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Divorced Parents and your Wedding

Weddings are almost as much about the parents of the marrying couple as they are about the couple themselves. When you are getting married and your parents are divorced difficulties can arise. Sometimes strong tensions exist between divorced parents and the bride and groom need do some damage control and keep both parents happy on the day. Neither one of your parents wants to feel excluded from your wedding plans, so avoid playing favourites.

A good way to do this is to include both of your parents in different aspects of planning- delegate between the truckload of tasks involved in organising a wedding. Basically, just consider what aspects of the wedding would be more appealing to your mother, and which aspects would be more in your father’s area of expertise.

In a perfect world, the guest list would be divided up into quarters: you and your fiancé would choose one half of the guests, and your parents and fiancé’s parents would pick out the other two quarters of the guests. When a divorce is thrown into the mix difficulties are rife, so just make sure that you allow both of your parents to invite the same number of guests. Naturally if your parents are in second relationships, then you should certainly allow them to bring their significant other.

Obviously, if your parents are divorced and do not get along well, you do not want to force them to sit together and have a miserable night, and possibly an embarrassing fight at your wedding. At the reception, they certainly should not sit at the same table. Just seat them at tables that are somewhere near the head table, and make sure that they are both happy with the other guests that they will be seated with.

At many weddings, the parents of the bride and groom will be asked to dance. Make sure that your band leader or disc jockey is well aware that your parents are divorced, and that they will not be dancing together. If your stepparent is the one that raised you and the one you're closer to, they can take the natural parent's role in your wedding, i.e. planning it, walking you down the aisle, etc. Etiquette states that unless you haven't had any contact with your father then he gets the privilege of walking you down the aisle. But really- in all fairness it should be the person whom you are closest to- and the same rule should apply to the father daughter dance, though in this case you should simply ensure that you dance with both men at some point during the evening.

If you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and everyone agrees, then perhaps both fathers can walk you down the aisle. If your parents get along amicably enough they can both sit in the first row. If your parents don't get along, your mother should sit in the first row and your father in the row behind her -each with their spouses or dates.

Remember that these are your parents, not strangers, and they should be interested in your happiness above all else. If you are worried that there is going to be a problem, talk to them about it.