(Closed) how to honor one set of parents when the other set are deadbeats?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
353 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011


That’s a very difficult question. I have a tricky situation with parents as well so can symphatize.

You mentioned thanking your FI’s parents in your speech for raising such a great son, I don’t think there’s anything wrong in doing that. It’s perfectly acceptable in wedding speeches to sing the praises of your new husband/wife and thanking his parents would fit nicely with that. If you make the speech mostly about you as a couple and how much your Fiance means to you, you don’t even have to mention your own parents and I don’t think anyone would notice (except perhaps your parents). I agree you should not do anything to humiliate your parents at the wedding but I also think that people have to live with the consequences of their actions, if you haven’t been nice to your daughter then don’t expect a thank you at her wedding. And if that upsets your parents, tough!

I’ll tell you what I’ve done to try and deal with the parent situation. At first I debated whether to invite the troublemakers at all but I decided I wanted them there and instead I’d just do what I could to minimize all potential parent drama. Things I’ve done to this effect are: 

– invitiations in my and FI’s name only

– no parents mentioned anywhere in printed material

– no parents at head table. Instead we’re having the best man + fiancee and the best woman + husband

– paying for the wedding ourselves. Not easy but extremely helpful in making it clear to all parents that we’re calling the shots

If I were you I’d probably try and avoid situations highlighting the parent situation at the actual wedding and then do something with your FI’s parents privately, like take them out to dinner a couple of nights beforehand and tell them exactly how much they mean to you. Besides, I think it will be abundantly clear to everyone there at the wedding who you are closest to without any particular ceremonies. You will be honouring your FI’s parents by the way you talk to them and smile and laugh together, by the way you are comfortable with them and by the way they share your joy – everyone will know who is the more important part of your lives.


Post # 4
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

– The host’s (the person paying for the reception) names go on the invitation.  If you parents are not paying, their name doesn’t go there. 

– The toast at the rehearsal dinner is to thank people for coming and the host for paying (if you’re not).  Ask FH (who gives the speech, not you) to word things such that he doesn’t have to really mention your parents in depth.  If he mentiones his parents a little more than your parents, that’s understandable (he knows his parents better).  He could always word things such that it’s a compliment to you (“Thank you for being such a wonderful and beautiful daughter in to the world.”)

– You can skip the father/daughter and mother/son dance if you want to avoid any issues if you think there will be one

– Parents normally don’t sit at a head table – that’s for the wedding party.  The parents typically host a table on their own.




Post # 5
1306 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

Bumping. I think this topic is very important.  I am in a similar situation.  While my mom is not abusive, Fiance parents are certainly more engaged and supportive of our relationship and our lives.  One example that is small: they always shower me with Xmas gifts, birthday gifts/dinners, etc.  It’s just not like that in my family.  His family is also paying for a portion of the wedding.  

Trust me I feel you.  My in-laws aren’t perfect and I’ve bumped heads with them many a times, but are definitely more supportive and I want that to reflect in our wedding without disrespecting my Mom.  it’s a very fine line to walk as she already feels a little left out.  

Other thoughts would be appreciated!

Post # 6
7587 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2010

So we had similar issues but the reverse. My parents have been married for 30 years are loving and wonderful and gave us every dime they could to help us, even though we could pay it on our own. They went to tastings and shopping and were so supportive. Even my dad sent pics of things he liked 🙂  DH’s parents are abusive and caused a lot of drama during the planning process and even at the wedding. They are divorced because they both cheated and have multiple issues. They aren’t great parents and we’ll just leave it at that.

On our invitation we used the phrase “My name and DH’s name together with their Parents”. Yes is showed like we honored them but we didn’t call anyone out.  During our thank you toast Darling Husband made a blanket statement thanking everyone for everything and then did an extra mention of my parents. Saying “Cindy and Chuck we are so lucky to have you in are lives and for making us and our guests experience tonight magical because of the things you did. I can only hope that our marriage is as long as loving as yours.” Boom that was it. It gave my parents the little extra nod they deserved. It was perfect.

Post # 7
527 posts
Busy bee

Waffle and I both have divorced sets of parents.  Our mothers and step-fathers are super supportive and awesome.  Our dads and step-moms just…exist.  I doubt either of our fathers will show up for the rehearsal dinner.  My guess is they’ll show up for the big day and not even stay for the whole shebang.   That’s just how they are.

That being said, we are planning on doing what Unsuspecting Bride mentioned…

  • Invitations in our names
  • No programs
  • No parents at head table, wedding party and SO’s only
  • No father/daughter or mother/son dances

It’s frustrating and a huge bummer, but that’s our family situation.

Post # 8
199 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@Aubergold: wow – I can totally relate.

My inlaws are super supportive and are paying for a portion of our wedding. My parents are divorced. My mother is also being super supportive and is paying for my wedding dress and flowers. My father, who is remarried , has barely said a word. He hasn’t even offered any help (monetary, emotional, or even plain old enthusiasm). I am so bitter and resentful. Most of all, I am embarassed to tell my inlaws about his behaviour and his lack of willingness to be a part of things when they have been so good to us.

It’s comforting to see that I’m not the only one out there, but it’s unfortunate that anyone has to go through this.

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