Divorced Parents Is Something Tons of Wedding Couples Deal With

I was reading a wedding forum recently where a bride was conflicted by the actions of her divorced parents. Her mother wouldn’t attend her wedding if her dad’s girlfriend was there. The mother was even in a relationship herself and still refused to attend. She still wanted her boyfriend to attend though.

First off, this is just petty. The mom has a new relationship and has no reason to be worried or jealous of her ex-husband of ten years and his new girlfriend.

Second, you have no excuse to miss your child’s wedding in this case.

My wife has divorced parents and they got along just fine at my wedding. Her step-dad was even buying drinks for her dad. My half-sister had to deal with divorced parents at her wedding, and again there were no incidences.


Because these people knew how to be adults and accept the situation so they could enjoy their children’s weddings.

If you are having to deal with divorced parents at your wedding, or not wanting to go to your wedding, here are some tips to make the day go smoother.

Separate Their Reception Tables

This one is pretty much a no-brainer.

If your divorced parents don’t get along, separate their reception tables with another table in between.

Make it a grandparents table or just a general seating table. The random guests will be happy to get a front-row seat to your reception, and there will be some much needed space between parents.

Have A Talk Beforehand

If one of them is refusing to come, then it is time for THE TALK.

This is your wedding day, so you need to set the ground rules. Sit down with each of your parents separately and talk to them as an adult instead of as their child.

Tell them that you respect them and their wishes, but that there are situations in life that adults have to deal with that they may not like. Let them know that you will be disappointed if they do not show up to your wedding, and that there will be a prolonged period after your wedding that you will not be speaking to them as a result of your disappointment in them to meet their obligations.

If you give them consequences, you must stick to them.

I know it seems like I am describing dealing with a child here, but it really is childish behavior. Setting boundaries with your relatives, even your parents, is the most important way to foster a healthy relationship.

Make Them Pay For Your Videographer or Photographer

In the case that you choose not to be sour that they don’t want to come, you can still set some boundaries and consequences.

Tell your difficult parent that you will not be showing them any photos or videos of your wedding if they refuse not to come, with the stipulation that if they pay for your photographer or videographer you will still show them. Not only does this give monetary consequences to them for them not coming to your wedding, but it will alleviate some of the burden of paying for your wedding.

This may seem like it is petty or blackmail, but parents who are present on the wedding day generally help keep things moving smoothly by picking up, directing people, and helping clean up (at least in the midwest they do). If they choose not to partake in helping you celebrate your day, they should at least pay if they want to be able to see your wedding after not wanting to attend in the first place.

When I used to film wedding I would also offer DVDs included in the every package for the wedding couple and each set of parents, divorced or not. We know things with divorced parents can be stressful, so we tried to make it easy!

Kick Them Out of the Wedding

You are an adult now, and that doesn’t give your parents the right to reverse roles and act like children.

Don’t be afraid to ask them to leave your wedding if they are beginning to cause a scene. It is your day and you shouldn’t have to deal with the stress of your parent’s squabble.

Tell them to behave or get out. The fact that they cannot act like civilized people for 1 day should be enough motivation for you to not let them ruin your day.

Again, set boundaries.

Enforce them.

Above All, Don’t Stress

Above all else, don’t let the situation stress you out.

You are supposed to enjoy your wedding day. You will have the rest of your life to avoid being in the middle of your divorced parents. Tune them out and enjoy your day. Your wedding is once-in-a-lifetime, and should be treated as such.

If you sense tensions rising, send one of your bridesmaids or your personal attendant to kindly ask them to separate and try to enjoy the evening. If they try to ruin your day, see the previous tip.

It is your day, no if, ands, or buts. Let your parents know your thoughts on the matter and hopefully it won’t have to go any further.

Do you have a different way of handling divorced parents at a wedding?
How did you handle it at your own wedding?
Any other advice on how to keep things civil between the feuding parties?
Sound off in the comments below!