Dr. Alan Viau

Handling Divorced Parent Seating

Your parents want to be at your wedding ceremony – but they’re divorced and don’t get along too well. Finding a seating plan at your wedding ceremony without them declaring World War III can prove to be a challenge.

I raise the subject delicately during our wedding ceremony planning meeting. “Who will walk you down the aisle?” I ask. It is at that point that the bride and groom will bring up their family situation. “Well… my (our) parents are divorced and … they don’t get along…” It is sad that parents can’t put aside their personal issues for 20 minutes for your wedding ceremony. However, that is today’s reality and it must be handled with sensitivity.

I’ve been able to steer through this diplomatic landmine of finding appropriate seating three ways:

Theatre Style Seating: The bride said to me that her parents were divorced and didn’t get along. “You see Mom left Dad for another man.” The groom pipes up that his are divorced but do get along. “You see Mom left Dad for another woman.” Yes this is 2012 folks!  With the standard theatre style seating your only choice is to have them seated separated on one side and the other. In this case the two dads sat together and the four moms were on the other side.

Cabaret Seating: If you room will allow it, you can have a cabaret seating arrangement. This uses small round tables where they can place their drinks and accessories. Each parent pair can have their own table. The set-up is also great for a cocktail wedding.

Diamond Seating: Set you seats up in a diamond shape. The ceremony is performed in the middle so that everyone has a view. There are four side – one for each parent if needed. It is also super for a larger wedding as it allows everyone closer in to the action. The wedding party is tucked into the aisles of the seats.

One final word of advice. If you really feel awkward about having one of your parents there – you can choose to not have them come. There is no need to have a tinder box ready to ignite at your celebration. My Sweetheart did not have her father there – which was fine with me. I’ve chatted with other couples who in retrospect regret that they did invite them. You may feel like you are negotiating a peace treaty – and you may be right. With these seating options, you can hopefully have a DMZ for 20 minutes.

Sign Up for Our

Enter your email address below to receive tips, articles and exclusive contests in your inbox.