Weddings For Blended Families

Families today are a bit more complex than they were in previous generations. By the time a bride and groom walk down the aisle, they are likely to have picked up a few more relations than the ones they were born with; everyone from stepparents, step-grandparents, and maybe even a few stepchildren are going to be part of the mix. Having such a large family can make for an especially joyful celebration, but the truth is than in many cases it just makes planning a wedding more complicated. Here are some tips on how to successfully negotiate the complicated terrain of weddings for blended families.

Usually the questions that arise center around the bride's stepparents. Things can be almost equally complicated when she does get along with a stepmom or dad or if she does not. For example, a bride who was primarily raised by her mother and a stepfather may well feel very torn about who should walk her down the aisle. Should it be her "real" dad, or her stepdad who was just as much a father to her? Naturally, the bride does not want to hurt the feelings of either parent, and this is what makes the choice so heartwrenching.

There is no one right decision, and a lot of it will depend on how close the bride is to each father, as well as how open she can be in her discussions with them. When the bride was primarily raised by a stepfather but has maintained a strong relationship with her biological father, she will almost always go with her birth father as her wedding escort. A thoughtful stepfather can make the bride feel less guilty by encouraging her to go in that direction. If the two men are able to be cordial with one another, there is no reason that both dads could not walk the bride down the aisle, one on each side of her. And of course, if her heart is truly with her stepdad, then he is the logical escort.

The other end of the spectrum is what to do when the various members of a blended family are not warm and loving. In this instance, the bride and groom may well be called upon to bite their tongues and rise above the fray for the sake of their wedding. Even if your stepmother is not your favorite person in the world, what good can come of snubbing her at your wedding? Better to kill her with kindness and come out of it as the more gracious person in a contentious relationship. Treat her as a valued member of your family, at least for duration of the wedding. If you give gifts of wedding jewelry to the other mothers, your stepmother should also be on the list of recipients of those wedding jewelry gifts. If all of the grandmothers are getting corsages, then have one ready for your stepgrandmother, no matter what you may think of her. Who knows, maybe your gracious gestures can even help to bring a spark of warmth into the relationship. If not, at least you will have avoided the damage that would be caused by an obvious snub.

Blending the children of the bride or groom into one new family is also one of the issues that frequently arises at weddings these days. The best thing that you can do is to make them feel as though they are an important part of the new union. This can take the form of actually having the children participate in the wedding ceremony or perhaps in giving them a special piece of jewelry to mark the occasion. Just be careful not to push a reluctant child into more of a starring role than they can handle at the wedding. Major transitions can be challenging enough for some children without the added pressure of being in the spotlight at a public affair.

Probably the best advice on planning a marriage with a blended family is to maintain a sense of humor and one of perspective. Will having your stepfather's name on your wedding invitation ruin your entire wedding if it would mean the world to him? Probably not. Choose your battles well and try to keep the feelings of the rest of the family in mind; this will help you to plan a wedding that can bring the entire family, original and blended, closer together.

Written by Bridget Mora writes for Silverland Jewelry about all of the considerations that brides face while planning their dream weddings.


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