Post # 1
Background: My parents have been divorced since I was 7. My dad was for various reasons in and out of the picture since then. They are civil to each other and actually managed to have dinner together with me and my sister when I graduated from college. He’s a nice guy who has made some poor choices throughout his life, and I don’t hate him or even dislike him.
That being said, he has no right to the formalities at a wedding typically reserved for father and daughter. I don’t want him to walk me down the aisle and I don’t want a father-daughter dance. The dance is fairly easy, we just won’t have it, but I need to get down the aisle. I’m sure it’s easy to type “it’s your day, just do what you want” but I also don’t want to be worrying about other peoples’ feelings on my day.
This is further complicated by my dad’s new wife. She’s nice enough — they’ve been together about 10 years and in those 10 years I’ve maybe seen her 10 times (Thanksgiving and Christmas for the past 5 years). She thinks she raised me. She calls my sister and I her girls. She has severly warped ideas about relationships and marriage. She thinks my Mom secretly wants my dad back and vice versa. She was LIVID when I got engaged and didn’t immediately call her. She saw a picture of my ring and badgered my dad about “why he didn’t get her a ring like that.” I am sure she will push for my dad and her to have more ‘traditional’ roles in the ceremony/reception and I’ve been engaged for less than 72 hours.
So bees with divorced parents (where neither is a horrible person) — how did you navigate your wedding? Any tips or tricks for wedding planning, seating at the wedding, seating at the reception? And generally handling the merging of not two families but three?
Post # 3
Will your dad talk to SM to cut out her act for ONE day? Can you afford a wedding planner? If nothing else, do not talk to SM about yoru wedding. Are you close to your officiant, if so, if things get difficult, can he or she talk to dad to get SM to relax? Is there anyone your dad listens to, maybe he has a sister? Someone who can explain to him that SM is an honored guest, not a parent.
Make certain photographer has a list of photos to be taken, and no one other than you, can make changes. Think about doing photos before ceremony, with a first look. YOu can say, to photo, we will start photos at 2, and tell dad to be there at 2:45. If you want, you can tell dad I want pix of you and mom and b/g, etc and THEN we can do shots of me and you with SM.
Make certain venue knows only you or Groom can make changes.
As to ceremony, can you ask one of the GM to make certain that SM doesnt try to sit in front row, and politiely makes certain she is seated, ahead of the mothers and GMs a few rows back.
As to reception, dad and SM should have their own table. If dad does not have any friends or relatives coming, you can put officiant, misc people there.
Post # 4
We’re dealing with this with FI’s family. His parents are divorced, dad remarried. I love all of them, but the way they talk about one another (well, the way that FMIL talks about dad and his wife, as I’ve never heard dad/his wife talk about FMIL negatively) makes me want to absolutely scream. FFIL and his wife are hosting our rehearsal dinner, so I had FI ask his mom if she’d like to come (though I knew she wouldn’t), and she said no. Then we were put into the awkward position of people asking WHY she isn’t attending and, because she won’t say that she didn’t want to go because of FFIL and his wife, she just mumbles something nonsensical and then leaves us sitting there, unable to say, “She declined the invitation because it’s being hosted by FFIL and wife,” because that would make her look petty.
Anyway, they can figure out where to sit at the ceremony on their own, but we have them seated at tables across the dance floor from one another, with my family in the middle.
Post # 5
@beeintraining: Tell them that you are skipping a lot of traditional wedding elements. If your SM gets pushy, maybe you can pull your Dad to the side and ask him to reel her in a bit?
Post # 6
You can walk down the aisle with your hubby. It’s very common where I’m from.
Post # 7
Oh dear! A pushy stepmother will be fun! 😉 My advice is just not to engage her – any thing she suggests that is not going to happen (ie your dad walking you down the aisle), just say “thanks for the suggestion, we haven’t made any decisions yet”. Or maybe later in the process, “I appreciate your suggestion. I’m going to walk myself down the aisle.” Good luck!
Both of my parents and my half sister have been married three times – my dad is on his third marriage and thankfully my stepmom is wonderful. She’s interested in the wedding and asks me lots of questions about how the planning is going on, but offers no input! She threads carefully, which I appreciate 🙂 Anyhow, my mom and dad get along fine, but they are still sitting at seperate tables!
My half-sister’s mom is my dad’s first wife and I’m very close to her, so she will be there too! So all three of my dad’s wives will be there, haha. My mom’s first husband is out of the picture, and her third passed away. Then there’s my sister- only her current husband will be there thankfully, but her mom doesn’t approve of the remarriage so there is extra drama there. So I have to put them at a whole seperate table as well!! And her new husband’s son has bipolar disorder and although he is a sweet kid (he’s 13), he is very needy and is constantly seeking attention. As in, it would not surprise me in the slighest if he ran up to her in the middle of the ceremony or something like crazy like that.
Contrast this all to my FI’s family- his parent’s have been married for over 40 years! I think he is trying to already prepare them for the circus! haha.
Sorry so long… good luck with all this!
Post # 8
I have pretty much the same issue. I am thinking about having either my bf (who is male) walk me down the aisle or my grandfather who practically helped raise me (My dad’s dad ironically).
Post # 9
@vorpalette: I thought it was just my FMiL who spoke like this! FFiL is an amazing guy. He’s buying our wedding cake for us, and his new wife is a lovely person. I have nothing against either side, but it seems all the spiteful comments come from one side and it isn’t his…
FH’s divorced parents can get along when they need to but behind backs is a different story. I’ve made it very clear with everyone that if they have an issue with someone they need to knock it off for one day. It really can’t be hard?
Leave your SM out of wedding planning. Tell your dad to tell her to back off if she gets too much.
Post # 10
We don’t have too many things planned in terms of seating, etc, but I do know that my parents will be sitting on opposite sides of the tent! After 31 years of marriage and a nasty divorce, it sadly seems like the best option.
Post # 11
@tiffanyscanlan: It makes me want to rip my hair out. Apparently his dad has made similar comments, but I’ve NEVER heard any. FMIL is still bitter about their divorce…that happened 25 years ago. She’s mad that she lives in a small, older house and that they “have all this money” and a bigger house, go on so many great vacations, etc. I really wanted to scream at her that they have almost NO money, they have a bigger house because they have TWO incomes, and they do NOT go on vacations like she thinks they do. They have two very active kids in high school (one heading to college next month) and spend a lot of money on that. Their vacations are trips up north, where they stay with family for free and do lots of free stuff. They’ve only taken ONE nice vacation, and that was a cruise that they paid for with money that they won from something.
If FI’s stepmom talks badly about FMIL, I’d never know it. She made sure that we invited FMIL to the rehearsal dinner, asks if FI’s brother has gone to see her, etc. FFIL always asks how she’s doing, if she’s talks to FI’s brother…they even ran into one another at the store and he helped her out (before either of them knew who the other was) and then stood there and chatted for forever. I don’t understand why they can’t just be civil. FFS, FMIL sits there and tells his older brother not to let FFIL/his wife touch their kid, and has told us a bunch that when we have kids, we can’t let the wife hold them at all. wtfffffffffffffffffffffffff
Post # 12
Well, I have a great relationship with all three of my parents. They’re all civil to each other, however there is some REAL tension between mum and SM. my step mum has been in my life since I was 7, and so has had a huge role. It’s not until lately that I’ve found out about a lot of my mums feeling toward SM, and why she feels that Way. My sm has said she would rather just meet us at the ceremony, not get ready with us…I know it’s not what she wants, but she’s trying to make it as easy for me as possible! It’s hard balancing these two roles because I know that my mum is my mum and nothing could replace that- but I really want my step mum involved too – it’s just so hard! Everything she is involved with, my mum feels should be her job.
We are having a cocktail reception so as to avoid the seating plan, I’m not sure what will happen when it comes to photos though? That I’m worried About!
Post # 13
@vorpalette: Ok, ok, are you sure you aren’t talking about MY FMiL?! Granted FFiL and FSMiL do take vacations with the kids, but like you said, two incomes. Beautiful house, beautiful cars, living comfortably while paying off the mortgage, all that jazz.
Don’t get me wrong, I love FMiL to death, but there is drama everywhere :/
Post # 14
@tiffanyscanlan: LOL I feel the same way. FFIL and his wife make decent money (probably about 3x what FMIL makes), but I know they have credit card debt. FMIL has very little debt, but she doesn’t seem to understand that they don’t really have a lot of money and thinks that they live in a mansion and whatnot. The truth is that they bought their house for CHEAP (because the owners pretty much trashed it) and got a redecorating credit with their mortgage to fix things. They have one newer car that they had to buy when their old (and I mean old) car died. Their van has over 200k on it and has to last them for a while. Sometimes I just want to scream at her that she needs to MOVE ON ALREADY.
Post # 15
Seriously, though, his parents were making it impossible for us to enjoy our day so we said screw it. We’re having a civil ceremony at home after our destination ceremony and are allowed exactly 12 people in the room so if they can’t behave, they’re kicked out!
His parents are divorced and his stepmother involves herself in all the drama she can get her hands in with regards to his mom, so it’s better to just ignore them and do what we want.
Post # 16
🙁 for a pushy stepmom (although it may make good stories years down the road! :P) You’re lucky that your parents are civil though – my parents divorced 23 years ago and are actually unable to have a calm, civil conversation without it exploding into full-on screaming within minutes. It was highly stressful to me as a child, as you can imagine. >.<
SO and I both have divorced parents but it’s going to be pretty straightforward for us – no dads at the wedding, because neither of us are on speaking terms with ours. I asked if he was going to invite his father and he said he didn’t know. So I asked if his brother did when he got married and he said he didn’t – so I think it’d be okay to take a cue from him! For me personally, I still feel too raw to even look at my dad, so I know I don’t want him there.