Relationships are a big deal, especially when you are helping with a wedding. Today there are so many different relationships with a bride or groom. You could be the mother or father of the groom, a bridesmaid, friend or family member. There are also many blended families and those people may be helping with the wedding, too.  What is the proper etiquette for each of you?

First off today is a new day and there are no set rules on who is or is not involved in wedding planning. Many of the brides and grooms are older now- so plan and pay for the entire wedding by themselves. Then there are the more traditional wedding where the parents of the bride and groom help plan and pay for the wedding. Of course there is everything in between those!

Listed are some things to consider when dealing with the many relationships in the world today…

number 1


Many step parents have a part in the wedding. Either planning or helping paying for it. These are some things to help the bride and groom with:

How do you word the invitations or the programs?  You can say, “The bride and groom, together with their parents, invite you…”  or “The bride and groom invite you”… and have all of the parents listed at the bottom. Or list each of the parents separately. If the mom has remarried, use her new last name.(such as-  Matt & Marcie Lyons and John & Kathy Adams invite you…”  Grooms parents listed below his name.  Your invitation vendor will be able to help you more with each individual situation, but hopefully this info makes you less stressed to know there are positive ways to do this. Remember to put the parents on different lines if they are divorced.

What do the step parents wear? This is something good to talk to the bride and groom about. There are many different options. All parents, however many there are, all dress in the same color as decided upon by the bride and helpers. OR the step parents may dress a bit differently, maybe more mellow or neutral.

Flowers: Again, up to the bride, groom and helpers. You could consider having the moms/step-moms wear the same corsage or make them completely different.  Same with the dads/step-dads and their boutonniere’s.

Walking down the aisle: If you are close to your step dad and want to include him walking down the aisle, you have a few options… Have one walk you part way down the aisle, then the other one the rest of the way. OR have them both escort you down the aisle. OR choice #3- I chose not to have anyone escort me down the aisle.

Ceremony seats: Parents are usually seated on the very front row. The mother gets the best seat which is closest to the aisle. Her husband would sit next to her, if applicable. Then the father would sit next to them, behind them or at the end of the front row.  Same with the groom’s side of the aisle.

Reception seats: Options: If everyone gets along and the table is big enough, have all parents on the head table with you. OR Have a few different head tables- each set of parents gets to host their own table. The bride and groom can be at their own table if they don’t want to choose what parents to sit with. They can have their maid of honor and best man, if they like.

Dancing: You can have two or more dances to include the bride dancing with her father and later the step father.  Or my daughter chose to not have the father- daughter dance at all.

number 2


Having a deceased parent creates emotions in relationships and planning the wedding. Please help the bride and groom to make this as special as they want it. Communicate with them on how they want the deceased to represented in the wedding.

Invitation: There are many different ways to word the wedding invitation where one or more of the parents have passed away. Usually the word “late” is used. “The honor of your presence is requested at the marriage of Natalie Adamson, daughter of Matt and Marcie Lyons and the late Jay Adamson TO Trent Crane, son of Randy and Laurie Crane”  OR Together with their families, Natalie Adamson, daughter of Matt and Marcie Lyons and the late Jay Adamson and Trent Crane, son of Randy and Laurie Crane request the honor of your presence…”  OR have the invitation from the bride and groom and have the parents listed at the bottom of the invitation.

Dancing: The bride or groom who has the deceased parent needs to decide how or if they want the father/daughter & mother/son dance. You can choose not to have the dance. You can choose to have someone special like a close friend or step parent to dance with. OR you can have a variety of people dance with you throughout the song. I have seen amazing dances done like this where the best friends of the parent who has passed away dance with the bride or groom.

You can have a special memory table at the wedding reception where you have pictures of the parent that has passed away. You can also have a special musical number or talk at the wedding ceremony remembering the lost parent.

number 3


Not everyone gets along and then add in the emotions of a marriage and it may strain the relationship even more. If it isn’t the relationship with the bride/groom and parents, it could be others who are invited. When you invite so many people to a wedding, there are most likely people who don’t get along with each other. It is good to know this when planning the seating charts and all of the aspects of the wedding day. It is awesome when everyone decides that this important day they will set all emotions aside and let the bride & groom and others enjoy the day. But this doesn’t always happen, so before the wedding day, either talk to those involved and be ready to set some boundaries.

GOOD LUCK! With communication and cooperation, you can all make this work. A good thing to remember is this day is the one the bride has been looking forward to her whole life, so please do the best you can to put all negative emotions aside. Everyone can have an awesome time planning the wedding and have a happy wedding day!