We don't usually call them step-parents...
"Step-parents can be awesome, because their love is a choice." ~ author unknown
The subject of a "step-parent", or should I say a "bonus-parent" can sometimes be a bit sensitive when you first begin to discuss your wedding. But let's face it, this is a tender subject anyway, right? Sometimes it is fragile for the actual parents and the children involved in having to adjust to their new way of life. Sometimes there are cases when the parents and children are fine, but then the extended family members feel the need to protect the hearts of their loved ones. Most often the discomfort dissipates, but is brought back to life when those children grow up and begin to plan their very own happily ever after.
My job in these instances is to remind everyone that weddings are meant to bring families together. I want to share with you a very special instance where there was step-parent involvement. It appeared that we were headed for unavoidable heartbreak and regret. But when the wedding day came, there was enough love and laughter shared to make the anticipated fuss seem as if it were just a joke.
I had a bride who had lost her mother years before she became engaged. She had a wonderful relationship with her step/bonus-father, which she explained to me had been better during her youth than the relationship she had with her birth father. Well, during the planning of her wedding, we made several attempts to involve both her birth father and step/bonus-father in the plans of the day. She did not want to do a first look with her husband-to-be, so we came up with the idea to do the first look with both her fathers. They would both walk her down the aisle. She was even open to doing the father daughter dance at the reception as a group. She was more than excited about all of these ideas and couldn't wait to live them out.
Well, when she disclosed to me that her step/bonus-father still had not yet been fitted for his tux and he still had not confirmed his travel plans, we then knew that there was a chance he would not be present for her wedding day. We did what we do, which was assured her that her wedding would be nothing short of amazing and that those in attendance are those meant to be there. So, on wedding day, guess who showed up and in his tux demanding to walk his baby down the aisle. You guessed it...her bonus-dad! Now, her birth father was more than willing to share the opportunity with him of giving their baby girl away prior to the wedding rehearsal. However, we weren't willing to cause any additional nervousness to our bride on her day. We explained to him that because she had practiced with her birth father to the point of comfort the day before, that we would keep it just that way. But we asked if he would do the honor of standing in for his late wife, the bride's mother, and lighting the candle representative of the bride's side of the family. It was as if all of the frustration he anticipated having had left, and he remembered for a moment the importance of his wife's presence on that day. He accepted our requests as we walked him upstairs to take part in the capturing of the first look with his sweet little girl, known that day as a beautiful bride (...and he cried).
He walked down the aisle to light the unity candle, proud, smiling. When the officiant asked "who gives this bride?", he and her birth father proclaimed to together "we do", and they all danced the night away at the wedding reception. It was beautiful!
So if you have a situation that calls for you to include a bonus parent in your wedding day plans, take joy in knowing that even if the planning of their inclusion starts a little rocky that it can still end with everyone smiling, laughing, and dancing the night away together.
Until next time...
be sweet & happy planning!
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