Coordinating a wedding and incorporating divorced families create a difficult situation for the bride and groom. Correct etiquette for a couple to deal with their divorced families helps lessen the awkward sentiments among the guests to ensure a smoothly running celebration. Ideally, the divorced parents can act grown up toward each other for their child's sake. If that is not the case, the bride and groom need to show respect for each parent and prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Standard Invitation Wording
- If the bride's parents are divorced, she will want to list both parents' names on the invitation. According to Crane & Co., a mother who is not remarried uses Mrs., her maiden name and her married name. Even if only one parent is paying for the wedding and reception, you should still honor both parents on the invitation by listing the mother's name below the father's name without using the word "and" to separate the names.
Remarried Parents and Invitation Wording
- A remarried mother changes the wording on the invitation. According to Crane & Co., if the mother has remarried, she uses Mrs. and her new husband's last name. A remarried father does not necessarily mean that the invitation wording must change. Etiquette calls for only you to list only the parents on the invitation. If the stepmother will be offended by not being included on the invitation, the bride can decide whether she is close enough to the stepmother to use her name, too.
Respecting the Host
- If one parent covered the cost of the wedding and reception, you might want to show respect by letting the guests know that he is the host. Making an obvious statement about someone paying for the celebration is not necessary. According to Crane & Co., using both parents' names on the invitation demonstrates the tradition of the bride's family giving the bride away and bringing their family together to celebrate. If you must show that one parent paid for the celebration, you can do so on the reception card.
- Creating a seating arrangement that will be acceptable to both parents is important in the church and at the reception. If a couple does not get along well enough to sit next to each other, seat them away from each other. According to Frugal Bride, the mother may sit in the front row with the father sitting several pews behind her. They can both sit in the same pew with relatives sitting between them, too. At the reception, the bride can make a seating arrangement with name cards to ensure that the parents sit at separate tables.
Who to Invite
- You are never required to invite stepparents if seeing them will upset you. If you have a close relationship with your stepparents, inviting them is a nice gesture that you want them to be included. Inviting stepparents can be a tricky matter if the invitation offends one of your parents. For instance, fights can ensue over whether your mother does not want to see her ex-husband's new wife. Your father may back out of attending the wedding if his new wife is not invited. Although trying to keep the peace may help the situation, some parents will not act mature enough to recognize that the day is only about their child and not themselves.
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