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Family & Relationships 7 easy ways to seat divorced parents at a wedding

23:35  26 june  2018
23:35  26 june  2018 Source:   msn.com

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a woman standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: That old feeling (Universal Pictures) © Provided by Business Insider Inc That old feeling (Universal Pictures)

  • Planning a wedding can be hard, especially if you aren't sure how to accommodate the divorced couples on your guest list.
  • To find out how to make a wedding comfortable for everyone, INSIDER spoke with April Masini, a relationship and etiquette expert.
  • The best way to deal with it involves a lot of communication and planning in advance.

Anyone who has gotten married will happily tell you that wedding planning is quite difficult. From figuring out bridesmaids, to establishing a realistic budget, to deciding where you want your wedding to be, it's no surprise that people in the throes of wedding planning can't seem to stop talking about it.

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One of the more difficult things to figure out, of course, is a guest list and seating chart — particularly if you are inviting people who used to be married but have since been divorced. 

Although it's difficult to gauge the exact rate of divorce in the United States, Psychology Today predicts the "lifetime risk" is around 42 to 45%. Because of this, it's statistically likely that if you are planning a wedding, there is going to be at least one now-divorced couple on your invite list.

To help figure out the best course of action, INSIDER consulted April Masini, a relationship and etiquette expert. 

Figure out how much drama you're able to deal with.

A lot of divorced couples will be fine being in the same room at the same time. But for others, you may need to decide if you're OK with having some drama at the wedding — or consider not inviting them at all. 

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"If your divorced friends or family members are at Defcon 5 and they can't be in the same building without taking sides and drawing a crowd because of their fighting, then invite them and be prepared for drama," Masini said. "Or don't invite them because they have restraining orders out against each other and you don't want any hijinks." 

Give the person a warning that their ex will be there.

Accommodating some divorced couples can be as simple as letting them know their ex is also invited to the wedding.

"If they're like most divorced couples and they can behave civilly around each other even though they may not feel that way, then tell them each, separately, that you're inviting them and their ex, and you wanted to give them a heads up,"  Masini told INSIDER. "This gives them the opportunity to decide if they want to attend or send regrets." 

When you're seating them, just use your best judgment. If they're both integral to one friend group, it's better to seat them together than seating one with the main group and the other with strangers. But if you can split them off into two separate tables of equal importance, that might be your best bet. 

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Try and make the wedding ceremony as inclusive as possible.

Wedding planning can be especially difficult if your parents are divorced. One way to deal with this is to consider how you might honor each parent equally.

a woman standing in front of Lupe Ontiveros et al. posing for the camera: Our family wedding (Fox Searchlight Pictures) © Provided by Business Insider Inc Our family wedding (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

"If you're going old school and want a father to walk you down the aisle, give your divorced mother a special honor that might be a reading, a toast, or some other special task so she doesn't feel left out," Masini told INSIDER.  "Modern couples have both parents walk each the bride and the groom down the aisle. If you've got step-parents, consider having them walk together down the aisle while your divorced parents walk you down the aisle. Or, you can be super-modern and walk yourself down the aisle."

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Basically, just think about what seems most natural for you and your family. If something seems like it doesn't quite fit, or will cause hurt feelings among parents, don't do it. 

Try to seat divorced parents in the same row during the ceremony. 

You know your parents best, so only you can decide what your parents can and can't handle. But, if you can, try and seat them in the same row during the ceremony.

"Seat the parents and step-parents (and dates of any parents) together or in the same row, so that you avoid putting one in a back row and one in a front row," Masini told INSIDER. "You want to avoid drama, but you also want to honor them by giving them respectful seating."

a group of people posing for a photo: The big wedding (Lionsgate) © Provided by Business Insider Inc The big wedding (Lionsgate)

If you're unsure as to whether or not your parents will be OK sitting in the same row, explain that this is an important day for you and you would appreciate their cooperation. Chances are, they'll listen.

Seat them at the same table.

The same rules apply for the wedding reception — if your parents are divorced and relatively civil, it's better to seat them at the same table rather than separate them.

"They don't have to be seated next to each other, but this isn't about them. It's about you and your partner, and the wedding. Your divorced parents should put on their company manners for a child's wedding," Masini told INSIDER. "Just avoid putting one of them at the popular table and the other one at the mercy invitation table."

Don't fall prey to ultimatums.

If someone is giving you an "it's-me-or-my-ex" temper tantrum, Masini said the best way to deal with it is to ignore it.

"If someone gives you an ultimatum, don't give it much time or thought," Masini said. "It's intended to throw you off track. Tell the ultimatum-giver that you're very sorry they feel this way and hope they'll change their mind because it would mean a lot to you to have them at your wedding in spite of all the awkwardness that comes when human beings have relationships. In other words, reframe the conversation, back away from the conflict, and take the high road."

Of course, there may be very valid reasons why a person can't be in the same room as their ex, so it can't hurt to listen to what they have to say. But if you know the ultimatum is frivolous at best, do your best to shrug it off — if they really want to come to the wedding, they'll be there. 

Acknowledge that rekindling romance is possible.

a group of people looking at a cellphone: It's Complicated (Universal Pictures) © Provided by Business Insider Inc It's Complicated (Universal Pictures)

It's certainly a possibility that exes may be so inspired by your own nuptials that they try to get back together (or, you know, decide to hook up for the night.)

"You may be the one thing they're happy about from their marriage and they may feel that old romance arise as you marry," Masini told INSIDER. "These things happen. Have a sip of champagne and focus on your own new life."

Of course, at the end of the day making accommodations for divorced couples at your wedding depends more on you and the people you know than anything else. 

But, with this advice, planning your own wedding should be a little easier for everyone involved. 

Related Video: Here’s How Much the Average Wedding Costs (Provided by GoBankingRates)


You Can Apply to Be A Guest at Princess Eugenie's Wedding! .
Grab the nearest available fancy hat!Eugenie is going to the chapel and she's going to get married, so let's brush up on everything we know about her royal wedding, shall we?

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