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Bride Sets Off Stepdad By Insisting He Split Father Of The Bride Duties With Paternal Grandfather

bride walks down aisle with older man
Michael Blann/Getty Images

In addition to friends being playing a role in most weddings, families—especially parents have traditional functions to fulfill as well.

But what if that parent is deceased?

A bride-to-be’s decision to split her late father’s wedding duties between two paternal figures in her life caused conflict. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Commercial_Bride2200 asked:

“AITA for refusing to give my stepdad the role he wants in my wedding in front of his and my mom’s families?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“I (27, female) will be getting married in the next year to 18 months—no date finalized yet.”

“Originally I had planned to have my stepdad and my paternal grandpa share the father of the bride duties because my dad has been dead since I was 6 years old.”

“My stepdad has been there for me almost as long, but my grandpa is hugely important and has played the role as most important man in my life after my dad.”

“My stepdad did not want to share the role. He is not paying for or paying toward my wedding. We’re not accepting money from anyone for our wedding.”

“I don’t depend on him for anything.”

“My parents were together, but only for me. Their relationship broke down a few years before my dad died, but they didn’t want me to grow up in a divorced home.”

“My mom resented it at the same time. So when he died it wasn’t a sad thing for her and she wanted me to feel the same way.”

“He wanted the walk down the aisle and the father/daughter dance to be just us. He told me he was not okay with my grandpa doing either one alone or do both with him.”

“He told me when it comes down to it he was the real dad in my life since I was 7 years old and while he might not be biologically my dad, he has been married to my mom and taking care of me for 20 years.”

“He is also the father to all my siblings and his place in my life should be honored and not shared with a grandparent just because I lost my dad. So I told him I would have just grandpa then.”

“My mom sides with my stepdad. She always wanted me to have a father/daughter relationship with him and she always hoped I would want him to adopt me and that I’d start calling him dad.”

“I don’t think they were already together when my dad died. I think mom was just so relieved she didn’t have to pretend anymore and she moved on to a new relationship super fast.”

“In the past I tried to bring stuff up to her, but she would make it clear she wanted me to accept him as my dad. She mentioned him adopting me and me calling him dad.”

“When I didn’t go for it, she’d stop listening to me. I know what she wants out of this and she knows I don’t want the same.”

“We’ve always been at an impasse on this. She’d never stand up for me before and she won’t with this either.”

“My stepdad has his own children. But even if he didn’t, my grandpa is still my grandpa. He’s still a connection to my dad that my stepdad will never be.”

“He had a choice to be included, but with my grandpa and that wasn’t good enough for him. I don’t blame my stepdad for my dad not being here.”

“But just because my stepdad’s here doesn’t mean he has taken the place of my dad or will be treated the very same as my dad would be.”

“He said it was insulting he would need to share the role when my dad wouldn’t have needed to. I call him by his first name and never called him dad. This has not changed in 20 years.”

“My grandpa knows I am the child of his late son. He knows he has provided many things to me in my life that I needed when my dad died and couldn’t do it any longer.”

“He loves me. And he has been there for me. Much like the rest of my dad’s family.”

“It really helps when you have the family of your late parent around and when they’re good people who enrich your life. Sometimes they’re the only people who get your grief too.”

“My stepdad was never going to be offered the sole role. He’s not my dad.”

“He had the chance to be part of my wedding in the role he wanted, just not entirely the way he wanted. I would not choose him over my grandpa, though. And ultimately he is the one who made me choose.”

“To me, my grandpa deserves more recognition than my stepdad. He had a more meaningful impact on me and will forever be a man I love and admire and could not imagine my childhood without.”

“He did not pay for college, he is not paying for my wedding, he didn’t buy me my first car (or any car). He did provide for our household and for me as part of it.”

“My grandpa actually gave me his old car when I was first driving (my first car). He and my grandma gave me some money to go toward college.”

“Grandpa was there when I was sad about my dad. He helped keep my dad’s memory alive. He made sure I never went without if times were tough (him and my grandma both did this stuff).”

“Grandpa was the person I went to for real fatherly stuff. He’s the person I vented to about Father’s Day and how much I hated the day some years. My grandparents took care of me when it was needed.”

“My stepdad did that too. He was a parent in the house. But he was never my dad.”

“Stepdad told me he wanted to walk me down the aisle. I told him I had wanted to ask both him and grandpa and it would mean a lot for them to share.”

“He told me no and it had to be just him and I couldn’t have my grandpa. I told him that not asking grandpa wasn’t an option and we could figure out a way for them both to do it.”

“He made it very clear he was not okay with that and I told him fine, just grandpa then.”

“This was not the end of the conversation and it came back up during my mom’s birthday dinner. He mentioned it in front of his family, aka his parents and siblings, as well as my mom and my mom’s family.”

“He told me he wanted to be father of the bride, he wanted to walk me down the aisle, he wanted a father/daughter dance, he wanted a toast, he wanted everything that comes traditionally with this.”

“Because he brought it up in front of them and because I was slightly annoyed by him bringing it up again without clarifying he wasn’t okay with sharing the role, I told him no again.”

“I also told him I had already asked grandpa. This was in front of both families and it did start a debate over this.”

“Once I realized I was hated for saying no, by his family, and some of my mom’s family including my mom disliked that I couldn’t let him do it—but some were on my side—I decided to leave.”

“My stepdad told me I had humiliated him and made the dinner all about me. I said he brought it up first.”

“He told me kindness and decency would suggest I not turn him down in front of everyone. He tried to use being in a more public setting to try and pressure me into agreeing to what he wanted.”

“He didn’t think I would want to disappoint my mom by saying no when she was there or that I would feel pressured with both their families there. I also got a very angry message from one of his siblings and another from the same sibling on behalf of his parents.”

“They told me I had no business treating him this way. When I didn’t reply to this person either time my stepdad told me I was going out of my way to behave inappropriately and to hurt him.”

“The importance of my paternal family in my life has always been an issue for my stepdad and his family, but especially the importance of grandpa.”

“For many years my stepdad has been jealous and his family has commented that I shouldn’t need my grandpa because I have my stepdad.”

“He’s jealous because he knows I still love and miss my dad. He knows I get something from my dad’s family and especially grandpa that he can never give me.”

“That I have a bond with my paternal family that I will never ever have with him. It bothers him that I cling to my dad so much still and that he could never really take over what my dad left behind.”

“So his jealousy is tied up in the fact he could never be my ‘dad’—as in the sole dad in my life.”

“My grandfather is my dad’s dad. He’s a part of my dad who would represent him on my wedding day. If either of them were to be more fitting of that role, it would be my grandpa.”

“But I had wanted both.”

“I’m not going to say my grandpa can’t because my stepdad wants to be the only one. My stepdad is not my dad and he was never going to be the only one filling the role.”

“I have never felt a dad/daughter bond with him. My stepdad’s place in my life is different to the role my dad had or would have today. But it’s still important. Just not the same and no amount of time changes that for me.”

“My grandpa represents my dad more than my stepdad ever will and for that reason alone I have wanted grandpa to be part of my wedding for many years.”

“I made it very clear I wanted my grandpa to do it, too. He said he wasn’t okay with that and I needed to have just him.”

“Well, just him is not an option. Just grandpa is. Which is what I decided to go with.”

“My grandpa also had a big role in raising me. My stepdad doesn’t like that, but that makes it no less true.”

“His family have expressed their dislike for me several times because I have the relationship with grandpa that they feel I should have with their son.”

“My stepdad expected an apology. When he didn’t get one, he told me yet again that he didn’t like my behavior at the dinner.”

“I never wanted his family at my wedding, but I would have invited them for him. But now I’m not so sure about him being there.”


The OP summed up their situation.

“I refused to let my stepdad become father of the bride and do the honors he wanted to have at my wedding, in front of his family and my mom’s family.

“While I was frustrated and he brought it up first in front of everyone, I didn’t have to respond and I did not have to make it so very clear in front of everyone that he wasn’t asked when my grandpa was.”

“This is where I feel I could be an a**hole because I imagine it made the whole ordeal more uncomfortable.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA, you actually did ask him to participate as a father in your wedding. He should be happy you have a great relationship with your grandpa as well and it makes no sense for him to be jealous.”

“In a sense it was him who rejected being there for you because he decided he’d rather act like a kid than actually be there for his stepdaughter.”

“I’m sorry that you have to go through this OP, it’s hard to set your boundaries when you’re surrounded by toxic people, but you did it and you should be proud of yourself!” ~ ladyuckyou

“He also admitted to trying to manipulate you by bringing it up in front of everyone, assuming you’d fold. That’s not very good ‘fatherly’ behavior. NTA.” ~ iamhekkat

“Once you reach the point of trying to argue and manipulate your way into the position of ‘most important man in someone’s life,’ you’ve already lost. NTA.” ~ asuddenpie

“This is what I never understand about these situations. I can imagine being a stepparent and being privately disappointed that my stepchild didn’t seem to care for me as much as I care for them.”

“But I can’t imagine thinking that I would gain anything by pitching a fit or trying to force the stepchild to make symbolic gestures, much less trying to force the stepchild to ice out someone else they love.”

“Also, if you genuinely love someone, why would you put them through a bunch of drama like this and create a bunch of bad memories during what is supposed to be a happy time?”

“It really sounds more like outsized ego than disappointed love to me. NTA.” ~ Interesting-Fish6065

“It all comes down to a sense of entitlement. He feels since he put in ‘all this time and energy’ into raising OP, he’s entitled to be the sole father figure and receive all the spoils which come with the title.”

“OP’s relationship with their grandfather threatens the ‘sole father figure’ title, and thus makes him insecure. All stepdad cares about is recognition and praise for ‘stepping up’.” ~ Formal-View8451

“NTA—regardless of who you asked, the way he approached this publicly to try and force you into the decision he wanted was not appropriate.”

“I get him feeling hurt, but this isn’t how to handle it and he’s just making this situation so much worse.” ~ jrm1102

“Just remove him from all roles. If he and anyone threatens to not come to your wedding, then let them do that.”

“Save that money for a better honeymoon or other expenses. Nothing wrong in a smaller wedding. NTA.” ~ queenlegolas

The OP added:

“There’s no way for me to make everyone happy here. If I make my stepdad, his family and my mom happy, I’ll make myself unhappy.”

“If I tell my grandpa I changed my mind and just want my stepdad, then it will be a lie and I won’t look back on my wedding fondly.”

“If I give him another chance to accept sharing the role, my stepdad, his family and my mom won’t be happy. They’ll say it was disrespectful to him to be asked to share the role.”

“I can’t talk to him about it more because he’s been jealous of my relationship with my paternal side as well as the love I have for my dad basically the whole time he’s been married to mom. He would need a professional to help him work through all that.”

When someone gives you an ultimatum, they have only themselves to blame when it doesn’t go their way.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.