My Daughter Is Getting Married Next Year. My Ex Husband and I Divorced in 2005. - Reading,PA

Updated on September 21, 2015
J.. asks from Reading, PA
27 answers

She has always lived with me and rarely sees him and his wife. They only married when my daughter was 17, 4 years after the divorce. At their wedding all my children were put in the back as well as the reception (sat with the photographer). Now that my daughter is getting married, I am paying for the wedding (grooms parents are paying some). My ex is asking to help with the wedding but not payment. Of course he will walk her down the isle and do the expected that a father would do. My daughter went over their house for dinner and the ex's wife asked to help with her wedding dress. I did call the ex and let him know this is a mother-daughter time. I am taking this very personally, I have bad taste in my mouth from her for various reasons, I have not slept for days. She has interfered with my family many times, would call my sister while she was in the last months of her life (made my sister uncomfortable). How do I handle this? My daughter is in the middle, my husband or his wife has no respect for boundaries (this is well known). Suggestions, I have cried and lost slept over this. I always thought this was my time with my daughter (planning, wedding dress, flowers, etc). The grooms family is helping plan, we are very close for many years. With this being said, my current husband states "this is not his daughter (he loves her very much and has done more for her than her own father) but he will step back unless she asks him for something. I would expect the same from her stepmother.

Some good points "her wedding". She does not want her stepmothers help, she has voiced this to me. She feels manipulated and controlled by her father (her words) and can't say no to him. I don't talk about either and very supportive. Yes it could be some of my past with him, abusive, controlling, psychosis, and manipulative hence ex husband. I do feel as he continues to control through manipulation, probably why I cried. I know the answer to that. (No response needed)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

This is not about you. Stay out of it except to tell you daughter that as an adult, it is her responsibility to stand up for herself and say no when needed - to her dad/stepmom and also to you when you are taking things too personally. It's a skill she will need throughout her life. Time to start practicing.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Then it's up to her to tell the step mom no thank you. If she doesn't then YOU have to decide if you're going to stay home and let them go do stuff. You have to be the bigger person or YOU'LL be ruining her wedding. If you ever watch the wedding dress shows in TV you can see how tense the adults who're on the couch act. They can put the bride to be in tears and make the whole appointment a mess.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

If she doesn't want the step mom to help then she is not really in the middle of you and her step mom. Just take her dress shopping. It doesn't need to be rubbed in the lady's nose.

The father of the bride can pay for the food/drink and do the tasting with the bride and groom.

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answers from San Francisco on

This really should be up to your daughter. If your daughter is "in the middle," as you say, this is the time for her to learn to say "No." The best gift you could give your daughter is to help her learn this very necessary skill.

If she would rather spend time with you, then it should be simple for her to graciously tell them that she can't do whatever it is they want her to do, and then spend her time with you instead.

IF she wants to spend time with them, then I hope you can let her do it without making her feel bad.

This is your daughter's wedding and her special time, you have chosen to pay for it -- are you sure you aren't making this situation too much about you, and not enough about her?

Is there really no time before the wedding for her to spend time with them? Is she supposed to be by your side every moment before the wedding or you will cry and and lose sleep? I dunno, maybe you are the one who is putting her in the middle. Just sayin'.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

What does your daughter think, how does she feel. Sorry but that is all that matters. For your daughter to be in the middle you have to be putting her in the middle as well. See middle, between two things, you can't be in the middle of one thing.

My daughter and her fiancee are planning everything, I am here for what my daughter needs from me. She wants my husband (not ex) to brew wedding beer. She keeps me in the loop for costs. She went looking at dresses with her friends. She is trying to pick a reception venue that will placate her grandma on her father's side which will cost me more, whatever. My daughter, all my kids, have been through enough with our divorce I am sure as heck not sticking her in the middle of drama when I am a grown up and can control my emotions.

If your daughter comes to you and says her step mom is doing something she is not okay with then step in but until them check your own feelings at the door.

Jennifer's answer reminded me of something. My first wedding was awful, no fun, horrible and it was because my wedding was not my wedding, it was all about my mom and her feelings and what she needed to get out of my wedding. My second wedding I planned, it was so much fun. My daughter, the one getting married next year helped me a lot. She was there when I needed her and I will be there for her but her wedding is not about me.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

I would start with the mantra (and repeat as necessary) 'It's not about me'.

Then I would schedule a day with your daughter. Start with having her close her eyes, clear her head of everyone's expectation (including yours), and tell you what she wants for her wedding. Depending on what type of girl she is, it may be lengthy, or short, detailed or a simple concept. It may be filled with impossible dreams she's had since she was little, or just about who will be there and how they act. Listen intently (take notes if necessary) and then ask 'What can I do to help make this happen?' This may mean that you are not playing as big of a role as you want, accept it and repeat mantra.

If you have something that you what to do with her specifically, ask. 'I Would be honored if you would let me help you -----' (fill in the blank). Don't be disappointed if she what's to do that with someone else (I went dress shopping with my best friend) and repeat the mantra.

Have something that step-mom can do too. If you want dress shopping, maybe she can do cake tasting. That way next time she sees dad and step-mom, she can say 'Thank you for your offer, but it would really help me if you could------'. That way she can control where they are involved instead of being maneuvered.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

This is not about you. This is not "your" day.

I'm assuming your daughter is an adult and shame on her if she does not have the backbone to stand up for herself around her father and stepmother. She needs to grow that backbone now or she'll forever be " manipulated" and be the victim.

I understand you have harsh feelings toward your ex. That's ok. Keep it to yourself. You sound as if you are still emotionally attached if you let every little thing bring you to tears.

Get counseling to help you overcome your feelings toward ex and his wife.

I opted to elope 27 years ago. You should have heard my mother bitching because I "cheated" her out of "her" day. Really.... I was the one getting married and it was my day my way.

Be supportive if your daughter but step back and don't give your ex and his wife all that space in your head.

I hope things work out peacefully. This part of a parents divorce really sucks for the children involved because they are torn between their parents.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Adult people should plan their own weddings. (They should also plan a wedding they can pay for without financial help, so they should consider scaling back on what they were thinking about doing.)

There is no reason to involve her stepmother at all if she doesn't want it. Saying No or No, Thank You is a great life skill.

That said, this is also not 'your time' either. It isn't automatically mother-daughter time. This is your daughter's time, and her groom's time. Don't offer opinions unless you're specifically asked to provide them.

You seem to be emotionally invested in the idea that you're a co-planner. Please let go of that. Your one and only duty is to attend the wedding. Anything else you're asked to do is extra. I'm sure you will be, but don't have expectations. That way you won't get yourself worked up into tears or disappointment.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I'm not sure why you are crying and losing sleep just because your ex's wife offered to help your daughter with her dress, clearly something more is going on. Also why does it matter where your kids sat at their wedding, years ago, why even bring that up? It sounds like you're holding a lot of grudges, and THAT is what is putting your daughter in the middle.
If your daughter doesn't want her stepmother to help with her dress she can just say no thanks and move on. And if she does want her help well then respect her wishes.
This is HER day, not yours, please let these issues go so she can enjoy it, and so YOU can enjoy it too!

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Welcome to mamapedia!!

You need to step back. This is your daughter and future son-in-laws wedding. If she doesn't want to confront her "step-mother" that's HER decision. YOU stay out of it.

She needs to learn to say no. She's an adult.

You have to stop yourself. Why are you allowing yourself to get bent out of shape? You are allowing yourself to lose sleep over it and cry over it. You need to stop. Seriously. This is NOT about you. I realize it's a stressful time. I realize you feel like you are losing something - but in reality - you are GAINING a son.

Stop making this about you.
Tell your daughter to get her spine and say no, set boundaries and limits. If she can't do that as an adult? She's going to have a hell of a time as a parent. Tell her you will support her in her choices, but this is HER time to say NO.

Good luck!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Your daughter needs to decide who does what - this is her show/day and she is the director.
She can say "Thanks for your offer of help but we've got that covered! If you're interested maybe you can make centerpieces for the tables.".
She's going to be a married woman with a husband and everything.
Now is the PERFECT time for her to learn to say "No" to her Dad for anything beyond what she wants him to do.
And if he turns her down because she's grown a backbone, he throws a hissy fit and tries to manipulate her, then good riddance to him.
You try to relax and just tell your daughter that she is in charge and needs to take the reins.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

If your daughter is old enough to get married, then she should be mature enough to handle the details of her wedding. SHE should be the one to say to her step-mom that you are helping with her dress and anything else that needs to be said. Just my opinion but if you try to step in and say/do anything then it will just look bad on you. Good luck.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The big issue here is your daughter feeling like she can't say no to him. Boundaries. She needs them. For the sake of peace, she should find some things that she feels ok with letting step-mom do and ask her to do them. She should be mature enough to tell her that the dress thing is something she's doing with you. it's hard, but she needs to step up.

Therapy might be a good idea for her, if she is having such a hard time with manipulation from her father. If he was that bad, and she hasn't gotten help to process the issues from how he was in her childhood, she would benefit from help to get rid of those old reactions and issues. Believe me, it's helpful.

Somehow find a way to help her find things for step mom to do. Support her in standing her ground, and involve your current husband if she has a relationship with him. Blood does NOT always equal family. Love and respect do. THAT is where she should focus most of her energy. On those that love and respect her.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Of course you are excited about your daughter getting married and planning her wedding. This is probably something you've been dreaming about for years - your time with your daughter. But this isn't about you, it's about your daughter.

Weddings should be about the bride and the groom. While the parents and other close relatives and friends often have very prominent roles, the wedding isn't supposed to be about them. It's supposed to be about the bride and the groom.

If your daughter wants her stepmother to be involved, that's your daughter's decision. If she doesn't, that's her decision as well. Your job is to support your daughter. Your daughter should not feel caught in the middle between you and her stepmother. Both of you need to make sure that she is being heard and that her wishes are being respected.

Many of us can look back on our own weddings and hopefully remember lots of great moments and fabulous support of friends and family. I have a couple of lingering feelings about the role one person had that was not at all what I wanted, I told her this, I asked her for something different and it still bugs me today. But I try to remind myself that it doesn't matter and try to let it go.

Let your daughter be in charge. Let her decide what she wants. This isn't about you. It's her wedding. It's her day.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

There was a time in this country that the wedding was about the mother doing all the planning and the bride just showing up. It was a society thing back then. That day has long gone and it is now all about the bride planning her wedding.

Be supportive of your daughter and her wishes and desires within your set budget. Do not go over board and plan something that puts you into debt for years to come. If it doesn't fit, it has to be changed.

I have stated for as long as my daughter has been alive that I would like to make her gown. Now, she may change her mind and I will do something else. She has a dress picked out from a few years back and I have pattern to make but it may be a quick wedding. I do know that the venue will be in Las Vegas as that is what she has stated her whole life.

Stop giving your ex and his new wife room in your head. Let go of the past as it will not help you in the future to be "stuck" in the situation. Grow from the experience and move on. Let your new hubby be your supportive rock and anchor during this time. Do include him in something at the wedding even it is a toast at the reception.

I trust that you will take all the good ideas from the posts and do something great for the day. It is your daughter's day and not yours you have had two days.

Good luck and do report back to us when you have time we would love to hear how it went.

the other S.

PS I felt a little bit lost at my son's wedding but it was the day of the bride and I stayed on the sidelines and did not try to be part. We had a pleasant day and a beautiful wedding. The rain stopped and the sun came out to bless the event. I couldn't have asked for anything better. Later during the reception it rained again.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'd quit calling the ex and his wife, and quit crying and losing sleep, and quit putting your daughter in the middle. focus on her. help HER find her voice, and express her wishes firmly and courteously, and put her boundaries in place.
if she feels manipulated and controlled by her dad, all the more reason to help her, not to speak for her. it sounds as if her helplessness is learned behavior. she's watching her mom cry and fret and angst and be a victim.
both of you will benefit if you dry your tears, smile and woman up.
empower your daughter.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

Your daughter needs to be honest with her dad and step mother. If she doesn't want their help then she needs to let them know.

He can only manipulate her if she lets him.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

ℜ❀$eღud❧ response is really good. It's what I would follow.

You are clearly upset. Weddings bring out a lot of emotions in people and if you've got an ex involved, lots of hard feelings. For some reason (stress?) it all comes bubbling to the surface.

My MIL nearly ruined our wedding with all her issues that she brought with her, to our shower, to the reception dinner, to the guest list, to the wedding day ... she was bothered by some people, disappointed in others ... and for some odd reason, felt that as bride and groom we should care about this. She pretended it was about us, but it wasn't. She felt this was her day.

Your daughter is likely very aware you're upset. Even if you are not saying so to her - trust me, she knows. So you have to get a grip about the ex. And his wife.

I agree - by bringing up stuff in the past (background) it's clear you have unresolved issues there and haven't had closure. Understandable - totally. Not saying you shouldn't. But that is neither here nor there on your daughter's wedding day.

Just ask her to let you know what you can do. Don't assume. Assuming stuff and expectations are disastrous. They are about you - not the other person. They are what YOU want. Either you will be disappointed she doesn't end up doing what you want, or she will feel pressured by them. Two things you can avoid by just letting her decide what she would like.

And if she does feel pressured by her father and his wife, say "This is YOUR wedding. You need to tell them what you want." I would even go so far as to say it's probably best for everyone if she doesn't involve you in that. You don't really have to hear about it if it makes you upset. You can just say "I sympathize ... but I can't really do much to help so better you handle it". She can talk to her husband about that. Get him to back her up if needs be. It's his wedding too.

Good luck :) and I hope she has a wonderful wedding

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Put your daughters feelings and happiness first in all of your decisions and actions.
Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Has your daughter considered having her father and step-dad walk her down the isle?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sounds like you hit the jackpot with your new husband....He's giving some good input. Don't let your hurt/hard feelings ruin your daughter's special day. And, if your current husband has done so much for her and YOU...have you thought of suggesting to your daughter that BOTH her dad and step-dad walk her down the isle?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Sarah and Robert E.... that response, all day long.

The best way to help your daughter (that IS what you want to do, right? Not just bask in the glory of being "the mother of the bride"... right?) is to help her be okay taking charge. She may need to hear that it's ok if she involves the step-mom. Maybe she isn't against that idea as much as you think, and would be happy to let her do some things, but is concerned about YOUR reaction. Or, maybe she doesn't, and is not wanting to irritate her dad. The thing is, you don't really know.
Unless she is coming to you whining constantly that they are meddling where they are not wanted, and she specifically asks you to handle that problem FOR her... then it is not your place. And honestly, even if she were to ask you to handle it, it still isn't your place.

Your place is to help your daughter. Give her permission to ask for what she wants and to decline what she doesn't. Tell her she's an adult and if she wants x, y, z done a certain way, or by a certain person, then she doesn't need to feel guilty or cowtow to someone else's wishes about it (including yours). Obviously, she has to stay within a budget. That's not what I mean about doing what she wants.
But she is about to be a married woman who will be dealing with marital issues. That is a learning curve of it's own and some newly married people, and their in-laws have a big adjustment and some never adjust and become the overbearing in-laws, or the spouse who still listens to mama instead of putting their spouse first.

She needs to learn what her priorities are. Her spouse. Do you know if they are using traditional wedding vows? The ones whereby the man leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife, etc? That's a picture of a new family and new priorities. SHE becomes the matriarch of her new family unit. She is probably still thinking of herself as a "daughter"... She's an adult now. A woman. And about to be a spouse. It's ok to disagree with the parents. And it's ok to do something different than what they want.
Parents no longer exert control over their adult children (or they shouldn't). They become equal players.

That is what a healthy relationship looks like between adult children and their parents. Be sure your daughter is aware of that. You must be careful not to try to manipulate her into doing one thing or another. Or you are guilty of what your post seems to charge against her dad and step-mom. Remember that any advice you give regarding dad/stepmom should be applied to yourself as well. Then let her figure out what she wants (and doesn't) and offer to help however she wants that you are able. EXCEPT intervening with dad. She must tell him/stepmom what she expects of them (and declines) just like she does with you. (Certainly you would be put off by her dad telling you that "she said she wants ____." correct?)

Good luck. Remember, it's her day. And re-read Sarah and Robert E.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Your daughter needs to be clear about what she does and does not want people to do for her wedding. The step-mom wants to help, no matter her reasons, let her. Find her something she can do that makes her feel important but keeps her out of the way.
If your daughter doesn't want her step-mother along while dress shopping, don't invite her and don't tell her when you are going.
I have a personal question to ask? Does the step-mother have any daughters of her own from perhaps a previous marriage? If she doesn't have any daughters of her own it's possible that she sees this as her only chance to do this. She might be getting over baring about it because of her personality but she could mean well in the end. Something to think about.
No matter what, your daughter needs to say something and you need to back her. This is family, for better or for worse, so you need to find a way to be civil to each other. Especially in big life moments like a wedding.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

You need to help your daughter find her voice. She is getting married so she needs to learn to deal with uncomfortable things. Marriage is not for wimps! I understand about the dress. I want it to be just my daughter and I as well. However, I will do whatever she wants. Its HER dress and HER wedding. I will love and do anything she wants me to do even if I have blood gushing out of my mouth from biting my tongue. =)

I wouldn't call ex or his wife any more. Have your daughter practice on you how she can find her voice. "Thank you so much step mother for offering with the dress; however, I am going with mom". If step mom starts on "well, I should be allowed to go as well and I will" again work with your daughter. In the end, she does NOT have to tell anyone when she is going dress shopping. And if dad and step mom keep going at her, she can get up and walk out of the house. She can limit her conversations as well.

There are so many things you can do to help her and you should. She needs these tools to deal with in-laws!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I have not read the other responses so excuse me if I repeat. I am a child of divorce. I also do event planning and have done tons of weddings. Please , please, make this a happy time for your daughter. Put aside all of the past and concentrate on daughter and new son.

I know it is easier said than done, but you are a mom and cab do this. lady gracious. The kinder you are the better you will feel and better you will be seen as a kind and gracious woman.
Tach your daughter to speak up for what she wants. If she cannot be honest with the people in her life? She is not mature enough to get married. You are not the buffer with step mom.. Dad is the buffer for his wife. If your daughter is worried, she needs to see a therapist or counselor ASAP. Having a professional will give your daughter strategies and strength.

Would you be interested in walking your daughter down the aisle with dad? I have seen this before and it is very touching. Do not seat them at the back of the reception.. Instead they need to be up front equal with all of the parents.. Again this will show you do not keep score.

This wedding is not about anyone but the Bride and Groom. I do not care who is paying, it is their wedding in the end. You give them your budget and list of things you are willing to do to help. Daughter can request from dad and sm and the grooms family.. Bride needs to be in charge.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You should talk to your DD, not your ex. She is a grown woman. She chooses who is at her gown shopping and if you want to be included, you should talk to her. If she doesn't want her stepmother's help, she should politely decline. If she's old enough to marry, she's old enough to speak for herself. If you are too emotionally invested in her wedding, you should evaluate what's really going on. Is this your only daughter? Is it bringing up feelings about your ex and the divorce? Try to figure out why this is something you are losing sleep over and let go what needs letting go.

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answers from Boston on

ETA: Brilliant answer, Sarah & Robert!

Original answer: I am a stepmother, and I would never have considered jumping in on my stepdaughter's mother's role in her wedding. A friend's daughter is getting married, and the ex-husband has been a pain about what he'll help with and not help with. It's made it so hard for the daughter. I suggest that you do as much as you can to disengage and take the emotion out of it. Not that it's not emotional - it is! - but you need to be clear-thinking and not turn your hurt feelings into a stressful time for you and your daughter. There's enough of that being done by the stepmother.

I suggest that you give them firm boundaries. Say that you are paying for the wedding and that, even if you weren't, this would be a special mother-daughter time and you know that they will respect that. If you can think of something that WOULD be helpful and relatively difficult for them to screw up, can you ask them if they would like to be responsible for X or Y? For example, if you and your daughter are not entirely wrapped up or devoted to finding music for the wedding or reception, would it be possible for the ex and his wife to research DJs or string quartets or soloists? What about photography? Maybe she can research photographers, although if you are paying, you want to be in charge of telling the photographer what pics you want and what you don't want. What about researching possible bridesmaids' gifts (ask for 10 suggestions, from which your daughter MAY choose.)

Tell them that you are handling the wedding dress and the flowers and the invitations, and whatever other things you absolutely feel you must (or want to) handle on your own and with your daughter.

When my stepdaughter got married, I gave her a shower (to which I invited her mother), and I was invited to a huge shower given by the mother's sister where I knew no one. But I held my head high, went in, and was pleasant but not the center of attention or expecting recognition in any way.

Perhaps the stepmother could host a shower for your daughter for your ex's side of the family and any friends that your daughter knows or who might care about the daughter/stepdaughter of your ex and his wife. That could only benefit your daughter by making her the center of attention and it could benefit the stepmother by giving her something to do where she can "shine", but which has zero impact on your end of things. As the mother of the bride, you shouldn't give her a shower yourself anyway. Your side of the family, the groom's side and your husband's side can attend a shower given by a friend or one of the bridesmaids.

When my stepdaughter got married, she gave me a small bouquet and had me escorted by my seat by one of the ushers, then after me came the mother of the groom and finally her own mother. I was very touched that she included me in this way. Perhaps some sort of small honor like that would be something your daughter could give to her stepmother without sacrificing anything. I think it will make you look like a magnanimous person to smile through it all. Everyone who knows you - everyone who matters - knows that your daughter spends little time with her father and his wife, and that you are her rock. The more you can show you are confident in your situation, the better off you will be.

Perhaps you and your daughter can think of some special way to acknowledge the role of your husband, her stepfather, as well. That way, the "steps" are included, but given a special role to fill, and limited from other areas. Perhaps, if there is a father-daughter dance, there could also be a stepfather-stepdaughter dance. If that's not appropriate, perhaps you can think of something else.

I read a funny story about a mother of the bride and a pushy stepmother. The mother of the bride bought a dress for the wedding, and then the stepmother bought the exact same thing, and refused to take it back. So, rather than start a fight over it, the mother said, "Alright, if it's that important to you, Stepmom, you can wear the dress you chose to the wedding, and I will wear something else." The daughter was baffled: "Mom, you LOVE that dress and you look fabulous in it. Why would you give it up?" The mother calmly replied, "Don't worry about it, dear. I'll just wear my dress to the rehearsal dinner the night before!" I love that story!

I think, if you give the stepmother/father a very small and contained role, and then very calmly thank them for any other offers but say, "Thanks anyway, but we've got that covered," you'll do better than if you get sucked into the drama. Maybe your ex and his wife are clueless, maybe they are trying to make up for years of being disengaged, maybe they are embarrassed that they have had so little role in your daughter's life. Assuming it has been their choice to stay in the background (rather than you keeping them away), they're kind of stuck with their situation now. (FYI My stepdaughters' mother did not include the 2 girls in her 2nd wedding either - they got to stand at city hall while the marriage was performed, but they didn't get to wear anything special, and they weren't invited to the reception! Still, when one daughter got married, she took the high road with her mom.)

And give your daughter the vocabulary to set boundaries. If the stepmother says she wants to help with the dress, tell her to say "Thanks, but that's something I am doing with my mother. I'm sure you understand." Then she should change the subject.

I'm sorry for what happened with your sister. My husband's ex did something similar when my husband's mother was in the hospital and it was awful. What we learned to do was not to give any info, and to write orders that certain people couldn't be admitted to the room or allowed any decision-making role. (She positioned herself as "the daughter-in-law" and so the staff sometimes thought she was my husband's wife and very involved, although she had never like my MIL at all.)

For your own sake, I hope you can find a way to not take this personally. This is not about you. It is about her issues and her problems and her inadequacies. My brother's fiancee's mother declared ahead of time that she planned to stand up in the middle of the wedding and slap my mother! So my parents alerted the clergy member and church staff, and then went forward with their own roles as assigned by bride and groom. They didn't let it ruin their day.

You have to take charge of things and give instructions to anyone you hire (photographer, caterer, clergy member, etc.) that YOU are the person contracting for their services, no one else. That you are close with the groom's family is wonderful. Work out with them what's happening and who's doing what. If you are comfortable, share your concerns and stress about the stepmother, and ask their advice and support. This is a great place for your husband and the groom's father/mother to step up as a united front. That doesn't mean to start a fight, but simply to say that it's all under control.

Ultimately, your daughter's wedding day will be the day that you will shine, that you will be seen in your honored role. Have confidence in that. Do not let lesser people take this away from you. Pity them for their selfishness, and contain them. They are not in charge. Throw them a bone if you can in an area that doesn't matter that much to you, but otherwise develop a distance and a few select phrases which you can repeat as needed: "Thanks but this is between mom and daughter." "Thanks, but as I said previously, this is between mom and daughter."

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