Do I Have to Include My Stepmother in Wedding Planning?

Etiquette, Moms
Mom and Stepmom

Photo: Getty Images

Planning a wedding comes with a lot of opinions, from friends and siblings to parents and extended family members. When your parents have divorced and remarried, adding stepparents to the mix can often mean even more input and ideas, wanted or not. While the mother of the bride might know what her role could be, where do stepmothers come into the mix — and do they have to be included? Here's what our experts have to say about planning a wedding with your stepmother.

Your stepmother's role in the planning process will really come down to what your relationship is like. Has she been married to your dad for 20 years and really taken on the role of Mom Number Two? You may want to involve her in such a momentous occasion. If the two of you are friendly, but not BFFs, you're not obligated to include her in the nitty-gritty aspects. You'll of course want to let her know about the important things (like a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner plans, and what the parents should be wearing), but don't have to take her along to pick out save the dates.

If your mom still plays a big role in your life, including your stepmom can be a tricky situation to navigate. Be upfront with your mom and let her know if you'd like to include your stepmother in the planning process, and find out if there are some aspects she's always dreamed of working on, just the two of you. For example, your mom might want to be the only mother figure around when you're trying on wedding dresses, or may be more of a foodie than a fashionista and be totally happy to have your stepmother along for an extra opinion (but will want to be your right-hand woman at the tastings).

See more: How to Honor Your Stepparents at Your Wedding Without Hurting Your Parents' Feelings

Including both your mom and stepmom in wedding planning can be smooth sailing, or it can come with a whole set of dissenting opinions and ideas. Do your best to understand the situation from both perspectives, whether it's that your stepmom's vision for your wedding isn't what you and your mom have been dreaming of for years, or your mom is feeling protective (and rightfully so) of an experience she's been dreaming of since the moment the doctors handed you to her in the hospital. Be sensitive, set some boundaries from the get-go, and make sure they both know which aspects they'll be involved in — and which ones the other will be taking care of so no one steps on anyone's toes.

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