The last thing you want to be thinking about on your wedding day is your parents divorce. But if they are both still in your life and still on the invite list, navigating their relationship and your desire to have them involved in the big day might be tricky. Incorporating divorced parents into the wedding doesn't have to be a nightmare, however. You can find a way to make it work for everyone.
"In an ideal world, parents would be able to put their personal feelings aside for your wedding day. But sometimes, due to personalities and circumstances, that just might not be the case," Lauren Schaefer founder of YWbL, a month-of wedding coordination company serving New York, Nashville and Chicago, tells Bustle.
"For parents that are divorced, I always recommend getting each parent involved equally," Schaefer says. "If one parent processes down the aisle, the other should also process down the aisle. If one parent is giving a toast, the other parent should be invited to give a toast as well. If you've included one parent's extended family in the photo combinations, make sure to also include the others."
Ultimately, Schaefer says, the quickest way to shake already uneasy ground is if things are not "fair" or "even" between the two parents. So try to do that as best as you can, if that's what feels fair to you.
Below, check out how women have planned their weddings, and the weddings of their loved ones, that involved divorced parents.
1. Conni, 33
"Well, my parents hadn't seen each other in like ten years before my wedding. There was not any walking down the aisle type of thing, but we invited them to each give their own toast at the wedding. We all took pictures together, too, everybody in both families. Other than that, we just made sure their tables weren't too close to each other and tried not to worry too much about it."
2. Megan, 36
"My parents (thankfully) worked really hard over the years to be on good terms after their divorce. And (also thankfully) remarried wonderful people. I wanted to honor everyone but also our family history. So, I had both my parents walk me down the aisle, and midway down the aisle my stepmom and stepdad joined us and we walked the rest of the way together."
3. Dylan, 34
"My father is pretty difficult and was pretty MIA after my parents divorce. I knew I wanted my mom to walk me down the aisle but also I didn’t want to deal with dad drama on my big day. I made him the greeter so that he saw everyone as they arrived and he knew everyone saw him and then had him give a little 'welcome, the ceremony is about to start' speech. It made him feel important to have that job and all eyes on him, at the same time it didn’t cost me anything and it got him out of the way so I got to have special time with my mom before the ceremony."
4. Stella, 25
"I helped my sister plan her wedding and that was something we talked about a lot. But we just made sure they both had a special role in the ceremony, and we asked for their input. One read a poem, and one gave a toast."
5. Cara, 32
"I had a city hall wedding that no one was invited to so I wouldn't even have to deal with navigating my parents. And then a big casual party after. That way any interactions they had was on them or if they wanted to avoid each other altogether they could do that too. I refused to take it on. It was my wedding! I just wanted to have fun!"
6. Nicki, 34
"My best friend, whose wedding I helped to coordinate, had both of her parents walk her down the aisle, even though they were divorced. No questions asked. They remained pretty good friends, anyway, but it was her choice to have them both do the traditional walk."
Know that while your wedding is to be shared with the ones you love, ultimately, it's about how you want to celebrate your ideas of partnership, love, and family. Honor that above all else.