Open Question: Stepmother of the Bride Dress

Ack! I need help finding an appropriate mother-of-the-bride dress for my stepmother. She’s not old enough to be my mother (late 40′s) so I don’t want to dress her like she is. Any suggestions on where to shop? It’s a Friday evening, summer wedding that’s not black tie, and we’re taking photos outside before the ceremony.

Thanks – you guys are the best!




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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    confused stepmom, Guest @ 11:20 pm

    To Irritated;

    6. A second class parent is a deadbeat dad sweetheart. Not a man or woman who chooses to love and raise a child that is not their naturally. What your saying is that every adoptive parent isn’t really a parent either. How sad your life must be. Shame on you.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    wiserthanu, Guest @ 12:33 am

    Ditto to confused stepmom.

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    irritated, Guest @ 10:30 am

    I apologize if I offended any well-meaning step-parents who have good relationships with their step-children. I guess we’re all just speaking from personal experience here, and no doubt every situation is different.

    Why do people always assume that if there’s a problem with a stepparent, it’s because the kids wish their parents were still together?

    My step-dad is amazing. Maybe it’s because he has kids of his own, but he has never once thrown a temper tantrum, insulted my real dad, secretly torn photos out of albums, or tried to compete with my dad for anything. I respect him immensely because of this. Then again, he’s not young enough to be my brother. Go figure.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    irritated, Guest @ 10:36 am

    But, like I said, I apologize if I offended anyone who wears the stepparent hat well. Best of luck in your dress shopping. If point 6 revealed my own family issues, I apologize. I think most brides would agree with the first five points though.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    wiserthanu, Guest @ 11:06 pm

    Dear Irritated,
    You really should talk about these issues with a qualified therapist, or even just a social worker. Not trying to offend either, but it is clear you are clinging to something about her that you are unable to work out internally and it is causing you some conflict. Get help working it out and you’ll be a happier person.

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    irritated, Guest @ 12:30 pm

    To Wiserthanu,

    I won’t argue with you there. I’m not “clinging to” anything though; I’m bombarded with it. I’ve gotten four emotional, half-screaming voicemails about this stupid dress in the last week alone. All I’ve said to her face is “I don’t care what you wear.”

    It’s just one more ordeal in a long list of craziness. Even the extended relatives think she’s nuts. She’s torn photos from albums, insulted my real mom every chance she gets, lied to my dad about my siblings and I, all kinds of nutzo things. All this while demanding “equality as a parent.” It’s tiresome.

    To Confused Stepmom,

    I would suggest the same for you. You’ve considered not even attending the wedding? And you’re somehow equating years of marriage with status as a parent? I don’t understand the connection there. A mom is a mom for life.

    Obviously this thread brings up sensitive issues for a lot of people, not just me. Best of luck to all of you.

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    wiserthanu, Guest @ 9:11 pm

    Irritated, you picked the right handle :)
    Listen, you stole my line about ‘screaming’. Nobody screamed at you. Confused step-mom and I tried to splain u some facts about being a step mom, but I see now you really are frustrated and perhaps have a right to be. Your stepmom should do steps 1-5 that you listed. That said, and again it is just my feeling (and so far i’ve been right), that this is a very bad thing going on for your wedding (i assume it is your bride you were talking about?). So here’s some more practical advice..don’t say ‘i don’t care what you wear’, if it comes up again. Say ‘Im sure whatever you pick will be appropriate for the occasion’. Say it with class, and if you are alone with her, be sweet, apologize, and say you have to do something and leave. Give her the chance to think about it without saying more than that. If there are others around, take a breath and then talk about how your baseball team is doing, bad or good, and SMILE. If she is acting childish, treat her like one. IGNORE HER. Don’t let her bad dress choice, if she makes one, matter. Be the bigger person. If she makes a fool of herself, that’s her issue. Focus on your girl, your wedding, and let that be your center, not the step mom. You will only have to deal with her on occasions after you are married. You should be very honest on these blogs, polite, but say what you feel the first time. ie ‘HELP, SHE IS DRIVING ME CRAZY!!”. Direct and to the point. ALso, always give details like ‘she raised me’, or ‘i was 18 and lived with Mom. Dad married her. Without those details the rest of us have only your other comments and by testing you I got more out of you, and it worked in your favor, but it would have been easier if you laid out the problem right away, with the details.
    In any case, again, just do your thing and try to ignore her. If you need further help, send more specifics. Nobody knows your identity, you’re just another one of us extended family people trying to cope, like the rest of us. take care

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    argon, Guest @ 12:01 am

    Hi, here’ another stepmom witha dress question. My stepdaughter has now down a 180 on her dad and I. He bridesmaids colors are orange and brown for a fall wedding. We are not being told what to wear or not. I do not want to conflict with the two mom’s. I am not being given any infor. My husband does not know if he is getting color specfic tie, tux or just his suit. Ideas for planning? Thanks

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    wiserthanu, Guest @ 1:05 am

    Hi there. best advice to avoid ulcers, fights, etc. Do what the bride and groom ask. If they arent telling, ask them what you both should wear. For you, ask what length is appropriate. Don’t wear bridesmaid color orange, but you might try a complimentary color…nutmeg, a shade of brown, nothing to detract from bride/bridesmaids. Blend in. Don’t try to shine. It is fall, you have options but stay away cranberry or any red. Father should be wearing same style as groom, but that is up to groom.
    If mother is deceased, let me know as that changes everything in a way, but your situation sounds similar to what mine was, (deceased mom), whether mom is alive or not. I just went thru a year of this turmoil which ended with a lovely wedding mid-June. The year up to it was hell though, for husband and I. Other inlaws ruled and we were left completely out of the loop until it got close. Anyway,
    Father needs to ask groom what to wear. Groom may want him to wear same style tux, or not, but your HUSBAND (not you) HAS TO ASK, and soon. You do the asking of the daughter re your dress.
    The more you ask the new couple’s advice, the more you empower them, which they should respond well to. Divorce angers kids, regardless of how well marriage ends. It makes kids feel powerless. The wedding confers adulthood on them, and they get to call the shots for the first time. Trust me. You may not like their choices but do what they want, regardless. Honor their requests and save yourself an ulcer. It ends in the wedding day(this part, anyhow), and all the stress over it isn’t worth it. Hopefully by going with their flow they will reflect after they get back from honeymoon how wonderfully you and the father handled the whole thing.
    Trust me trust me trust me. Just let your step-daughter know you want nothing but her happiness and if she could help you figure out what to wear you’d be very grateful.
    If you both ask nicely, making the kids feel in charge, and they spit in your face, then buy him a nice dark suit and yourself a nice tea-length dress in a quiet but warm fall color and the heck with them (and get the clothes completely fitted a month before the wedding).
    Trust me, again. This will be over before you know it. Also get a pro to do your makeup that day so you look nice in pix, that is, if anyone takes your picture (the only people who took mine were some old relatives..I am in none of the pix any of the ‘friends’ of the bride and groom took, but her father was in most.
    Step-daughters are very conflicted anyway, and as she gets more bridezilla-like you need to just view it as a passing phase. It will end on the wedding day (for a while at least :) .

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Megan, Guest @ 6:31 pm

    I think irritated hit it on the spot. My SM thinks because dad has all the money she should be able to take front and center stage from my mom, who raised me. I had the wedding planner explain things to her, and the minister. Irritated, dont listen to the confused stepmom. If stepparents cant tell the difference between and adopted child and a stepchild, they are nuts. If they get divorced, they are out of your life.

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    confused stepmom, Guest @ 7:23 pm


    I hope someday your a step mom. Only then will you see how wrong you are. Not all step mothers are young blonds with big boobs, no brains, and a desire to marry some old guy for his pension. Most of us are educated, thoughtful, and intelligent strong women. Most of us knew the road would be hard when we took on not only a new marriage but the task of trying to help raise someone else’s child(ren).

    We did not enter our marriages blindly. Most of us probably thought about not marrying the guy because he did have existing children; we are not blind to the problems that exist.

    What would you do if you fell in love with a man and life wasn’t perfect, would you run or would you love him with a full heart. Would you mistreat his child/children or do the very best you could. Would you treat his ex wife as badly as you are treated, or would you rise above the hatred and be loving in-spite the odds against you?

    I can tell your angry, you would be more angry if you had to live with two parents who absolutely made your life miserable with their hatred for each other. Count your blessings.

    Your already counting on their divorce, that is sad in many ways; mainly that you want your father to be divorced yet again. Do you know what the chances are of a twice divorced man finding true love and happiness? Very slim my dear; most intelligent women automatically think; “Red flag, ok what the hell is wrong with this guy, what ever it is; I don’t want any part of it!”

    I wish you peace and the ability to see life threw someone else’s eyes.

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    no_longer_irritated, Guest @ 11:08 pm

    Hello confused step-mom and Megan, and all the other people going, or already went nuts over their future weddings
    I feel so bad for all of you. It has been 6 months since the kids got married. Beautiful, but as I knew would happen, I was wallpaper. I had a nice dress and good makeup and look good in the few pix there are of me. So what. It doesn’t matter. There are people without food and water in Haiti right now and all of our past and current bourgeois complaints about these idiotic weddings are really a telling symptom of how spoiled all of us are. Why don’t you all donate your wedding funds to those folks, elope, save everyone a headache while saving lives.
    Bye bye, I’m outta here.

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    eef, Guest @ 11:32 pm

    @linnybride: I’m getting married in August. Was recently informed that my step-mother-in-law will be wearing a white strapless minidress. Can’t wait!

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Trixie, Guest @ 1:46 am

    Goodness. the Stepmom dialogue sure opened up a can of worms.
    Stepmoms gotta watch out on the wedding day, as you suddenly become invisible, regardless of your relationship with the bride or groom. People tend to be ignorant about the role stepparents play in the family, and there is an instant bias.

    Now that my Stepdaughter is getting married, I am planning the wedding, helped her find her dress, doing the photography, and again throwing the shower. I have been closer to her than her own mother for many years. However, the future M-in-Law is already freezing me out, and acting as if I’m not really family. My SD is totally fine with my choosing my own dress for the wedding. I’ve chosen a nice, long, linen dress in a soft aqua color to complement her wedding colors. I’m blessed with a SD that is so down to Earth that she’d never tell anyone what to wear, other than the bridesmaids. We are putting together a beautiful and simple event, that reflects her and her fiance’s easy going nature.

    I know that I will be frozen out at the wedding by other family members. Once the two “Moms” get together, I’m toast. But my girls know the truth, they consider me more of a Mom than the Mom. I don’t agree with some people here that a mom is a mom for life… as if just giving birth gives you a free pass.

    Some day in your life, you may find yourself a stepmom. Then you’ll understand what it’s like. My younger SD and I just shake our head sometimes. When kids and parents found out she has a stepmom, they always wince.. and go.. “oh, I’m sorry..” and just assume I’m mean and hideous. It’s one of the worst stereotypes out there. Not all stepmoms want to disrupt or outshine the bride, no more than any other guest. In fact, it’s usually just a guest that shows up in the micro mini dress with 5″ pumps, who gets sloshed on the champagne. LOL.

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Ellie, Guest @ 1:03 am

    I have a post for you guys. Here’s the deal; I have boys with previous husband, younger than my SD and SS. My SD is now 23 and getting married. Her Father and I are 10 yrs apart. I am 12 yrs older than my SD. One of my boys, within this past year came to live with me and my husband – he is 15. Out of nowhere my SD and SS have gone outter limits on me – don’t want to have anything to do with me etc. when we had a pretty good relationship prior. My son has been a challenge, when they both said they would be happy to help – however, bailed as soon as he moved here. Surprised to find out how they truly felt, I am now being dragged to event after event for my SD upcoming nuptuals. We literally have had events for 6 months now for this marraige. Each event getting more tense than the last. Seriously, my husband and I are at each other’s throats because his children won’t speak to me & it’s making his life difficult. As time winds down to the date, I too am faced with what to wear to the blessed event. I have tried to not go to these things, but my husband says he needs my support – only to be upset and made to feel more awkward than usual because no one wants to speak to me..other than a few bystanders that don’t know what’s happening. Either way – I continue to try and do the right thing; show up, dress nicely-appropriately, smile, speak when spoken to, etc. while wanting to cry my eyes out every time I see my SD and SS, because they do not want me in their life.
    Help… color’s, length, style – anything..?

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    another wallflower stepmom, Guest @ 12:11 am

    I, too, am facing a wedding soon of the step-daughter. It is in another state and we have been told no details. She hasn’t spoken to me in about 7 years due to a situation that she instigated and I feel that she is ashamed of what she started, since the outcome (breaking up my marriage) didn’t happen. I don’t want to attend the wedding but that is out of the question because of the family (they don’t know the story). Needless to say, I don’t know what to wear, so I am taking the high road. I will be there dressed elegantly and with a smile. I am sure there will be no pictures of me (no heartbreak there) but I will still be smiling and cordial.

    Being a stepmom is very difficult. There is no instruction manual. You have to put yourself out there to love kids who are being told horrible things about you that are not true (my experience). You have to clean up the mess left by the bio mom who is bitter that your husband is no longer hers (her choice – she left and I met him over a year later). The best thing out of it is my stepson who loves me and treats me like his mom. I just pray one day that the SD opens her eyes and sees that we can be friends.

    In the meantime, I am letting them do their thing, not asking any questions and will show up smiling while wearing a beautiful, tasteful dress. Many will probably ask who I am, but I don’t care. I will not do anything to upstage or embarrass her. I do not want to give her or her mother any ammunition. I just want to go to the wedding, get it over with, and leave with a smile on my face.

    Good luck to all of the stepmothers and stepdaughters out there. If you don’t get along with your step – look hard, maybe there is something you can do to make the situation better. Even if it is staying quiet and out of the way.

    Thanks for letting me vent – it has been a long time coming.

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    ladyj, Guest @ 9:00 pm

    @confused-stepMOB-#2: @confused-stepMOB-#2: @confused-stepMOB-#2: I am a step mother of the bride who just recently had the worst experience of her life.
    My dress was appropriate, a short dress, with jacket purchased from a bridal store.
    The terrible part, was when the dj read the bride and grooms bios and I was left out. (i have been married to my husband for 25 years!!!) Her only included her mother and father as her parents. We have had a great relationship all these years, she was just 3 when we married. I was shocked. I just pray no one ever has this experience. It broke my heart.

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    ladyj, Guest @ 9:11 pm

    @another wallflower stepmom: @another wallflower stepmom: @another wallflower stepmom: Touche’, I certainly didn’t cause a fuss at the wedding. I should have seen it coming when my stepdaughter informed me we would have to pick a name for me when she has children, because, after all I will never be their grandmother. Both my grandmother’s were “step,” and they were my grandmothers in every sense of the word… Back to the wedding day, smile, look beautiful, and have fun while you are there. I am so glad it is over!!!!

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    reallllly, Guest @ 2:21 pm

    @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom: @confused stepmom:

    to all the stepmoms. i am one. i am 44 my oldest stepdaughter is 35. she is getting married in oct. these posts are older so i’ve no idea who will see my response, but wanted to share how i feel. it is not a matter of being “second class”. if the mother is still alive the mother is the mother. its called respect. respect. so lacking in society today. we can love our stepchildren..i have our own. make sacrifices etc etc like we would our own but they are not OURS and they owe us noting. if you have been an awesome stepparent and friend to that child hopefully you did it with the right motive. i also have a daughter og]f my own and she was married this year. if she had had a stepmother i would have expected the same. selflessness and respect.

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    poppy, Guest @ 3:50 pm

    My stepdaughter is getting married next not waiting for her to tell me about colours ,what i should wear.i think she has her hands full with the wedding already.ive chose a neutral dress that i can dance in.i dont want to look formal or stuffy like MOB or MOG usually do.Im happy to step back, look a bit more glam than the guests but more informal than the others.I will complement colours with shoes,hat nearer to the time.Ill enjoy it cause theres less pressure and focus on me.I will stand next to my husband or behind with my own children. and enjoy watching the bride.Its her day after all.

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