Although the oft-quoted statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce is an urban myth, it is a fact that many weddings leave brides and grooms wondering what to do with stepparents. It can be particularly tricky when a stepfather was primarily responsible for a bride's upbringing and the biological father wants to be part of the wedding ceremony. Etiquette experts agree that the bride is entitled to honour whichever father she feels closest to and incorporate the other only if it is an important part of her big day.
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Shared Escort Down the Aisle
If a bride is on excellent terms with both her father and her stepfather, she might not want to slight either of them. Many women marrying have had a stepfather play an equally important role in their lives as their biological fathers. If this is the case and the bride wishes to show no preference between her two fathers, she might ask them to share the walk down the aisle. The two men might walk on either side of the bride all the way down, or the stepfather might walk her halfway down the aisle where he will hand her off to her biological father for the rest of the walk.
Perform a Reading
If you're having a church wedding, it is traditional that important guests give readings. These guests are usually not members of the bridal party or groomsmen, making it a perfect role for a person the bride wishes to honour. Have your stepfather choose a passage from the Bible that he thinks suits you and your future husband.
Sometimes groomsmen play the role of usher at a wedding, but at large weddings extra sets of hands are necessary. If your wedding will be large or you don't wish to ask your groomsmen to perform the additional task of ushering, ask your stepfather to be an usher. He will help guests find their seats while getting to meet and socialise with your guests before the ceremony. If your stepfather is not close enough to you to warrant his presence on your walk down the aisle, ushering is a valid alternative.
Give a Toast
There is no limit to the number of toasts at a wedding reception. Ask your stepfather if he would like to give a toast at yours. He will be honoured to be allowed to speak about his love for you and his hopes for your future in front of your friends and family. If your biological father and your stepfather have animosity between them, a toast is good way to involve your stepfather without offending your biological father --- or vice versa.
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- YourWedding101.com: Wedding Etiquette for the Divorced, Mixed and Blended Family
- Wedding Etiquette Tips: On Bride's Father and Divorced Parents
- Westchester County & Hudson Valley Wedding Guide: Wedding Etiquette Questions
- "The New York Times": Divorce Rate: It's Not as High as You Think; Dan Hurley; 2005