What should I wear as the Stepmother of the Bride?

I have searched for advice in the forum(s) and haven’t found an answer in this situation. My husband’s daughter is getting married (very soon!) and he will be ‘giving her away’. It’s an out of state wedding, afternoon church wedding ( with reception four hours later at a different location), and my husband will be wearing a tuxedo. We have been married for many years and I have always felt close with his daughter. I asked her for information regarding dresses (I’m not in the wedding party) and colors but the only information I received was that the bridal party will be wearing black…and the mob is her moh. We have never met the groom’s parent’s, so I don’t know what the mother of the groom will be wearing. I was going to wear a black dress but now I don’t feel it’s appropriate. I am not sure about the proper length either. I do feel a bit slighted in the situation, given the blatant insults, but I want to look (and behave) refined as well as appropriate. Please help me.

Thank you.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Slkkt,

Blatant insults? I must have missed something. I couldn’t find anything in your post about an insult.

Unless a stepmother is being treated as one of the mothers (seated as special), then she is usually treated as a guest, perhaps a special guest, but still a guest. It would be best to find out if you will be seated as special. If so, then you would want to find out how the mother of the groom is dressed and coordinate with her–color, length, and formality.

Although, mothers do not typically dress in the same color as the attendants, black seems to be the one exception. Many brides are now requesting their mothers to dress in black when their bridesmaids are wearing it. But, this would have to be something the bride requests.

Best wishes,

Stepmother of the Bride Attire

Reader/Question,

Thank you for your quick response! Regarding the insults, which thankfully I’ve moved forward, the invitation wording indicated that the bride’s parents were still together and my husband’s name was wrong. It’s so absurd, it’s funny. I agree that I should dress as a guest. Special? I think I am :) I certainly can’t call them to ask if I will be treated special. We haven’t met the groom’s family yet, so I have no idea what the mog will be wearing. The mob is the bride’s maid of honor and wearing the same black dress as the bridesmaides (not sure of the length or anything other than black). I’ll dress as a guest but can you suggest a proper length, other than a mini skirt (just kidding) ! Thank you, again.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Hum, that is a strange invitation. It is unfortunate that you can’t ask about the MOG’s choice of attire or if you should dress like one of the mothers. But, you probably can’t go wrong with wearing a time appropriate cocktail dress (street length) in any color besides red or black, which is unfortunate because other guests could wear black. It just probably wouldn’t go over well, if the bride and/or her mother thought you were trying to dress like them.

I’m sorry this is so stressful. I hope that the wedding isn’t any more stressful than this.

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Although a stepmother is not normally a central figure or VIP when it comes to their stepchildren’s wedding day, it’s important to try and communicate with the wedding party to gauge what would be the appropriate attire for the big day. As to not step on any toes and be respectful to both the MOB and MOG, reach out and simply ask questions!

photos via SMP

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