It’s one of the most important days of your life, that special day when you finally say “I do” to the man of your dreams. But something in the back of your mind is causing your stomach to churn, and it has nothing to do with wedding jitters or whether the caterer will be on time. The problem is how to include your divorced parents in your wedding ceremony without causing a scene.
For some brides of divorced parents, this is not such a big deal. When parents leave on good terms and share responsibilities of raising the children, it’s not as difficult to plan. Things should go on pretty much as normal, with your biological father walking you down the aisle, and your biological parents and step-parents or significant others escorted in at the beginning of the ceremony.
Even if your parents are at odds with each other, but both have a great relationship with their bride-to-be, you’ll be surprised how easy it is for your parents to put it all aside for one day.
But what if it’s not a good situation? What if anytime your parents are in the same room, screaming matches break out? What if your mother’s new husband is the man she left your father for? The best thing to do at first is to sit them down for a talk. You are all adults now, and you should be able to have a discussion about how you would like the wedding ceremony should play out, even if you have to speak with them separately. This shouldn’t be a negotiating session, although you should be open to suggestions. Don’t be swayed by, “I’m paying for this wedding, it should go my way.” That’s just opening the door for dominance and superiority by that parent in an already dicey situation. The clergy member who will officiate your wedding ceremony may be available to speak with your parents as well to help defuse any animosity.
There’s nothing wrong with doing something different to avoid confrontation, such as walking down the aisle alone, having both your parents walk you down the aisle, or skipping the traditional father-daughter dance at the reception. Remember to inform all of your wedding professionals, such as the priest, the DJ and the photographer about the differences you’ve chosen to avoid awkward announcements.
Keep in mind there’s always an alternative: Eloping. It’s not the ideal situation, but neither is planning a $20,000 wedding ceremony that is ruined by feuding parents.