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Wedding protocol is serious business—especially when it comes to parents, step-parents and blended families. Although your Richmond Hill divorce lawyer likely described dozens of challenges you’d face during your divorce, your child’s wedding was probably not one of them. If one of your kids or step-kids is making the trip down the aisle, you’re probably wondering about the role step-parents play and how you factor in.

Whose Day is it, Anyway?

Even if you and your ex share a mutual dislike for each other, this day isn’t about either of you. It’s about the two people getting married. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your child or step-child; let them know that they have your full support and that you’re committed to making their special day as enjoyable as possible.

Whether or not you’re a step-parent yourself, you probably understand that blended families can be as well-connected to each other as natural families. You might feel a bit jealous, angry or hurt that your child wants to include his or her step-parents in the wedding, but remember: the whole day is about your child and his or her happiness.

Proper Wedding Protocol for Step-Parents

Whether you’re the parent of the bride or the groom, you’ll probably be expected to share front-row seating with your ex and his or her significant other. Generally, the natural mothers of each party sit closest to the aisle; the mother’s husband sits beside her.

Natural fathers and step-moms belong on the other side of the step-father during the ceremony unless that makes any party uncomfortable. In that case, the natural father can sit in the next row, directly behind the mother. (During the reception, it’s acceptable to have three head tables: one for the bride, groom and attendants, and one for each set of parents and close family members.)

When it’s time for wedding photos, let your newly married child take the lead. If he or she wants step-parents included, don’t make any waves—just let it go. Your child will have these memories for a lifetime, and you don’t want to be the smudge that leaves a nasty mark for the next several decades.

Sharing Your Child’s Day with Step-Parents

People who have been divorced for years are more likely to be comfortable sharing a child’s wedding day with step-parents than those who are still navigating the divorce process and working with their Richmond Hill divorce lawyer. However, this is one of the most important days in your child’s life—and you are strong enough to push your personal feelings aside to help make it as special as it can be.