What’s a bride to do to find peace and have a wonderful wedding day?
#1 – Bury your own hatchet and keep perspective. The bride is the center of attention on her big day – but not the universe. A wedding is a celebration of love and happiness – not a weapon for wielding and wounding.
Your wedding is not the time to remind your sister about the “great” guy she divorced, or to snub your dad’s wife or mother’s new husband. Even if you blackmail one or both parents into ditching their current spouses during the ceremony, the emotional repercussions of wedding invitations can ring for years.
Think about the atmosphere you want to set for your guests. It may please you to no end to keep “him” or “her” from sitting down front next to your parents, but consider your guests and their feelings. Think about the legacy you want to build as you create a new family.
#2 – If you want for your wedding to be a family occasion, then treat it like one and honor your relatives. Honor your relatives by inviting them – and their current spouses. Part of honoring relatives is to respect their relationship choices. Even if you are friends with your sister’s ex-husband and have coffee every week with Uncle Ferdie’s jilted wife, the reality is that you owe respect to the relationships your family members have chosen to formalize and de-formalize.
Formalized family relationships rank higher on the pecking order than friends of the family – which is a status ex-spouses slide into by default. If someone has divorced his/her spouse, inquire discreetly about their feelings on a wedding invitation for the ex. Some people may not care if their ex-spouse is invited. Others may request that their ex-spouse be invited to only the ceremony or seated as a friend and not with the family. Some will request that their ex-spouse not be invited at all and be miffed that you would even suggest such a thing.
If you opt not to invite the ex-spouse, have a private lunch or get-together to celebrate your nuptials. And explain the situation – most will understand. If you don’t know them well enough to get together privately – you probably don’t know them well enough to invite them to the wedding anyway.
#3 – Ask your relatives to not carry their personal battles with other relatives into your wedding. Ask your parents to stop working out their own divorce and to bury their respective hatchets for one day. If Aunt Martha and Cousin Vinny don’t get along, seat them at separate tables and tell them both that the dance floor in between is a demilitarized zone that is not to be crossed.