Wedding Etiquette Forum

Program Etiquette

I did some searching but can't seem to locate anything about this.

How/where do I include my father's wife in the program?

Backstory:  My parents have been divorced 26 years.  My dad and his wife have been married for 25 of them; however over the years I have had either a strained or estranged relationship with my dad with little to no relationship with his wife (there's a lot of issues there).  Though perhaps by dictionary definition, she may be my stepmother; she has not nor will she ever hold any kind of "mother' role in my life, so she will not be under "Parents of the Bride."

Any suggestions of how to do this without offending?

 

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Re: Program Etiquette

  • I would still put her name

    What I did was put

    Parents of the bride
    "My father and his wife'
    "my mother and her husband"

    parents of the groom
    "father and mother"
  • This is why we're not having programs.  Seriously, I wish I had more useful input here, but FI is in the same situation with his dad's wife, and we ended up deciding to just skip programs altogether (our ceremony is short and in the same location as our reception, so there's no information that guests "need" that they won't be getting due to the programs' absence).

    You could also just omit your dad's wife from the program (although I guess that's what you're worried would be offensive), or you could omit all parents from the program (but I guess that might offend your mom and FI's parents?). 
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  • If they just got married or she wan't in your life for that long, I would say leave her off (but talk to her about it first so she's not surprised).  But, since they've been married 25 years, leaving her off would be very offensive.
  • So where were you planning on putting her name if not under "Parents of the Bride"?  Were you going to put it on the back under "Some woman my father married whom I could careless about let alone do the decent thing and list her under the appropriate heading on the front"?

    I understand that sometimes family situations can be rough, but by not listing her in the rightful place is rude and no matter how much you try to not offend her you will.  Will it really be that big of deal to place her name with your fathers under "Parents of the Bride"?  Remember this is just a program that tells people who everyone in the wedding is.  It in no way reflects the relationship you have with those people whether it be good or bad.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:457b64f0-6ec1-4196-bf07-c89d4aa954ba">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]So where were you planning on putting her name if not under "Parents of the Bride"?  Were you going to put it on the back under "Some woman my father married whom I could careless about let alone do the decent thing and list her under the appropriate heading on the front"? I understand that sometimes family situations can be rough, but by not listing her in the rightful place is rude and no matter how much you try to not offend her you will.  <strong>Will it really be that big of deal to place her name with your fathers under "Parents of the Bride"?</strong>  Remember this is just a program that tells people who everyone in the wedding is.  It in no way reflects the relationship you have with those people whether it be good or bad.
    Posted by Maggie0829[/QUOTE]

    Yes, it is actually.  She is not my parent, nor has she ever been.  I never lived with them, she never raised me and has done nothing over the last 25 years to cultivate a relationship with myself or my siblings.

    I can appreciate the "do the right thing" mode here; but it's not something I can do, so I was looking for alternatives.

    We are having a "distinguished guests" section, so maybe I'll put her there.

     

  • What's a distinguished guest?

    Just put her with your father. Whether you like her or not or whether you've ever lived with you or not she's your step mom.
    Lizzie
  • What about doing:

    Mother of the Bride:  KJ's Mom

    Father of the Bride:  KJ's Dad

    Mother of the Groom: Groom's Mom

    Father of the Groom: Groom's Dad

    I wouldn't think it was weird that there's not Stepmother of the Bride if it was listed that way.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:0da37426-1540-4246-aa3f-d5dbde49f1d0">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]What's a distinguished guest? Just put her with your father. Whether you like her or not or whether you've ever lived with you or not<strong> she's your step mom</strong>.
    Posted by aragx6[/QUOTE]

    No she's not.

    I'm including my brother who is escorting me down the aisle and possibly our ushers in the distinguished guests.

    Username's suggestion is what we currently have, but I wasn't sure if I could get away with not including her at all.

     

  • The fact is this woman is your stepmother.  This is not something you can argue about.  To me distinguished guests are those where the relationship isn't really defined.  It's that really close family friend that was like a mother to you but wasn't actually related.  Just put the woman in the parents section.

    But I digress.  You're going to do whatever you want so by all means offend your father (and your stepmother).

    May 21, 2011
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:f7813b96-70b6-484e-bbe9-0b4cb3c02ba8">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Program Etiquette : <strong>No she's not.</strong> I'm including my brother who is escorting me down the aisle and possibly our ushers in the distinguished guests. Username's suggestion is what we currently have, but I wasn't sure if I could get away with not including her at all.
    Posted by kjhowd[/QUOTE]

    Yes, she is. It's not an honor title. Your uncle's daughter is your cousin even if you've never met her or don't like her. Your fiance's dad will be your father in law even if you think he's an ass. Those are the names of the relationship.

    Look, don't put her if you don't want to, but your dad and she will probably be hurt and offended.
    Lizzie
  • Eagles - I realize all that.  Even after all these years, it's a very touchy/sensitive subject all the way around.  Everybody has their crazy family dynamic and I was hoping to find a way around this one.  I'm really not trying to be a jerk about it; but there is a lot of backstory and animosity that I don't want to get into.

    Dealing with my dad and his wife (as limited as it's been at this point) has been the single most stressful part of the planning.

     

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:885d81b4-f6e0-46c3-8999-f01e040c2852">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]Definition of Stepmother: the wife of one's father when distinct from one's natural or legal mother Thanks, Merriam-Webster.
    Posted by EaglesBride2012[/QUOTE]

    This I do understand as stated in my OP.

     

  • To me, your wedding day isn't the day to call attention to the fact that you hate your stepmom.  Everyone is going to get a copy of that program and will realize she's not listed with your father.  That's not only offensive, it's embarassing for them to be called out in front of all of your guests.

    Be the bigger person.  Yes it sucks but if you have any hope of maintaining a relationship with your father, being a biitch to his wife isn't going to help.
    May 21, 2011
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:dc6b0cda-6850-49e6-b482-195a56cc876d">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]Also, I just want you to know that I understand, because I loathe my father's wife and I don't know how I would have worked around this situation, but my father and I are not on good terms so he isn't involved in my wedding, or my life, at all.  But you have to suck it up sometimes.
    Posted by EaglesBride2012[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for understanding; they are also minimally involved as well.  I do know what the right thing to do is, but I am finding it very difficult to do. 

    I do have a few months yet before I have to finalize the program; there are other things brewing that are potentially causing drama with them, so I'm going to wait to see how things pan out before I make any firm decisions.

    Thanks all!

     

  • It's a piece of paper that people will glance at and throw away.  Small children may color on them.  I think you're making this a bigger deal than it really needs to be.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:59bb3660-8bbd-43f3-9aa7-605502dee7de">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Program Etiquette : Yes, it is actually.  She is not my parent, nor has she ever been.  I never lived with them, she never raised me and has done nothing over the last 25 years to cultivate a relationship with myself or my siblings. I can appreciate the "do the right thing" mode here; but it's not something I can do, so I was looking for alternatives. We are having a "distinguished guests" section, so maybe I'll put her there.
    Posted by kjhowd[/QUOTE]

    Look I am sorry that you have had such a bad relationship with this woman but she is your step-mother.  You need to realize that separating her name from your fathers is going to cause major drama.

    There are many parents out there that have not done much or anything for their child/children but that does not make them anyless of a parent (a bad parent yes, but a parent none the less).  You also said that you have had a very strained or estranged relationship with your father, but it seems like you are ok to put him under "Parents of the Bride".  What makes your step-mom any different from your father?

    This woman has been with your father for a quarter of a century and, even if you cannot stand the lady, you cannot easily dismiss her either.

    But in the end, it seems like you will do what you want in regards to the program whether or not it offends your step-mom.  But be prepared for the backlash that may go along with not including her.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:4969ec21-052a-4e91-892b-b62436a80aa7">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]It's a piece of paper that people will glance at and throw away.  Small children may color on them.  I think you're making this a bigger deal than it really needs to be.
    Posted by adamar15[/QUOTE]

    I agree with this wholeheartedly.  I think some brides make huge issues out of the smallest things.  Every time I have been to a wedding with the program I never even look at it.  The only people I really care about are the bride and groom...I don't feel any need to learn the 20 or so WP memebers names and relations.

  • Honestly, at this point I would either skip the program or do a minimalist one with just your names, wedding date, location, and list of any songs and readings. They're really not necessary, and IMO you would be better served by avoiding the stress.
  • I get it, really I do, and I will think about how to handle, it's not a decision I have to make today.

    And again, I get that the defnition of a stepmother is the wife of your father; however, emotionally there is a line between "stepmother" and "father's wife".  And all of you trying to make your point by saying I have to include my stepmother and yes she is my stepmother need to understand that.

     

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:e9ddcf9a-fad1-4efc-9eeb-0809ab1dbade">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]I get it, really I do, and I will think about how to handle, it's not a decision I have to make today. And again, I get that the defnition of a stepmother is the wife of your father; however, emotionally there is a line between "stepmother" and "father's wife".  And all of you trying to make your point by saying I have to include my stepmother and yes she is my stepmother need to understand that.
    Posted by kjhowd[/QUOTE]

    I get that. But in your program you're not listing "People who are awesome that I love a whole bunch;" you're listing the names of your family members.
    Lizzie
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:e9ddcf9a-fad1-4efc-9eeb-0809ab1dbade">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]I get it, really I do, and I will think about how to handle, it's not a decision I have to make today. And again, I get that the defnition of a stepmother is the wife of your father; however, emotionally there is a line between "stepmother" and "father's wife".  And all of you trying to make your point by saying I have to include my stepmother and yes she is my stepmother need to understand that.
    Posted by kjhowd[/QUOTE]

    I get that there is an emotional line in how you think of her.  But saying that, we certainly aren't trying to change your mind about her by calling her your Step-Mom.  We are calling her that because, by definition, that is what she is.

    Like PP said, you are listing them by who they are in relation to you, NOT by how you feel about them emotionally.  If every couple did that there would be some interesting programs out there.  In fact, I think couples should start doing that because then their guests may actually read the dang things they spent so many hours stressing over.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:72b0870f-a28a-4f6a-9ce9-e17f9663e492">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]But kj, you asked us for advice.  We gave it.  Now you're upset with what we all said.  I'm sorry that you're in a rough place with this, but we can only give the advice we feel is best, you know? Good luck with it, really.  Maybe Poli's suggestion is best.
    Posted by EaglesBride2012[/QUOTE]

    No, I'm not upset about the advice I got; I'm upset about the insistence that just because by defnition she is my "stepmother" I have to call her that and accept it.  If I got your vibe correctly - you understand why she is only "my father's wife".

    I was actually pretty sure this was the advice I was going to get; I was just hoping for another alternative.

     

  • KJ, you don't have to refer to her as your stepmother in daily life, but that wasn't what people were telling you here.  All anyone has said to you is that, if she is in the program, the proper way to identify her is as your stepmother, because that's definitionally what she is.  Listing her in the program as "Mr. So-and-so's Wife," or with no title, or omitting her, will be taken as a sign of disrespect.  If you don't care about disrespecting her, fine, go for it, but it sounded from your OP like you wanted to avoid being disrespectful to her.  If that's the case, then she's your stepmother as far as the program is concerned.

    Your polite "alternatives" are (1) Don't have programs (like I suggested); or (2) Don't list any parents at all in the programs (like Poli suggested).
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:7867b065-93b3-4853-9a5e-da01b4f45d12">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]KJ, you don't have to refer to her as your stepmother in daily life, but that wasn't what people were telling you here.  All anyone has said to you is that, if she is in the program, the proper way to identify her is as your stepmother, because that's definitionally what she is.  Listing her in the program as "Mr. So-and-so's Wife," or with no title, or omitting her, will be taken as a sign of disrespect.  If you don't care about disrespecting her, fine, go for it, but it sounded from your OP like you wanted to avoid being disrespectful to her.  If that's the case, then she's your stepmother as far as the program is concerned. Your polite  "alternatives" are (1) Don't have programs (like I suggested); or (2) Don't list any parents at all in the programs (like Poli suggested).
    Posted by StephBeanWed61502[/QUOTE]

    And I'm now realizing there are no polite alternatives; and I appreciate the advice given.

    I will admit to a kneejerk reaction re: the stepmother title.  Several of the posters came across such that it doesn't matter how you feel about her; you have to call her your stepmother (programs or daily life).

     

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:95de09e4-1127-4957-a0c3-e2ef77c24326">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Program Etiquette : And I'm now realizing there are no polite alternatives; and I appreciate the advice given. I will admit to a kneejerk reaction re: the stepmother title.  Several of the posters came across such that it doesn't matter how you feel about her; you have to call her your stepmother (programs or daily life).
    Posted by kjhowd[/QUOTE]

    I don't think any of us care what you call her in daily life.  I know a friend who calls her step-mother "the devil" in our daily conversations and I know exactly who she means.  But listing her as that on the program may cause issues :)

    To be honest, I think you should just scrap the programs.  They aren't necessary, they all end up in the trash and really no one looks at them very closely.

  • Oh also, there are plenty of ways to recognize your mom without having a program.  FI and I are skipping programs and getting small bouquets made for his mom and my mom, but not his step-mom (his call, I'm backing him on it).  I'm actually having my mom walk me down the aisle along with my dad.  The moms are going to be seated in the first row at the ceremony, they'll be seated at the "prime" tables at the reception, etc.  It's not like the identity of your mother is some big secret that you can only share via programs.
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  • You stated that well Eagles - it is a small concession for peace.  I do want my mom to be recognized.

    I do get the programs are non-essential, but we are having a Catholic ceremony and 100% of my family is NOT Catholic, so we really felt the program would be helpful.

    As I said before - there are other drama inducing things going on with them right now they may determine if they even attend.

    I have plenty of time to make the determination how best to handle (the right way or no programs).

     

  • SInce I didn't have programs or a Catholic ceremony I may be sounding like a novice here, but in the programs can't you list what is just going to occur in the ceremony and not any of the parents or WP names?  Like, procession, prayer, song, prayer, reading, vows, ring exchange, etc.  And then include the names of those doing the readings and of course the names of the songs and prayers.  This way all of your guests will be able to know what is going on but all mention of family members and WP and such is kept out of it.

  • I've never seen one that didn't have the WP and parents listed so I have no idea if that's acceptable or not.

    It's definitely an interesting alternative.

     

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_program-etiquette-7?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:174456b6-4176-40f3-9224-4f9c99631084Post:9656985e-dfa7-4ca5-829c-4d5e121465ad">Re: Program Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]I've never seen one that didn't have the WP and parents listed so I have no idea if that's acceptable or not. It's definitely an interesting alternative.
    Posted by kjhowd[/QUOTE]

    I don't see why it wouldn't be acceptable.  From what I gather from your posts you are more concerned with your guests following along during the mass/ceremony rather than who is who in your WP and what your parents names are (shouldn't many of your guests know that already if they are friends and family?). 

    If I was one of your guests and never been to a Catholic mass/ceremony before I would rather know what is going on in the ceremony rather than peoples names (I can always ask them later if I wanted to).  But that is just me.

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