It is rare, in today’s society, to have only two sets of parents. Most brides and grooms have multiple sets. In fact, when a minister says, “Who gives this woman in marriage.” an entire town could stand and say, “We do!”
In a fairy tale world, all blended families are loving and unselfish, but in reality, attempting to bring the negative forces together in one accord can be one of the major stressors of planning a wedding, and of living happily ever after.
It is hurtful for a mother to sit alone, while her ex-husband walks down the aisle with his secretary, twenty years his junior. It’s difficult to swallow our pride and invite the step-parent who has been less than supportive, or against whom we harbor bad feelings, but it is often necessary to promote peace and good will.
It is not unreasonable to meet with these relatives and in a kind, but firm way, explain that your wedding is not the time to air differences, and that you expect from them model behavior. Don’t be unkind to anyone. If at all possible, swallow your pride and find some sort of common ground to begin to develop and grow a friendship with that step-parent.
Do not seat adversaries at the same table! Allow each set of parents to host their own table. There’s no need to invite trouble by placing them in an uncomfortable situation. This is not the time to air grievances or seek revenge.
Discuss it with your fiance, if you are uncomfortable inviting ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, or ex-spouses.
If you are serving alcohol, you would be well served not to extend an invitation to a heavy drinker. Not so much because of how much they might drink, though their welfare should be of concern to you, but because of their behavior when they become intoxicated.
One bridesmaid had a flask of spirits tucked in her garter. Between taking puffs of her marijuana and drinking, she was ushering groomsmen to the parking lot to enjoy fringe benefits. The photographer had to keep sending someone to retrieve her for pictures. She looked terrible in the pictures, and was an embarrassment to the bride.
With a little compromise, and a long hard look at your guest list, you can avoid any unpleasant incidents that could spoil your day.