Handling Divorced Parents of the Bride (or Groom)

If you're one of millions of people who grew up with divorced parents, you know how difficult the situation can be. Add into the equation your wedding and step-parents and the situation becomes much more complicated. The following tips should help you and your parent handle the situation with grace.


How do you word the invitations if it is the parents of the bride who are divorced? There are several options depending on who will be hosting the wedding. The first option is to use the name of the parent who raised her. If this is the bride's mother than use both her first and last name. If the mother and step-father are hosting, then use Mr. and Mrs. followed by his first and last name. If both parents, or sets of parents, are hosting, then both parents' names should appear on the invitation although on separate lines. Finally, if the situation becomes too complicated or there are fears of starting arguments, the invitation can be worded so it appears the couple is hosting the wedding themselves.

Unless the divorced parents get along very well, there may be some pre-wedding arguments. One parent may not want to attend if the other parent will be there or if their ex-partner's new spouse will be there, for example. Ease your parents' anxiety by sitting down and talking face-to-face with each one. Explain how much this day means to you and why you would like them both to attend. If your parents can't make peace for one day, give them the option of not attending.


When the parents of the bride are divorced, it may be difficult deciding who should walk the bride down the aisle. If this is the situation you are facing, decide who is the person you are closest to emotionally? If you step-father raised you, you can have him walk you down the aisle. If you feel your father's feelings will be hurt, ask both men. You also can have your mother be your escort.

Before the ceremony, carefully plan out where the divorced parents will sit. The bride or groom's mother should sit in the first row, along with her current husband and her parents. In the second row, seat relatives such as aunts and uncles. The father and his current wife and his parents sit in the third row.

Let your photographer and your parents know in advance what type of pictures will be taken so there are no surprises or hurt feelings. If your divorced parents will appear in the same photo, they should be separated by you and your spouse.


If you're planning on having a receiving line, divorced parents should not be stood next to one another as this can falsely convey the message they are still married.

Have only you and your spouse and your bridal party announced at the reception. Having divorced parents announced only draws attention to the fact they are divorced and possibly remarried.

Finally, do not sit divorced parents at the same table as this can be a potential source of stress and conflict.

While dealing with yours or your fiancé's divorced parents can be difficult, being cordial and keeping an open line of communication with them will go a long way to making your wedding day a smooth one.

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