolerate petty arguing, etc. Do they have siblings (FH's aunts/uncles) that will attend? If so, problem solved. Create a table for each of those families...

2d Bride
Married: 10/06/2009
Reviews: 12
Oct 04, 2011 at 3:46 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
I don't think there is any fixed etiquette for these situations--you just have to do what works for you. When my son got married, my ex-husband and I escorted him down the aisle, and my ex-husband, my wife, and I were all at the same table at the reception. However, it sounds like in your case, that would be a recipe for disaster!

My suggestion would be that at the ceremony, mother goes in the front row, father and stepmother go in the second row. At the reception, have mother seated at a separate table from father and stepmother. If you're doing corsages, you could do one for the mother and one for the stepmother. However, unless the stepmother has been around long enough--and the father had custody of your FH enough of the time--that he thinks of her as an equal mother, I wouldn't go farther than that. If you start having stepmother-son dances and the like, you're likely going to anger his own mother without really adding anything for the stepmother.

Married: 08/18/2012
Reviews: 5
Oct 04, 2011 at 9:17 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
My sister got married in august. Our parents our divorced and so are his. She did 4 different parent tables. However the parents and their significant other both sat in the same row at the ceremony. They put their differences beside them for the ceremony and got alone. I am going to be in the same situation at my wedding. Going to have 4 parents tables, but i dont see it being a problem when they are seated with their other close family members.

Married: 06/25/2011
Reviews: 5
Oct 04, 2011 at 9:20 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
Jeff has a mom and a stepmom. We actually asked his stepmom if she wanted a special dance and how she would like us to handle things. So she did want a dance with her and Jeff but she felt no reason to make it just about them so the dance floor was open to everyone else but Jeff made a show of going up to their table and asking her to dance and he chose a song that was fitting for them.

His Dad and stepmom sat at a separate table with his stepmom's family and his mom and her boyfriend sat at a separate table.

As for the ceremony, I have seen it where the Mother sits in the first row and the father and stepmother sit in the second row.

Don't overthink it. It will be fine.

Married: 2+ years ago
Oct 06, 2011 at 10:59 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
As such I don’t think so there are any etiquette or rules for step parent. But It would be sensible if they sit separately in the wedding, specially if both ( Bio parent) don’t get along. You can make arrangement for 3 tables for them. And as far as dance is concerned, I would suggest you to take his bio mom’s opinion also. No doubt he is close with his step mom also but might possible that he can hurt his bio mom by giving the same treatment to his step mom. Here are few songs I really like for the mother-son dance..
I'll Always Be Your Mother - not sure who sings it
A Song for Mama - Boyz II Men
Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston
You're the Inspiration - Chicago
Mama - Il Divo
You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban
I Am Your Child - Barry Manilow
The Perfect Fan - Backstreet Boys

And for dress up, all I can say is that let them decide what they want to wear.......But if you want them to wear some particular color or dress, all you can do is, ask your FI to suggest them what to wear......

Married: 11/11/2011
Reviews: 2
Oct 26, 2011 at 11:58 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
I definitely think you have to consider when the person became the step-parent and how involved they are in the life of the child. I will be a step-parent (hate that phrase) to my FH's son who is 16 whose life I have been in since he was 10 (my FH has full custody of his son). He rarely see's his mother if at all. Therefore I would think it silly for me and his father to sit behind a woman that was never there or silly to not be able to dance with the son I have raised as my own while a woman who knows little about him gets to. Sometimes etiquette rules don't take ever scenario into consideration, so you have to do what makes you and your family happy. I think he should talk frankly with his step-mother about it. I understand that it's "your day" and you guys will do what you want but please remember there are going to be days in the future after "your day" and you don't want any feelings to be hurt.
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