If you are like me, you grew up thinking your mother would help you plan your wedding and your father would give you away. But what happens when your parents are remarried? How do you handle having a stepmother or stepfather at your wedding? This is a delicate area that may need to be treaded lightly. Here are some tips to ensure your big day goes smoothly.

Invitations

When writing out wedding invitations, having remarried parents can cause a bit of confusion. While you want to include the names of all of your parents on the invitation—especially if a stepparent is helping to pay for the wedding—listing out everybody can seem a bit excessive. Instead, sidestep this issue by writing, “The bride and groom, together with their parents, invite…”

Wedding Programs

This issue of acknowledging your parents as well as your stepparents also comes in to play with the wedding program. It is important you don’t leave anybody out. You may find it best to include a line at the bottom of the invitation stating, “We would like thank our parents (names) and their spouses (names) for all their love and support over the years…”

Giving You Away

Traditionally it has been your father who has given you away. But what if your stepfather also played a significant role in your upbringing or you two are very close? You have two options here. You may elect to have one dad walk you halfway and the other meet you there to escort you to the altar. Another option would be to have both fathers walk you together.

Dress

While this is not a huge issue for the men in your family, a stepmother and mother may come in to conflict over their appearances. Mothers are expected to dress to stand out and having a stepmother dress in the same fashion may mute your mother’s moment in the spotlight. Instead, arrange for the florist to make your stepmother a special corsage so that she may feel equally important on your big day.

Seating

Everyone should be seated in the front row. Depending on how well your parents get along, you may opt to have your mother sit on the aisle and your father and his wife sit at the opposite end of the row. If they get along well, it is perfectly acceptable to seat your mother and father next to each other. This is the same for the reception. If your parents are friendly, seat them at the same head table. If you feel there is conflict, it is okay to have two head tables.