How to Word the Invitations
- If your parents are divorced, the etiquette regarding how the invitations read depends on who is paying for the wedding. If one set (for example, the bride's father) is paying, the invitations would read "Mr. (and Mrs., if he has remarried) Joe Smith request the honor of your presence/pleasure of your company." If the bride's parents are divorced and they are paying for the wedding together, it would read "Mr. Joe Smith and Mrs. Sue Jones" (with no mention of any stepparents). If both sets of parent couples are friendly and hosting the wedding together, write, "Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Jones."
If Your Parents are Divorced and Friendly
- If the bride or groom was raised in a blended family, then you will have two separate families to accommodate in your wedding party. How you do this will depend a great deal on how your parents get along. If they have remained friendly and you are close to both of them, then plan to include them and any step-parents in the ceremony somehow---the bride's father could walk her down the aisle, for example, and her stepfather could read a blessing. Both sets of parents can sit with their spouses or dates in the front pew, and the stepmother would be the first mother escorted down the aisle; the mother is the last down before the wedding party. Ask siblings and step-siblings alike to be your attendants.
If Your Parents are Divorced and Hostile
- If your parents do not get along, or if one of them has had difficulty accepting their ex's new partner, you will have some decisions to make. A parent's role in a wedding is determined by their relationship to the bride or groom, so the parent to whom you are the closest should sit in the front pew, with your grandparents on their side occupying the second pew and your other parent sitting in the third pew. If one of your parents really cannot stand one of your step-parents, etiquette dictates that the step-parent should sit near the back of the church with a trusted friend. Have some heart-to-heart talks with these adults in your life---it will go a long way toward preventing hard feelings.
Blending Your Own Families
- If one or both of you have children, you will be forming not only a new marriage but a new family. It is entirely appropriate and proper to mention this in your wedding ceremony. Ask your officiant to add a section mentioning the children, if you like, and if the children themselves approve of the idea, they too can take "vows" promising to do their best to make a happy home with their new family without abandoning the old one.
Including Your Children in the Ceremony
- One way to blend your children into a new family from the beginning is to include them in the wedding planning and the wedding party. They can be maids of honor and bridesmaids, best men and groomsmen or flower girls and ring bearers, depending on their ages. You could make a ceremony of lighting a unity candle together or give them tokens (such as lockets or watches engraved with the date) as symbols of your promise to love and protect them. Make sure you know what the children are comfortable with, and assure them that you do not expect them to stop loving their other parent just because they have another family now too.
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