Family & Friends

Dealing with Divorced Parents

By Dave Sugarbaker
With many thanks to Ultimate Weddings

You want your now-divorced parents to be there, but they get along like oil and water. What do you do?

Your parents are still your parents, whether they're married to each other at this point or not. Try to be as adult as you can be with your divorced parents, and ask them, for the sake of your wedding, to be adult about their ex, etc., at least for the duration of the ceremony. They don't have to encounter each other at the reception if they don't want to, but they will have to sit in adjacent rows at the wedding. Mom is seated in the front row with her "significant other," or present spouse, if there is one. Dad sits in the next row back, behind mom, with his "significant other" or spouse.

One further accommodation that is sometimes made is to suggest that your Mom's and/or Dad's "significant other" attend as a guest, but not be escorted to his or her place as other immediate family members will be. They either sit with other guests or are seated by an usher in the family seats during the general seating of guests. When the parent to whom they are connected is ushered in, the "significant other" is already there in his or her seat. Sometimes this works.

The order of seating the families if parents are divorced and sitting in separate rows

  1. Paternal Grandparents of Groom(in same row Groom's Dad will sit in);
  2. Maternal Grandparents of Groom (in same row Groom's Mom will sit in);
  3. Paternal Grandparents of Bride (in same row Bride's Dad will sit in);
  4. Maternal Grandparents of Bride (in same row Bride's Mom will sit in);
  5. Father of Groom (in second row on Groom's side);
  6. Mother of Groom (in first row on Groom's side);
  7. Mother of Bride (in first row on Bride's side).

This presumes the Bride's father is escorting her down the aisle. When the Bride's father is seated he will sit in the second row on the Bride's side. If any of your grandparents are divorced, you're on your own.....!