How to handle divorced parents or tricky families at your wedding
Hello Brides and Girls!
Jenny Oz here- your wedding encylopedia. Today I want to talk about something a lot of brides and grooms have to deal with: tricky family situations at their wedding. Let's face facts: you are not just planing a wedding for you and your spouse, you are planning a wedding for two familes that will soon be one big family. There are a few things to consider when it comes to your families and any navigating you might be faced with. First of all, identify the members that will need some special attention, make a plan, deal with it and file it away as handled. This is not something you want to grow into an issue over time so the quicker it is dealt with, you can move on to the fun parts of planning. More times then not, any family issues that may have been locked away, can appear like a ghost at your wedding. So we want to have a plan and stick to it.
Keep in mind: it is your day, and most likely your family members who may be carrying some baggage will rise above - and how they are delicately treated leading up to that can either make it a very smooth process, or could create a ripple affect for the future. I am here to give you the tools to make it all smooth and peaceful so you can focus on all the fun parts of planning like decor, dancing, florals and more.
First of all, even if parents are divorced and remarried you MUST put both parents names on the invitation. This may seem like a no brainer but I have known a bride who left her mother's name off the invite and it caused major issues.
That being settled, if your parents are divorced and have other spouces, and everyone is 'friendly' you can absolulely add in something, only if you want too as an ode to them at the wedding. Sometimes a dance is a nice gesture but of course only after you have danced with your birth parent. My suggestion is to ease into that conversation and to feel it out (I call it a soft landing conversation) something like this:
" Should I feel bad not including _______ in anything since I want to do something so they do not feel left out?"
Then wait and see what the reaction is. If it welcoming you can then go on to say 'my planner suggested a dance with them that is more upbeat and fun, not as emotional as the one I will do with you.'
Next we move on to seating. If you are dealing with parents with new spouses, we suggest everyone having their own table to host. This way no parent gets offended if they are not at your table. You can also put people at their table who you feel will be supportive and positive for the evening. You and your spouse are then free to decide who you want at your table. The options range from: a sweatheart table that is just the two of you, a bridal party table (depending on size) a siblings table, or a 'close friends' table but this can lead to some friends feeling left out.
The sweatheart table is a great option for several reasons. 1. you do not offend anyone that they are not at your table. 2. You are up and walking around most of the time and will need a break. 3. This table gives you two a homebase if you need a moment together to regroup. 4. It is a great photo opp while your speech givers are speaking from the heart to you both!
Last but certainly not least, we suggest you and your spouse get up and thank all of your parents and step parents. This may seem like a small thing but trust us after all the thousands of weddings we have put on, it will score major points for the future!