How To Accommodate Divorced Parents At Your Wedding

Wedding hall with violet ribbons

What Is The Correct Wedding Etiquette?

From invitations and seating plans to walking down the aisle, how do you include divorced parents successfully at your wedding?

Weddings are about the bride and groom, not their parents. Yet, families seem to have a knack of getting involved, and nothing makes this trickier than when one or both sets of your parents are divorced. In an ideal world, everyone would put history behind them for the day and manage to get along, but unfortunately not all sets of parents are able to let bygones be bygones. If you are wondering how to accommodate divorced parents at your own wedding, this guide will give you some ideas.


If either of the bride’s or groom’s parents have offered to chip in financially for the wedding, be aware that they may have some preconceptions about how much say they’ll have over your arrangements. It may be that they expect to be able to invite some of their own friends as wedding guests, and many expect to be named on your wedding invitations. Traditionally, wedding invitations include the names of the bride’s parents, as ‘Mr John Smith and Mrs Jane Smith request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of their daughter Elizabeth…’ However, if your parents are divorced, then it may be much easier to print ‘Together with their parents, Elizabeth Smith and Jacob Jones request the company of….’

Seating Plans

This is perhaps one of the hardest challenges to pull off when you have any guests who don’t get along, but when it’s your parents it is much more of a challenge. It’s important to note that there is no perfect resolution for everyone. Each family comes with their own baggage and what works for one couple, may not for another. It largely depends on whether your divorced parents are still on speaking terms and whether either or both have remarried or have a current partner. Your personal attachment to a new step-partner will also need to be considered.

Top tables have an extremely formal traditional seating plan which likely won’t work if you have divorced parents to consider. Instead you can opt for using a long top table with seats on either side of it. This can work quite well as you can seat each couple, along with step-parents or new partners at opposite ends of the table, and place cheerful bridesmaids and the best man inbetween to ensure that the atmosphere is kept light. Alternatively, you may opt to include only your bridesmaids and best man, along with their partners on your top table and choose to allow your parents to host their own individual tables around the room. A top wedding venue in Essex will be accommodating in your ideas regarding layout, so don’t be afraid to ask for any changes.

Special Duties

Whilst the mother of the bride does a lot of work behind the scenes, the father of the bride has a much more public role with duties such as accompanying the bride to the ceremony, walking down the aisle, the father of the bride speech and finally the father-daughter dance. If you have a stepfather who has also played a large part in your upbringing, then you may want to involve him to a certain degree also. There are more than enough jobs at your wedding for you to be able to give your father and step-father a key role, but it’s really important to be upfront with your family early on about your wishes.

Remember that as challenging as family politics can be, it’s your wedding at the end of the day so be fair but firm, and enlist the help of any siblings or close friends to ensure that everyone behaves on the day!