(Closed) Family Issues…how do I include everyone?

posted 12 years ago in Family
Post # 3
48 posts

                 As to where they should sit in the church, strict traditional etiquette could help you here. The parent who raised you sits in the front row with his/her spouse, and the other parent sits in the third row with his/her spouse. The second row is for siblings and grandparents.

    For dress shopping, if you’re paying for the dress, go ahead and just take your bridesmaids. Maybe take each of the mothers seperately to a fitting. If you don’t want to do that, just tell each of them you want to surprise them.

I might skip having the mothers light the candles, as it sounds as though that might make your mom feel bad.

Tastings, I’d probably go by myself, or if one set of parents is paying for it, take them.

The thing you need maybe to do is talk to each of your biological parents and expl,ain that you don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable, but you would like to know what each of them would like or expects. You can probably manage things better knowing if there’s some small thing in particular that is important to them. Kno.wing those maybe you can negotiate a little

Post # 4
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

First of all, you don’t have to include any or all of your various parents. If the set of parents who did not raise you has a tendency to sit back and not participate anyway, that seems to me to be an advantage here – as perhaps their inclination would be to be less involved anyway.  And the set of parents who did raise you obviously deserves some significant credit for that. 

The other question, quite frankly, is who is hosting the event and paying for the various parts of it?  If the set of parents who raised you are providing the majority of the funding, there are both duties and honors that clearly go to them (e.g., their names on the invitation as the hosts).  I agree with ninanina that they also sit in the front pew; your other set of parents sits in the third pew.  From that point on, I would involve them as much or little as appropriate.  If you’re buying your own dress, you don’t have to take either mom dress shopping, but if one of them is paying for the dress, you probably should take her.  If one set of parents is paying for the flowers, then you should go to the florist with that mom.  Ditto caterer, bakery, stationers…  If your parents don’t care that much about the details, then you’ve got no worries.  My parents are paying for most of my wedding, but my mom was seriously interested in only the flowers and the dress.  She has come to a couple of other appointments with me, as she has time, but the majority has been me and my Fiance alone.

If your various parents don’t mix socially, even if you think they get along (and it sounds like maybe not) I wouldn’t try to make them do things together.  It’s perfectly okay to have them at different tables at the reception, in different pews, at opposite ends of a very long able at the rehearsal dinner.  My Fiance is divorced; his ex’s current boyfriend is the man she was cheating with, and frankly neither one of us care to see him socially, although she and I are reasonably friendly when we meet in Starbucks.  It’s too bad that they can’t resist saying negative things about each other to you, as that’s quite unfair.  However, it’s sort of what you have to deal with, and it’s good that you realize that.  In some cases it’s better to do away with a "tradition" (like the candle lighting) or ask somebody else entirely to do it, or do it yourselves, rather than either showing some preference for one set of parents, or trying to get them to operate together as if there were no hard feelings. 

Post # 5
7 posts
  • Wedding: August 2008

I didn’t take my mother to my dress fitting (I live in Florida and she lives in Indiana). What you could do is have your bridesmaid’s go with you to pick it out. Invite one mom to the fitting and invite the other to come with you when you pick it up. They both see it, but don’t have to go together.

I would ditch the candle idea or, if you have one do it, have another parent do something else (like a reading).

Your biological father should walk you down the aisle. He raised you and he is your father. Explain to your mom that it is important to you to have him be the one to walk you down the aisle for those reasons.

Two dances with both your fathers.

Tastings – take the groom and maybe some friends.

I agree with the previous post that you need to speak to your parents individually and tell them how you feel. Let them know that you want to accommdate them, but also tell them that they need  to put their differences aside for your wedding.

Post # 6
192 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I don’t have answers for everything but here are my two suggestions.

1.  Your dress. I went totally by myself first and picked out several I liked and THEN went with my Maid/Matron of Honor.  I didn’t give my mother, step mother or Future Mother-In-Law any say what so ever. My Maid/Matron of Honor is my best friend and we shared that moment. I didn’t want the stress.

2.  Your unity candle. Again, same situation, who to light it? Mom or Step mother. So we’re lighting them ourselves. This is how it’s going to work. There will be pre-lit votive candles near the unity candle tapers during the ceremony. When it comes time to light the unity candle, I will light mine and my fiance will light his, and our officiant will explain they represent us seperately and then we will join the flame together and light the unity candle. I’ve yet to decide if we’re blowing the tapers out or keeping them lit. I almost think it will be instinctive to blow it out.

 Hope this helps a little bit.

Post # 7
388 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2020

You are wonderful to think of everyone’s feelings and I can only imagine how much pressure you’re under.  Just keep this in mind…this is about you and your husband getting married. 

Honor those that mean a lot to you, and give respect to those who deserve it.  But don’t make sacrifices to include people just to "save face".You don’t have to include both sets of parents in everything.  As a stepmom myself, I am so happy to hear that you want to include your stepmom in things. 

Let your dad do the big stuff like walk you down the aisle, etc.  Make a list like you did here and talk to each side to gauge the comfort level.  If they are OK with taking a picture together, great.  If not, do you really need a picture of them together, or will one with each separate family be enough for the album?  You’re probably not going to hang it on the wall, right?

 I think if you talk to both sides ahead of time to let them know it’d be uncomfortable for you, and all of them, to try to inculde them in everything, you will commit to them that you’ll assign each at least one significant task/moment and they need to trust you. 

You’re headed into your own family now, so they have to realize sometime that you’re an adult and you can make the judgement calls accordingly. Best of luck.

Post # 8
31 posts
  • Wedding: September 2008

I kind of know how you are feeling and I too was a little stressed about some of your key issues. Heres what I think:

Wedding dress shopping/fitting –  I think you should go with your bridesmaids. Everyones wedding is different, and you shouldn’t do something just because it is tradition or you have to do it. If you are more comfortable your bridesmaids and it will give you peace of mind, I say why not?!

Where should they all sit in the church? I think since there is really only one option for you and your parents you should stick with that option. You can’t force anyone to do anything, but let your parents know that this is the way it is, you are sorry, but its time to suck it up and be adults for one day. Afterall it is your day-not theirs. 

Mother’s lighting the candle at the beginning of the ceremony – Do you want to do this? If so, then keep it simple, go with your gut. Who do you really want to share this memory with? Maybe invite your biological mother to do this and maybe your step mother can participate in another church activity? But if it seems too hard to pick maybe choose your Maid/Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid or Best Man to do this.

Which father should walk me down the aisle? This one, I had a tough one with myself. I ended up choosing my biological father to walk me down, but I talked it over with my step dad first. They are both great men and have been there for me at different points of my life. But in my gut, I wanted my dad to walk me down. This is really up to you. I have even heard of brides have both men walk her down or one will walk you halfway while to other one walks you the other half. It sounds like you want your father to walk you down. Maybe just let your step dad know that you do not want to hurt anyones feelings but you have always envisioned your father walking you down the isle, I am sure he will understand.

Family pictures – I think you should take pictures with your family the way it is now. You, your mom and step dad-then you, your dad and step mom. I don’t think anyone would have a problem with that and that is who your family is. :O)

Father/daughter dance – That is a hard one too. I am doing two dances, but that is because I really wanted to have a special dance with my step dad. I think maybe stick to tradition and just dance with your father.

Tastings – I say whoever is paying for the food should go to the tasting. Thats what I did. And it worked out fine. If both are paying then ask your Fiance parents to go and nix your side all together. You dont want too many people there anyway.

I know this is hard and very stressful, but always remember that this is a special day of celebration between you and your Fiance. Your parents issues with one another should not overpower the wedding. I think communication is the key, the more you are open and honest with your feelings the less you have to guess if your are doing the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ thing.

Best of luck and in the end you will be married to a wonderful man.





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