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Insider's Scoop About How to Dress as the Stepmother of the Bride

Stepmother of the Bride Dresses
Being a stepmother at a wedding can be a difficult situation. Here is some information on stepmother of the bride dresses as well as other etiquette so that no one gets upset at the end of the day.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Last Updated: Feb 2, 2018
Stepmothers are often portrayed as evil women, home-breakers who treat their stepchildren badly. However, this is far from truth. Increased divorce rates have complicated the definition of a family. Almost everyone of us knows of someone who was raised by his/her stepmother. While stepmother may enjoy a prominent position in the life of her stepchildren after their biological mother left, occasions such as wedding often place biological mother in the limelight while the stepmother has to gracefully bow out. Sitting arrangement, mother of the bride attire are some departments which may lead to upsetting situations if not handled with caution. So, in case you are a stepmother of the bride, then you might benefit from reading this article.
How to Choose Your Wedding Attire
The etiquette for wedding dresses says that mother of the bride picks her dress first and all the other women in the wedding party follow the suit. Mother of the groom, bridesmaids, maid of honor coordinate their outfits with the mother of the bride. However, they are the subdued versions of mother of the bride outfit in color, style, patterns etc. Mother of the bride also has a say when it comes to choosing bridal outfit. The general notion is that, while the bride should be in a spotlight, her mother should also stand out from other women in the wedding party. As a stepmother, you may not like this etiquette, more so if your husband is hosting the entire event. However, one must understand that wedding is not the place to outshine the mother of the bride. While you don't need to back out of the wedding altogether, it is alright to play second fiddle to the biological mother just this once. Nonetheless, there are various scenarios which dictate the way in which stepmother of the bride should dress up. Here are a few of them.
Biological Mother Deceased
If your husband married you after the death of his ex-wife (mother of the bride) and you raised the bride, then there is no need for you to take a backseat at this wedding. While it is not acceptable to share the spotlight with the bride, you can certainly play an equal to the mother of the groom. In that case, you can coordinate your outfit according to the mother of the groom dress. You can also talk to your stepdaughter regarding what she expects you to wear. You can also share the front row with your husband and groom's parents during the reception. This is one scenario which may not be as complicated as the others.
Biological Mother Living, But You Raised the Child
This can be one difficult situation to deal with. You may feel a lot of resentment towards your husband's ex-wife who left her kids at young age, did not care for them through their growing years and suddenly surfaces out of nowhere when your stepdaughter decides to get married. While it is understandable that you wish to be the mom at the wedding, after all these years of trouble and pains that you have taken to raise her child, you still need to be patient and accept her honor at the wedding. In this case, it is best to take a backseat and let your stepdaughter decide what she wants you to wear at the wedding. If you share a special bond with your stepdaughter, she might want to give you as much importance as her biological mother, sometimes even more. Even if she decides to let her mother have a bigger pie, do not get upset even though you might have paid for the wedding and everything. Remember, this one day won't change the equation between you and your stepdaughter.
Biological Mother Raised the Child
If you had no role to play in your stepdaughter's life so far and that you are attending the wedding only as your husband's current wife, then you should dress up like any other guest. If the mother of the bride single handedly raised her daughter, then it is absolutely fair that she wants to be the only mom at the wedding. In such case, it is best to shy away from all the limelight and assume a seat in a row or two behind the bride's and groom's parents. You need not feel humiliated about this at all and you should respect the role of biological parents in the most important day of their child's life. And yes, it does not matter even if your husband pays for the whole event. However, if you are on good terms with the biological mother and you are included in the wedding as one of the moms, then you can coordinate your outfit along with biological mother and mother of the groom.
When to Play it Safe
There may be situations wherein biological mother and stepmother simply cannot stand each other. In such cases, it is best to back out of the wedding and let the biological mother have her day. Also, if you are of the same age as the bride or younger than her, then it is best to keep your attire as subdued as possible. In fact, it is best to dress up like any other wedding guest.
Lastly, the decision regarding outfit of stepmother of the bride is best left to the couple. If your relation with them is good, they will do everything in their capacity to acknowledge your role as one of the mothers.
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