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Etiquette For Wedding Invitation - What to Do When the Bride's Parents Are Divorced

Jun 30, 2008
It all depends on how birth parents and stepparents get along with each other. If everyone involved is friendly with one another than no special arrangements need to made and the bride and groom can plan the wedding however they want. However, this is rarely the case. If there is some problem with birth parents and stepparents, this article will outline some guidelines that can assist the stepmother in following correct wedding etiquette.

Begin by thinking of the wedding invitations for divorced parents. Traditionally, the parents of the bride will host the wedding ceremony and they will be first on the wedding invitation. It is proper etiquette to have the mother and father on separate lines on the invitation if they are both contributing money to the wedding. If stepparents are also contributing money to the wedding, they can be included on the invitation as well.

The next thing to consider is your seating plan. What is the correct etiquette for parents who are divorced? The bride decides this but usually the mother should be seated up front. If the mother and father get along, they can sit on the same row together. If they do not get along, the father can sit on the row behind his former wife. Typically, the stepparents sit in back of birth parents. Of course it is awkward to have ex-spouses sitting on the same row together but the day is not about who is the current wife of the biological father, it is about the bride's special day.

Family photos can be an etiquette problem as well. The majority of photographers will shoot different photos for birth parents and stepparents. The two sets of parents will not usually be in the same photo but if this does happen, the mother and stepmother should be put on opposite ends of the photograph. It is not strange for the stepparents to not be seen in the official wedding photographs at all. Therefore, do not be personally offended if this occurs because it does fall within correct etiquette for parents who are divorced.

At the wedding reception, etiquette dictates that stepparents take a back seat to divorced parents, that is unless they are co-hosting the reception with the birth parents. If the mother hosts the wedding and the father hosts the reception, it is acceptable if the stepmother takes a place in the receiving line and the mother is not there. However is the birth mother is hosting the reception, it is best that the stepmother not attend. Obviously these petty points on wedding etiquette for divorced parents is only a guideline and can and should be adjusted by the bride's needs and wants.

Lastly you have the family dance. What does wedding etiquette say about divorced parents and the family dance at the reception? The stepmother is again asked to bow out and allow the bride to enjoy her day with her birth parents. The father of the bride will dance with his daughter and the mother of the groom will dance with her son. If the reception provides for a family dance then the stepparents can dance with their mates.

These wedding etiquette tips will hopefully provide the bride's divorced parents with assistance in planning and dealing with their daughter's wedding without hurtful and embarrassing mistakes.
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