Dear Bride to Be:

First, congratulations on your upcoming wedding. This should be a time of happiness and celebration for you and your family. This should be a time for everyone to come together rather than an occasion to divide. Dealing with blended families and managing relationships can be stressful and many family situations are complicated. While I do not know all of the details, it seems that both relationships are important to you. I encourage you try and find a way to include both your biological father and your stepfather in your wedding in a way that makes you happy. Maybe they can both walk you down the aisle, if not together, maybe one can hand you off to the other. I realize this may not follow normal tradition, but this is your wedding and that means you can alter and customize tradition as you see fit!

And while I am sure your mother has her reasons for not wanting your biological father at the wedding, her relationship and experience with him are very different than yours. She may no longer be his wife, but you will always be his daughter. Therefore, you have to manage that relationship. It sounds like your stepfather is a wonderful man as well and I can understand why you do not want to leave him out, especially since he raised you as his own from a small child. You are blessed to have had a wonderful father to raise you and even more blessed to reconnect with your biological father and mend a broken relationship.

I’m saying all of this to say that it is not father vs. stepfather. I don’t think you have to choose. I believe you can include both of your fathers and they both will be honored to walk you down the aisle and/or participate as you see fit.

Editors Note: Tamara Hartley is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. She uses her personal life experiences and lessons learned to give others a different perspective and help them make critical decisions in their life, relationships and careers. Email your questions to You can follow Tamara on twitter @drtamarahartley and check out her column and archives at


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