(Closed) Looking for advice on how to handle divorced parents

posted 8 years ago in Family
Post # 3
7771 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

You have to trust them to act decent, but there is still no guarantee that they will.  Maybe it would be better to have less activities where they have to be together?  I don’t know, I am struggling with this myself!  I wanted to have a rehearsal dinner on a yacht, but my father had anxiety about being “trapped on a boat” with my mother, so I had to cancel that plan.  I am not sure a rehearsal dinner will work at all with my crowd…

It is tough, isn’t it?

Post # 4
474 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

My parents are divorced. The way I see it is, if they care and respect you they will not make a scene on the biggest day of your life. They are adults and should act that way. My sister had her wedding back in 2007 and surprisingly they were very decent. They did not talk to eachother, they were to busy talking to other guests.

Post # 5
202 posts
Helper bee

I have the same situation, my parents have been divorced since forever and I don’t think they’ve been in the same place at the same time since my high school graduation, which was almost 10 years ago! I know that my mom is definitely NOT looking forward to being near my dad – she won’t even agree to sit on the same side of the church as him! But, I think as long as she’s seated further away at the reception, she won’t make a fuss.  My dad on the other hand couldn’t possibly care less whether or not he sees my mom.  He has moved on in life.  My mom still holds a grudge.  There is also other family drama – my dad doesn’t get along with my godparents anymore (he can’t stand his sister’s husband) and some other ridiculous things.  So, seating will be a challenge.  But I’m just going to try to put everyone by people they like for the dinner, after that, they can worry about avoiding each other on their own. Good luck – I’m sure it will all work out! Laughing

Post # 6
46371 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I would speak to any and all parents involved and tell them that while you appreciate there is history behind their feelings, you request that they just be civil to each other because your wedding is your day not theirs.

Remember the line from the movie Bambi- if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

If they can’t be cordial to one another, request them to keep their distance.

Post # 7
1032 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

I really feel for you. I know how hard it is to deal with wedding stress and then have all the “divorced parents” stress on top of it. My parents also had not spoken or seen each other in 10 years. They do not like each other. I was worried and though I knew that they would ACT ok…I was worried about all the akwardness. I was so scared that it was going to be so weird and terrible.   I have to tell you though, it was fine.  There were a few moments where I thought about it but for the most part I was too busy to really thin about everyone else. Also…atleast on the day of, there will be so many people around you that there will be a lot of “buffers” between them…..and you with them together. It will be a flurry of people and activity.

As for meeting before……..I would just try to make it as big of an even as possible

I wouldn’t want to have them all go to dinner as parents.  

I had my parents meet at the rehersal. In a way it added more stress because “that was the big moment I was dreading” and it was my rehersal…….but I was also so busy and there were so many people around me, it really helped to avoid any weirdness

I would also suggest TALKING to them one-on-one. I talked to my mom and my dad before the wedding. I told each of them how I felt and how much stress I carried about them. This gave them a chance to tell me that everything would be fine and they would no do anything. It’s nice to be able to confess to them how worried you are and it’s nice to have them tell you that they love you and it’s your day and everything will be fine

Assuming that both of your parents are “adults”…….then you really should have anything to worry about.

BUT I do know how stressful it all is and I really have sympathy for you. I know it’s really hard and it’s not fair that we have to deal with that on top of all the other wedding stuff


Post # 8
611 posts
Busy bee

I come from a divorced family and my mom and dad and stepmom have never gotten along! Ever! But they know that when it comes to my wedding or anything pertaining to that day, they are to act like one big happy family. That day is about making me and my future husband happy, NOT about their petty differences! I have made it clear that (even though I’m not even engaged yet) they will act like adults and not children when it comes to my wedding.

Post # 9
815 posts
Busy bee

I am dreading the awkwardness of the situation.  By the time I get married, my parents will only have been divorced for two years.  To be honest, I worry that my mom will be too upset that he’s around to enjoy the day.  But I plan on sitting down and talking to each of them ahead of time.  I don’t want to assume that they are going to be fine, I want to know their feelings ahead of time and let them know mine.  I also want to make sure my dad knows that his Girlfriend isn’t invited before I send him the invitation.  

Post # 10
683 posts
Busy bee

I’m in the same boat as you and many others, and I hope it all works out for you. My good friends were married a couple of years ago and the groom’s family had some drama on their side: the mom had remarried her exhusband’s brother a few years later… something like that.

Anyway, the groom mentioned later that the two would-be awkward parties helped pin his bouttinere on, and later he saw them hug. It was a quiet moment. Most people, even in the most dramatic of circumstances, can put aside their drama for the greater good- your family loves you and wants you to be happy.

I hope that helps! I know I find comfort knowing that story when I think of my own family situation.

Post # 11
37 posts
  • Wedding: October 2010

I am studying to be a bridal consultant and I had a unit on special situatuions like this. According to my books its perfectly alright with have the mom and her new husband (if there is one) to sit in the first row at the ceramony and the dad and his new wife in the row behind them. Unless the dad has paid for the majority of the wedding, then it would be flipped. At the reception, put the dad and his immediate family at one table and the mom and her immediate family at another table. I hope some of this helps!

Post # 12
222 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Girlfriend, I am with you and I feel your pain!

I worried myself sick (literally sick-migraines, insomnia, and anxiety attacks) about our parents at our engagement party and surprisingly the evening went beautifully.  Not a single scenario.  I was amazed.  Granted I seated my parents on opposite sides of the room, but everyone mingled nicely.  My situation is unique-my dad’s side of the family and my Future Father-In-Law are close family friends, so I seated the dads on side of the room and the moms on the other.  It worked well for us.

My fiance’s parents are also divorced and he very simply says, “They are adults and if they can’t act that way for a few hours, then maybe they should stay home.”  What he says makes sense-at some point, they and we all need to move on.  

Hoping that wedding goes just as well!


Best of luck!




Post # 14
654 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

My parents have been divorced for 14 yrs (or something like that) and my father will not be attending the wedding. However if he was I know he’d be very offended by being seated in a second row during the ceremony. My plan was to sit them at opposite sides of the row and sit my brother/sil and my grandma in between them. But with that being said I recommend you do whatever it is you need to do to cut the drama and don’t feel bad for it!

Post # 16
804 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

I just told my parents that I don’t care if they don’t play happy families, I don’t care if they even say hello to each other I just expect them to enjoy the day and not start any drama. My parents don’t get along and a whole lot of really nasty stuff went down between them so I’m not going to ask them to pretend like nothing happened just for a day – it did happen and I don’t feel like faking it on my wedding day! LOL

For me I just want my mum to have a fun time and not be anxious or bitter cos my dad is there and I want my dad to have a nice time and not feel akward. They don’t have to be best friends, I just like it if they didn’t let each other effect their day! I’ve said this to both of them and because our wedding is fairly casual there’s no need for them to even speak or be near each other if they don’t want to. That being said I think they’ve both moved on sufficiently to say hello to each other and leave it at that. We’re not having seating plan either so I don’t have to agonize about that which makes it a bit easier!

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