Stepparents at the wedding? Experts advise being inclusive

With a loving act of kindness, Brittany Peck’s dad made her wedding-day dream come true.

Just before her father, Todd Bachman, walked her down the aisle on Sept. 26, 2015, he stopped the processional and continued down the aisle alone to grab the hand of her stepfather and make a surprise invitation that left everyone teary-eyed.

“He asked my stepdad to stand up and said, ‘You deserve this just as much as I do. Will you help me walk our daughter down the aisle?'” Peck recalled, adding that just she and her groom, Jeremy Peck, and their photographer knew of her dad’s plan.

For Peck, 22, whose parents split up when she was young and spent years fighting for custody of her and her sister, being given away by her father and her stepfather, Todd Cendrosky, was exactly how she envisioned getting married. But after all her family had been through, she never thought her father would share the spotlight with the second man Peck calls Dad.

“It was the best gift that my father could have ever given me,” said Peck, of Elyria, Ohio. “It was a dream of mine, and when it came true, it was so awesome.”

“Him showing everyone and me how he could just be so humble and put all their differences aside meant the absolute world to me,” she added.

The moment brought joy and inspiration to millions as the story and photos went viral.

It was a nice reminder of how important it is to be inclusive on your wedding day, said Darcy Miller, editor at large of Martha Stewart Weddings.

“It reminds people again that it’s a day to all be together, and it’s about two people getting married, and it’s not about whatever anyone’s personal politics are,” she said.

Miller believes most couples include stepparents in the wedding. While there is no set rule on how to do so, couples should consider family relationships and dynamics to decide what feels right.

“Sometimes it might be pretty straightforward, and other times it’s very complicated,” Miller said. “You, as a bride and groom, have to know your family politics. It is your day, but it is also about your family and being sensitive to what works for everyone and making sure everyone feels included.”