Step-son is getting married…what is the proper etiquette for the step-mom?

July 2nd, 2011

I am going nuts about this up coming wedding. My step-son is getting married and his future wife’s parents are planning everything and basically paying for everything too. I am married to my step-son’s Dad, however, my step-son’s mom did not remarry. What is the proper wedding etiquette with respect to sitting in the Church and especially at the reception. I have mentioned to my husband that I best be sitting at the front table at the reception with you and your ex-wife or else all hell is going to break loose. My husband said that its not up to me, and said like hell its not, its called sticking up for your wife! In my opinion, as a step-mom, I should not be discriminated against or have to take two-steps back and let my husband sit and hang around his ex-wife all day while I am left in the dark. I am a part of this family now and should be treated fairly. Responses??

13 Responses to “Step-son is getting married…what is the proper etiquette for the step-mom?”

  1. seamstress says:

    I agree, you should be sitting next to your husband, regardless of who is paying for the wedding. Pull those claws in as being catty with the ex looks horrible on you.

  2. Marysia says:

    you wrote: best be sitting at the front table at the reception with you and your ex-wife or else all hell is going to break loose — how old are you?!?!? are you kidding?!!? you are Not the mother and have no real place – unless you have been with the dad a long time (and not as his mistress while married to the kids ma), had a hand in raising the son and are friends with him now that he is an adult.

    THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU…. it is about the bride and groom.
    my gosh….. your words discriminated against or have to take two-steps back – really make me think even ore that you started dating him when he was still married for your show amazing immaturity and insecurity.

  3. EdgarAllanHoe says:

    When all hell is breaking loose, make sure to sport that top. That is all.

  4. Nox says:

    You are being petty and jealous. It is no your place to decide where you sit. And the parents NEVER sit at a head table. That is reserved for the bridal party only. Parents are usually sat with their respective families. So most likely you’ll be sitting with your husband, his siblings and parents as well as his ex wife.

    YOU do NOT choose where your step-son seats you. You’re over reacting and being immature. You’re not being “discriminated against” however, I do see you being the typical “evil step mother” if you are trying to run your step-son’s wedding. It is NOT yours, you had your day. It’s time to grow the heck up.

  5. MagnusMoss says:

    You sound like a mother-in-law-zilla.

    Wedding ceremonies are built around the (naive) assumption that people stay married to one person forever. This can be awkward.

    What do you think will happen if your husband hangs with his EX-wife all day? She’s his EX for a reason…and they will be chaperoned by hundreds of people. Let it go.

    So, did your step-son live with you much of the time when he was a minor? If yes, sit at the main table. If not, let the bride-to-be make the decision.

  6. kateg says:

    You have to be second-string to the mother and father. You have no actual privileges as a stepmother of the groom. Etiquette dictates that you step back for the actual parents. And, bottom line, it is up to the bride how she wants to handle things. Your best bet is to be gracious and considerate and wait in the sidewings to see how things play out and not force your hand. This is not about you, it is about the child of two people who were formerly married.

    I completely understand how you feel – I had both a stepmother and stepfather at my wedding, I just decided to let them all have privileges, it seemed the right thing to do. They sat together in the church front row, and I had only the bridal party at the head table, both sets of parents were seated at tables near each other but not together. Depending on the relationship you have with the bride, you might want to find a way to talk with her and tell her what your feelings are, but it is her choice how to handle it, and may I also suggest that because this is a volatile situation that you find it in your heart to be gracious. This isn’t about you, and it’s not as if you are getting an audience with the queen. Don’t let your ego get the better of you or you can create a lot of ill will. Unless you have raised this young man and have served as a parent, you really should step back.

  7. FAKP says:

    Out of respect for the bride, groom, and the brides family paying for the wedding, where you sit is NOT up to you. You are the step-mom, not the mother of the groom. You have a different role in the grooms life. Your husband will more then likely hang out with you after the important things are taken care of ie: pictures, mother/son dance etc. Your role is to SUPPORT the groom, not shove your way into a place that is occupied by the grooms mother. Be respectful, and everything will be cool. Good luck.

  8. Karen C says:

    The proper etiquette for any step parent is to recognize the fact that only the birth parents of a child can claim the honor or title of MOG AND FOG and be seated at the head table. If one of the birth parents is deceased and was raised by the spouse of the child marrying, this honor MAY be bestowed on the step-parent.

    Contrary to popular belief, it is up to the ‘hosts’ of any reception to decide the seating arrangements. As the Bride’s parents are footing the entire bill for this ‘celebration of their daughter’s marriage’, it is actually their right to decide who sits where, however most parents defer to the choices of the B&G.

    Also, it is proper etiquette to seat the partners of the bridal party at the same table, close to the Head Table, as these guests are all in the same boat.

    I admire your husband as he is sticking up for someone …. a child he brought into this world … more important that anyone else, including you. How you handle this will show your upbringing ….

    It’s only a couple of hours …. be gracious and behave yourself.

  9. Paula12481632 says:

    Why must there be a single “front table”? Divorced parents should be sat at separate tables, with their respective partners, each basically equally close to the bride and groom’s table.

    Yes it is the bride and groom’s choice where people sit, but if they have any respect for the feelings of their parents they will not force them to sit together. What sort of messed up etiquette is it to force a remarried person to sit with their ex and away from their spouse?

    Your husband is wrong and you are right. He should raise this with your son, and ask that he be at a different table from his ex.

    This is what was done with my divorced parents when my sister married and when my brother married.

  10. Margot says:

    What is going on with you that you are looking for validation of your role in the family based on a wedding. You are the one who is going nuts over it, threatening to create a scene, having an argument with your husband over it, being put out about being discriminated against for an event that hasn’t even happened. Are you either very young or did your husband leave his wife to marry you for you to have such insecurity issues?

    Is this the sword on which you want to die on in regards to your marriage.

    If you read books on blended families, it takes up to 7 years for the new family members to be fully integrated into the family. Since you said “I am part of this family now” indicates that you are recently married. You need to have patience and assume that the bride’s parents are gracious enough not to have Wife #2 sitting at a separate table from her husband. Be gracious. Having all hell break loose at your step-son’s wedding will only ensure that you will always be treated like an unwanted outsider.

  11. ♥♪arrowthreebabyy says:

    I don’t agree with most of the other answers, I think you should definitely be sitting at the table with them! You should be seated next to your husband, and of course your step son’s mother is gonna be seated there but you’re a figure in his life now too and she doesn’t have the right to decide that you should sit somewhere else – at all.
    I think you should talk to your husband about it and explain how you feel to him, and not just ask where you’re going to be seated. Even though the day should be about the bride and groom, you shouldn’t be forced to have a sucky day, because it seems like this means a lot to you too.

    Hope I’ve helped some, good luck <3

  12. Kelly says:

    Pull the claws back in sister, its unbecoming. The wedding isn’t about you.

    There really isn’t any. You just sit and look pretty like any other guest.

    Your husband is right to an extent, he can make his wishes be known but in the end, he is not making the seating chart.

    For a bride or groom with divorced parents, in most cases, if you can be civil or cordial with each other you can sit together during the ceremony and the reception.

    If you can’t play nice. Generally the parent who they primarily lived with growing up gets first dibs on the front row at the church. The other parent gets the 2nd row. For the reception, its not uncommon for divorced parents to each have their own table. Usually, you would be seated with your husband at both.

    I can tell based on your information this is probably not a friendly terms divorce there seems to be some animosity and some bitterness. You need to put the animosity and bitterness aside (you and mom) on this day to make it a good day for your step-son. He doesn’t deserve the two of you bickering over petty things to ruin it for him.

    As a step-parent there are certain occasions in a step-child’s life that you will be taking the backseat. I don’t have children but my fiance has 2 daughter’s, so soon I will be taking on 2 step-daughters. I absolutely adore them as much as I do their daddy, and I love them as my own. However, I also realize I’m not their mother, and there will be certain times in their life where I need to step aside because of that, I respect that she is their mom. Different than your situation though my fiance and his ex-wife get along and I get along with her too they have a amicable, friendly divorce. They set aside their differences with each other for their kids and I admire that about them both. Their mother is already remarried and all 4 of us can sit together at events for the kids, with no problems. If for some reason my fiance couldn’t make something for the kids (he goes to everythig) I could go and sit next to their mom with no issues.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t be treated as family because you should (I am) but you need to realize there are limits.

  13. Liz says:

    Get over yourself. This wedding is not about you. The bride’s parents are paying for it, therefore they are the hosts, therefore they make the seating plan. If you think it’s a good idea to make your husband start a fight with his son’s soon-to-be parents-in-law over an entitlement-minded princess like yourself, you are deluded. This has nothing to do with sticking up for his wife. The parents of the groom are him and his ex-wife, and if he sits with her for a couple of hours at this wedding, you need to be gracious and stop acting like a brat.

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