Post # 1
What are the etiquette guidelines when dealing with an ugly divorce and a wedding? My fiance’s parents got divorced about 5 years ago and he has very little relationship with his dad as a result. I have never even met his dad. His parents have not seen each other in years and are on very bad terms. His dad cheated on his mom, pretty much abandoned their family, and has now married the other woman. My fiance cannot stand his step-mom and refuses to meet his step-siblings. He feels like his dad is lucky to even be getting an invite given what he’s done. I agree, but I don’t want to create unnecessary drama or breach any etiquette.
My fiance thinks that we should put his dad and step-family in the back at the ceremony and reception and do nothing to acknowlege or include him other than as a general guest. His mom would be up front, do the mother-son dance, be in pictures, etc. Is that going too far, or is it ok given the circumstances of this divorce? Neither of his parents are contributing financially, so that is not a consideration.
What have other bees done in similar situations? Thanks!
Post # 3
I think you should let your Fiance decide this and not question his decision. His relationship with his father sounds complicated and it’s probably very difficult for him emotionally. In these circumstanes, I think treating his dad like a normal guest is okay if that’s what your Fiance wants.
Post # 4
I know it is easier for us to comment, not being in the situation. But putting them in the back/ignoring them is, in my opinion, worse than just not inviting them. I’d ask your fiance whether or not you should even invite him.
I have a strained relationship with my mother and ended up not inviting her to the reception.
Post # 5
@coastalbee88: As far as what etiquette says, your fiance’s plan is just (about) fine. There is no such thing as second-class guests. The only roles at a social event are *hosts* (that would be either your parents, or you, depending on how you have worked that out), optionally guests of honour (normally the bride and groom if the bride’s parents are hosting, otherwise generally not recognized at a wedding), and “guests”. Not guests, second-class guests, and unwelcome guests. Guests *are* being honoured and cared for by their hosts, and the very fact that the father and step-family are getting an invitation is enough.
You will not, of course go out of your way to segregate or discount them. You won’t “seat them at the back” at the ceremony, because one doesn’t make a seating plan for the ceremony. They will simply sit where-ever they end up based on where ushers are seating groom’s family guests at the time that they arrive. It is quite appropriate for the groom to reserve a seat in a front pew for his mother, but he doesn’t do that for most of his friends and family, even though he respects all of them. If his aunties and frat brothers and so-on do not feel insulted by not getting special treatment, why should anyone else be insulted by being treated with the same care and respect that a host must give to every guest?