Post # 1
Ok, so I’m overdramatizing a bit but I hope that gets you guys to leave a response.
Do you think a pseudo step MIL should be given any position at all in the wedding?
Indian tradition dictates that MIL and FIL do some ceremonial things on stage (wedding is auditorium style with a stage) but real MIL has passed away. I’m not sure there is any true etiquette on this because Indian marriages are supposed to last forever and FIL would technically sit as a widower alone.
I might add FI and SIL do not like FMIL. FI would love for her to sit in the last row of the wedding hall or not even invite her (which is not possible). Would it be okay to put her in the first couple rows just as a guest or does that seem rude? FMIL has been around for about 8 years.
I’m more concerned with whether you think FIL would be offended.
Post # 3
Regardless of custom, I think her place is in the front row. I think that is enough of an honor, but I have heard Indian weddings rely heavily on tradition. You should ask your officiant what he/she thinks. Ultimately, you are the bride and you get to decide what goes on in your wedding.
Post # 4
I would say to ask your parents for guidance. They should know what is appropriate and what isn’t.
Post # 5
As someone who will be the stepmother after my wedding in July, I guess I don’t think her position should be any different than if she was the actual MIL. Your FFIL married her, after all. Whether your FI likes that or not, she deserves some respect in her position as his father’s wife. Believe me, its not the easiest thing in the world to marry a man with children – even when you have a pretty good relationship with those children. I would discuss this, respectfully, with your FFIL. In my position, I know that my FI would be really hurt and offended if his kids were disrespectful of me, and that he would consider it to be disrespecting him as well. If his kids tried to sit me in the back of the church at their wedding, rather than up front with him, I can confidently say that we would walk out together and both not attend. And it would be a long time before he forgave something like that.
That said, I don’t think that you necessarily need to give her all the ceremonial duties of a mother… it depends on how much of that role she has fulfilled. (For instance, how old was your FI when his dad remarried? Did she do his laundry, cook his meals, and clean up after him? Or was he already out on his own?)
Post # 6
To answer your questions suzanno:
1) FI was already out of the house and in college when SMIl came into the picture so they have no relationship and do not wish to form one now.
2) As far as we know they are not officially married or if they are FIL has declined to tell his children (maybe because they would hurt they were lied to)
3) Real mother died tragically and step MIL moved shortly after without FiL telling his kids about it, then they suddenly began wearing rings again without telling kids (but said they were not married), redocorating the house (including their bedrooms without their knowlegde) go on vacation etc etc etc. so FI and his sister are a little blindsinded by their actions- mostly their dad’s actions, but it doesn’t leave SMIL looking in a good light either
I’d rather not ask FFIL but tell him what role she should have- my mom says she should be allowed to bless us as all family members are allowed to do but we can if we want not include her in ceremonial stuff (I think this may be difficult given the familial nature of the ceremonies)
Post # 7
Oh wow, that’s bad. You’re right, that’s really difficult. FI and I spent a lot of time working on the issue of how to appropriately let his kids know things were getting serious (16 and 18 when we started dating). IMO you absolutely can’t blindside kids that way, even if they aren’t still at home. It doesn’t sound like your FFIL has been very respectful of his kids, and I can see why nobody knows how to deal with the situation. It doesn’t sound like it would be at all appropriate to give her any role that would have belonged to your FI’s mother.
You are right that your SMIL also doesn’t look very good. I can see why your FI resents her, although its probably difficult for her to correct issues that are really your FFIL’s place to handle. However, I’m sure she has some input. I told my FI that we couldn’t shop for my e-ring until he had talked with the kids about it – its a small town, and I certainly didn’t want them hearing from a friend that they had seen us looking at rings. (That really hadn’t occurred to him, oddly enough, although he had intended to talk with them before giving me the ring.) So I know that guys don’t always get it, and when that is the case us wicked SMs have to make sure that the right thing gets done.
If you don’t even really know her actual relationship with your FFIL, its really hard to figure out what to do. Maybe you can just let him know nicely that you are not planning on assigning her any role that would have belonged to your FI’s mother, and let him tell you if that is somehow a problem for him. I’m feeling pretty indignant on behalf of your FI and his sister right now… I think your FFIL has really dropped the ball on this one.
Post # 8
Ugh – tough call. You know me, I’d boot the B*%$H all together or tell her off….lol. But since that’s not "poite" I think that putting her back there may not be such a bad idea.
I’m not totally in tune with your traditions (though I have to say I’m really finding them interesting and cant’ wait to see photos, if you share them afterwards!) but having YOUR family in the front rows seems acceptable to me. She’s not your mom, and came into your life at a time when you didn’t really depend on her as a mother. Plus it seems you don’t get along well, and she doesn’t get on with anyone esle in your family.
If you were close, I’d say it was rude – but considering the other issues with her – stick her in the 3rd row and just explain to dad, "Look I want MY family up front, just because you married her doens’t make her my mom or my family."
Good luck! As always, keep me updated!!!
Post # 9
I think since your FIL hasn’t told you that he has married SMIL yet, you can operate on the assumption that she is his girlfriend but not his wife unless they announce otherwise. That means she’s not really a step-mother and therefore does not need to be included in the ceremonial aspects, although I do think she should sit in the front row with your FIL.
It sounds like there are a lot of hurt feelings about the way your FIL handled announcing his relationship with SMIL with his kids. It sounds like something that should maybe be discussed between FIL, your FI, and your SIL (you and SMIL should not be included in this discussion) so that their father can understand that they were hurt by the situation and found it hard to accept this new woman in his life for that reason. And that’s why you don’t feel comfortable including her in a mother’s role in your ceremony. I’m thinking that it would be healthy for your FI’s family to get this issues talked about and dealt with so they can move on and hopefully let go of some of the resentment. Explaining her role in your wedding ceremony to your FIL could be a catalyst for starting this discussion.
Sorry if it’s not my place to suggest that, it just sounds like there are a lot of secrets and hurt feelings and resentment here, but nobody really knows what the real deal is – heck you don’t even know if FIL and SMIL are married or not!! This is stuff that families should talk about and work through…
Post # 10
I suggest treating her as you would any other guest. If they are not married and the role is traditionally fulfilled by a mother, which was not to FI, then you should just treat her as a guest. During the cermony she should sit in the front row with the other close relatives that sit there but she should not be on the stage. I do not know Indian tradition, but , if it is allowable perhaps you could ask a close aunt to sit in place of FI’s mother or maybe put a picture of her or flower in the chair she would have sat in. This way FFIL doesn’t feel it is disrespect for SMIL but respect and honoring of deceased mother.
Post # 11
remember the wedding is just one day…. you’ve got the rest of your life with this woman in the picture, better to start off on the right foot now……
Post # 12
I think since they aren’t actually married she shouldn’t have the official role…but man I really feel bad for this woman. First she makes the mistake of picking the wrong sari and now no one even wants her there. Sounds like the family likes beating up on her a bit or seeing bad intent where none was intended. I hope people aren’t openly hostile to her at the wedding…that will make things very tense. I wonder if you fiance would feel different if she was at least Indian and was more intune to Indian customs. After 8 yrs this obviously isn’t a fling…it’s a serious relationship and this woman will probably be around for a long time so I think it’s important to set off on the right foot. I wish children could just be happy that their parents are happy. My parents got divorced when I was older and then my dad remarried…that was definitley hard and I feel for my mom, but I’m happy that my Dad is happy and having a good relationship with his new wife is a lot healthier then holding on to negative feelings.