Stepmoms and Weddings

LongTimeStepApril 26, 2013

My SD's wedding was several years ago, so its been long over. I'm just curious how other stepmoms are treated, especially like in my circumstance their mom raised them? Do you expect to be treated like a mother or maybe as an honored guest? If your stepkids have married, how were you treated?

I was included in some ways, but excluded as well. SD had a small wedding, maybe 50 or 60 people and it was mainly family and close friends. SD did invite my daughter(her stepsister), my parents and my siblings and their spouses. I was included in some photos, but also SD did a pose of just her with her bioparents. DH didn't object to that. SD did do many different poses of different people, and SD did give us an albumn of wedding poses.

Ways I felt excluded: I did not receive a mothers corsage and was not escorted down the aisle like SD's mom and mil were. However for the ceremony DH, myself, and SD's mom sat on the front row together. For the reception SD had all the immediate family sit at one table together as in SD and her husband, SD's mom, DH and myself, and SD's inlaws. Siblings sat with other family members. My daughter was not asked to participate as a bridesmaid even though SD's two sister in laws were. My daughter didn't care cause she and my stepdaughter are not close.

SD didn't have just her dad give her away. It was both her mom and dad walking her down the aisle. SD said she couldn't justify just having her dad walk her down the aisle cause her mom raised her pretty much herself, so she didn't feel right pick one parent over the other caus no matter who she chose one parent's feelings would've gotten hurt. Still with a divorced situation, it makes it a bit tricky cause the bioparents giving the bride away are not married but escorting their daughter down the aisle. Again, my husband had no problem with any of this. He gets along with his exwife, and didn't get how excluded i felt.

Just curious, how do you think stepmoms should be treated at weddings? Just like the other moms? a family member? a guest?

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I think you're better off than you realize.

Mom raised her, Mom & Dad took care of wedding, Stepdaughter graciously had you at the wedding & went so far as to include you in some of the photos, seat you with your husband, etc.

It doesn't sound like you've represented "mother" to her, yet you were there with her dad in what could have been a reality-tv wedding &...everything went beautifully.

In your shoes, I don't think I'd even go so far as to want "honored guest" billing;
"honored" would be someone who made a tremendous impact on one of the principals (bride or groom), like a godparent;
if I were Dad's second wife, I think "guest" is honor enough.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:15PM
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My SD got married almost 3years ago now. It was a destination wedding--on the beach, but still with some traditional things.

I participated equally with her mother. Lit the candle with her just like her mom and sat next to her mother during the wedding. (We both cried!...LOL!). DH and SF both walked her to the altar and participated equally as well. It was beautiful and I was SO proud of her. I love that kid...

I was never made to feel 2nd class. That's just not how we roll here. I've been her stepmom for 16 years and her mom and I are way past all the yucky stuff.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 5:34PM
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I kinda do see both sides of it. On one hand I didn't raise her (but ive known her since she as a little girl from the age of 12 on and she spent every other weekend with us so in many ways i have felt like a parent). But once she became an adult i realized all those years she only tolerated me. Once she was not bound to every other weekend she and i didn't speak much. SD and i aren't close and i don't see that improving. She's super close to her mother and credits her mother entirely (not giving my husband much credit) for raising her. But maybe its natural to not treat a stepmom as a "mother" at a wedding in that situation where you lived full time with Mom, and only visited Dad and Stepmom two weekends out of the month. But on the other hand I've been a stepmom for more than 20 years and felt like after all that time i should be treated as a "parent", but maybe thats just me thinking a relationship should be closer between the two of just based on the number of years. Truthfully you can be in a family for decades but still not be close to someone, and i really hate that reality. I remember the wedding and being so embarrassed by not receiving a mothers corsage especially when DH, SD's mom, and inlaws all had boutinieers and corsages on. I was thinking what will my family and DH's family think with me being the only one without a corsage. I was just embarrassed for relatives to see the distant relationship that SD and I have and her wedding kinda reinforced those feelings for me.

This post was edited by LongTimeStep on Fri, Apr 26, 13 at 22:01

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:56PM
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Kate Hepburn's mother told her, "Don't worry about what other people think, they don't do it very much." I would bet that most of the guests did not pay an ounce of attention to who had a corsage and who didn't, they were so swept up in the whole wedding thing.
I too think you were better treated than any steps- some don't get invited to the wedding at all. Time known does not necessarily = close relationship, as you have pointed out yourself. Be glad there isn't open hostility.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:09PM
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I think you were treated quite well. SD acknowledged her father and you. Your family members were invited to the wedding and you were included in photos.

No matter how much we may feel that we have behaved like a mom to our SK's, we aren't the mom. I don't think that one can expect more than to be treated with respect from someone else's child. Not only were you treated respectfully, you were included in her wedding and that is just gravy. I would be completely surprised and happy if I am treated as you were when either of my SD's gets married.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 1:31AM
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I can't believe this girl, who you spent two weekends a month with would consider you a mother figure. And I'm sorry, 12 years old is NOT a little girl. She's already into puberty and over half of her childhood is over at that age. I don't see how much bonding could occur from the age of 12 on, when you only spent two weekends a month with her.

You married her dad, you didn't marry her. I think you are expecting too much from her. She has said she feels her mother pretty much raised her by herself, and she's right.

You have got to stop trying to make a round peg fit in a square hole. She doesn't consider you her mother so stop trying to think you were some kind of mother to this girl. I don't mean to be harsh, but you sooner you realize this the sooner you will stop letting yourself be hurt by things like this.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 10:28AM
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Long time, It really hit home that years later you still think about the wedding....I do also, and I wonder why after years gone by that I haven't been able to get past my feelings on the treatment I received for rehearsal and wedding...I didn't feel like an honored guest or mother figure, I d have been happy with Dads wife, but it seemed to me Bride and groom went out of their way to be excluding me every way they could..No one called to ask what color dress I d be wearing, geez I could have shown up wearing the SAME dress as MOB or MOG...We were asked to pay for half the wedding ,( We didn't) 350 guests, and were allowed to ask 8 guests..We were asked to pay for rehearsal , which we did, then I get an invitation in the mail, letting us know we re INVITED and MOB and MOG names on invite and RSVP...Wedding Day, I was taken by the arm and brought down to a basement, while everyone else was up n the church waiting( This, I suppose was out of loyalty to BM, they had to invite me, or dad may not go, but BM didn't have to see me) Sat with DH, behind BM,which was proper I thought..No flowers...Ettiquette is, I ve always heard if you re usher or groomsmen, anyone in a tux, their lady gets a corsage...Felt our financial contribution was not appreciated, it was thousands...I left early, and DH followed shortly after...What I think is so odd is that like I said earlier, I just cant forget about it..And so much time has gone by...I m thankful that DH was totally supportive of me, he saw how I was treated and left early too....

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 2:46PM
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I was escorted down the aisle after her mother was. I have no complaints regarding the wedding. She wanted her step dad to give her away and her bio dad was very unhappy with that so she walked down the aisle by herself, problem solved. One thing I will say about weddings and extended families, it can bring out the worst in families. They seem to forget it is the brides day not theirs.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 6:41PM
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Agree Emma its the brides day, but after you ve had your day, your family is still there with burnt bridges...A little kindness and tact would have gone a long way...

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 11:08PM
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Even though SD was 12 when DH and I married, she always seemed much younger, more like 8 or so. SD was very tiny for her age (and didn't develop til her late teens)and was always teased cause of how small she was. So even though chronilogically she was 12, i always felt she was so much younger due to her age. As an adult looking at childhood, to me 12 is a little girl. Also SD started school late (kinder at age 6) so when I married her dad she was just finishing 5th grade, still in elementary school.

I think you are right though, that i had too high of expectations. I expected years to equal a close parent like relationship no matter who raised her cause i put in a significant number of years during her formative years. But SD wasn't receptive to that and even gets angry if i call her my daughter which hurts my feelings a lot. Even after all this time she says "dad's wife" instead of stepmother.

On the flip side my daughter says "my parents" when referring to DH and me, and will say "my dad" instead of stepdad when referring to my husband. However my daughter doesn't have a biodad in her life which may play into that. I was just hoping to be a happy blended family and have to come to terms with that not happening. Guess the times when blended families work are like in my daughter's case where there is a parental void. In cases like my stepdaughter's where she doesn't need or want another parent, the blending just never happened. So i have to wonder if Mom raises the child, is stepmom always nothing more than dad's wife? Guess there's just not room for both mom and stepmom.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 12:52AM
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SD was very tiny for her age (and didn't develop til her late teens)and was always teased cause of how small she was. So even though chronilogically she was 12, i always felt she was so much younger due to her age.

Ouch! I had a child with a significant constitutional growth delay (four years). Children with growth delays absolutely do not want to be treated or thought of as younger than they really are, and the adults who are significant in their lives do them quite a disservice by seeing them and/or treating them as younger than they are.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Long time, You've got to get over not feeling treated "like a mom". Every single step family situation is completely different based on the ages, situations, and personalities of the people involved. Every situation has it's own heartbreaks, you just have to take the lumps and move on. I am not treated or loved "like a mom", even though I have been stepmom since age 7, we have full custody, and SS only sees BM 2 days every other week. Heck, he hardly even talks to me now. Sure it is hard to take, especially as he is "my only child", but I can't take it personally, or as a reflection on me. Being a stepmom is just plain difficult at times.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 1:14AM
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I think the things they did that show inclusion are much bigger than the things that made you feel slighted (e.g., corsages -- truly inconsequential.)

What really impressed me was that they invited your parents and siblings and spouses, especially at such a small wedding. That is a minimum of 6 people, at least 10-12% of the whole wedding. That is a HUGE statement.

As to her having both her parents walk her up the aisle, maybe it will make you feel a little better to know that that's how it is done at Jewish weddings (for the groom, too). Even when the parents are divorced. No one takes it as a symbol of their relationship to each other; they are there as their child's parents, not as each other's spouse. It's really lovely (and has none of the sexist overtones of giving the bride away as if she were property), so maybe some non-Jewish families are starting to do it, too. I'm not saying that's what happened here, just a different perspective that might help you feel better.

At several points in your post, it sounds a bit like your real objection is your husband not taking offense on your part. Is that right?

This post was edited by gellchom on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 15:03

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 11:16PM
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As several people already stated, you were treated quite well under the circumstances. For one of my stepchildren, I wasn't even invited to the bridal shower. From what you've written, seems like your SD was very careful not to hurt anyone's feelings, including her mother's which is the most important.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 6:34AM
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I think that your SD was more than fair. Let's be real -- you are not the mother. YOU may feel you were a parent, but every other weekend, from age 12 on -- face it you were not. You were not treated as second class, you were treated as not the mother. There is a difference.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:25AM
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This post resonated with me because I kind of walk in both the stepdaughter and stepmother shoes.

I am 34 years old and my parents divorced when I was eight and my brother was five. It wasn't until I was 22 that my dad married his longtime girlfriend, who he had been dating for seven years at that point. I've never liked her, I've never gotten along with her, and most people would say that I am a reasonably sensitive and fair person. As I've gotten older I've come to appreciate the companionship that she provides my dad. She's also been there during some difficult times for our family, i.e. when my dad's mother died and he took it very hard.

But she's also done a lot of other things that have made it very clear that although she'd like the title of a parent, she has never been willing to put in the emotion, finances and support that is required to raise a child. I was raised by my mother and father. The only times she wanted to associate with me was when I was successful and riding high - not when I was in trouble, struggling or lost. And that's not what a parent does. In the darkest times my mom and dad were by my side as my parents, and remain there.

This may be neither here nor there regarding your experience with your stepdaughter, but I have to make the point that no matter how long a stepmom is around, she may always feel "other" to the kids. They may not actively sabotage her, but she may never fit in, and she certainly may never be viewed as a parent, especially when two loving and present parents are there.

Now that I am engaged to be married this fall to a man (whom I've been with since 2006) who has two minor daughters, I've come to appreciate some of the heartache my stepmom likely felt when I was growing up. With that being said, a lot of it she brought on herself because of the kind of person she is rather than the fact that she was dad's girlfriend/wife, but in any case she served as an excellent role model for me for the type of stepmother and person I'd never, ever want to be. My parents are financially contributing to our wedding, and since she and my dad have separate finances she has made it very clear that she doesn't want to contribute anything. BUT - she does expect me to invite her family members, to be invited to the bridesmaids' brunch with my mom, etc. She would like to pose as a host because she is materialistic and selfish, when in reality it is my fiance and I paying for the majority of this elegant and formal affair.

I imagine my stepdaughters some day getting married or celebrating life events and I have worked hard to nurture a special relationship with them - just them and me, and over the years they have put me into a different category that is special and trusted. I know that even if God forbid something was to happen to their mother, with whom they live most of the time, that they would still never see me as a parent. And it's OK - I'll take what I can get because I understand. I see myself as a kid in their eyes. The best I could hope for would be that they respect the contributions I have made to their lives - things that neither of their parents have been in a position to do and that makes me a unique person for them.

It may be that your stepdaughter was giving you a cherished and special place at her wedding from her own point of view, and that you just didn't see it because you felt like being seen as a parent was the only role you've filled.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 2:57PM
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I am both a mom and a stepmom.

I believe the key is that you were treated respectfully. Being in a blended family situation is hard enough without step parents thinking they are peers to a child's parent. Just like us who come from families that the parents never divorce, children of divorce only have one mom and one dad.

Without sounding crude but if you and your husband divorce you are no longer even stepmom.

I took great lengths to make sure my ex-husband's wife and her family were treated with respect at the weddings of my children. She was given a corsage and attended all showers and such. They were seated in the pew directly behind me and my husband. She was escorted down the aisle after all the guests were seated after the grandparents. Her parents and my husband's parents were treated like grandparents. After all that she still felt that too much attention was given to me and not enough to her husband. To this day my ex-husband has never said a word about it.

My children grew up in my home. They went to their dad's every other weekend. My ex-husband was a financial participant in the weddings and as decisions had to be made I included him as much as possible. We no longer speak because he is not allowed too.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 4:02AM
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my ex-husband's son from 1st marriage is getting married in the fall. my daughter, his step sister is invited along with his and her father. (btw invitation was sent to my daughter with her fathers name on it who now lives in another county wth?) i am not invited, but not a big deal out of respect for the first wife. families were not blended. problem is, should i let my daughter go? she's 15 yrs old. she was originally told that she would be part of the bridal party, not by the step brother or his fiancee, but by a step-sister which was false. my daughter was heart broken. she will probably be seated with her father, who is an embarrassment to all 4 children. im not sure if the new wife will be there. they claim no ex's but who knows. i just dont want my daughters feelings hurt and the slight relationship that she has with step brothers/sisters ruined. need advice. thanks!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 9:01AM
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Maffei, talk to your daughter about it. If she is not sure offer her an alternate way to spend the day, shopping with you for a day, going on a day trip to a touristy place or an amusement park. A place young people like to go.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Asking too much yes. How mature of your husband to cooperate with all the photos and ceremony the way she needed many are too petty to cooperate. She didn't sign up for divorced parents. She deserves he day in the sun.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 11:54AM
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Maffei, I think you should encourage your daughter to go. It is a wedding and if she is seated with her dad for the wedding then I am pretty sure there are worse things.

She should be there. If they have the same father then they are half siblings. It would be disrespectful for her not to go. Unfortunately, not everyone can be In the wedding.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 10:23PM
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