Sunday, August 20, 2006

DILEMMAS RE: DIVORCED/SEPARATED PARENTS (HOW TO DEAL)

I'm about to approach a subject that is VERY sensitive, and will most likely bring forth strong opinions as to how to deal--which may be different from my own. This conversation (unlike flip-flops, for example) will have more serious undertones, but the point of my addressing it is to try and find a way of handling it in a manner that will suit you--as well as your parents and other involved parties.

The issue of how to handle wedding-related issues as relates to divorced/separated parents is complex and multi-faceted, as there are a range of related sub-topics (for example, table arrangements, invitation issues, and more).

I am going to tackle one issue in each post, as I want to make sure each sub-topic gets the attention it deserves. The first issue has to do with the BAND/DJ -- you may not think there is ANY involvement whatsoever when it comes to the entertainment, but if you read below, you'll see that you really have to prepare for just about any scenario.

Although dealing with divorced/separated parents may be uncomfortable for you, the important thing to remember is that it's even MORE uncomfortable for your parents (as well as the step-parents, children, etc. who may also be involved).

A colleague of mine, Taylor, was telling me at lunch about her wedding, and the stress that resulted as a result of the insensitivity of the band that she had hired (as related to her husband's parents and the INTRODUCTIONS): "First, Jim's [Taylor's now-husband] parents are divorced. So the band in those stupid intros of everyone announced Jim's father and his stepmother as "the groom's parents" ... then he later announced Jim's mom as the "groom's mother..."

Ouch. Not only is this potentially embarassing to Jim's mother, but it's hurtful and unnecessary. Taylor said that Jim's mother was really unhappy with the situation and rather embarassed. I would like to think that the band members didn't act this way maliciously--and simply were bumbling idiots and didn't know quite how to handle the introductions (or perhaps didn't know about the actual relationships of all parties involved).

Introductions as relate to divorced parents can definitely be tricky - especially if one individual is the "odd man out" -- here, Jim's mother was sans-date -- while Jim's father had re-married, and was with his new wife.

However, I do believe that it's imperative that the bride and groom think in advance about this issue--and how best to make sure everyone involved is comfortable and at ease.

Therefore, THINK about the introductions in advance, and TALK/COMMUNICATE with your band about how to approach each. My feeling is that Jim's father and mother as indicated in the above scenario should have been introduced together as "the groom's parents" -- why? Because they are! But if you're comfortable with a different approach, you should convey that to the band members as relate to the introduction, in order to make sure everyone knows in advance what will be said, and how the situation will be handled.

These issues are not easy, and I certainly don't believe there is a golden rule when it comes to something as tough as this. However, communication with those involved in the ceremony/reception -- particularly if they have some level of CONTROL in what will unfold, is an important aspect of the planning process. Why? Because this is an issue of major import to those who you love and may be, in your opinion, the most important guests involved.

More to come on table arrangement issues and other scenarios in this new series!

Stay tuned!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why we are not doing announcements. The people at are wedding know who we are, who are bridal party members are and who are our parents.

Also, we aren't doing an anniversary dance either. Ouch!

Megan said...

I disagree that it is more awkward or difficult for the divorced parents/step parents. Perhaps in some cases, but what about when the mom insists that if her bastard of an ex-husband (ie bride's father) is invited, that she isn't coming? Why make your child choose between her two parents? Why not just suck it up and be an adult for one day for your kid, play nice, have as little of contact with your ex and his new trophy wife, and save the drama for the next family reunion?

Twistie said...

If I had my way, the introductions of the bridal party and their families would be a custom that simply disappeared.

To my mind, anyone invited to the wedding should at least know the bride and groom, and any other introductions of important family members can and ought to be handled in the receiving line.

Then again, I can't stand DJs and band leaders who act as MCs. YMMV, but loud announcements of who is who get on my nerves.

Dataceptionist said...

what's an anniversary dance? Never heard of it....
And we don't do Parent announcements in Oz, just bridal party

Sarita&Pepe said...

This happened at my sister's wedding too. The DJ (my father's cousin!) introduced my father and his new wife as my "parents of the bride" and then sort of stumbled over my mother, introducing her as "the bride's mother". you could tell he knew he flubbed and there were gasps all over the room! not to mention that it was painfully obvious that my parents took off in diff. directions since my sis was smart and seated them on OPPOSITE sides of the room! (they are estranged to this day and i am in the midst of planning my own wedding!) anyway, interesting series...off to read more. thanks wedding fairy!