Blended families are everywhere, making it frustrating when wedding etiquette doesn’t extend past a traditional model. Try to relax. A wedding isn’t a strict set of traditions that must be played out. A wedding is an expression of your love as a couple and sharing that love with those you care about. It should include everyone and anyone that matters. We have answered some of the most common questions to do with blended families and weddings below.
How do we word the invitation?
Traditional wedding invitations are usually addressed from the bride’s parents but what do you do when parents are divorced and possibly remarried? This can cause a serious admin headache but there are a few simple ways to get around it. If your parents are comfortable with the idea, they could still co-host the wedding, just use their respective surnames on the invite. Or you can simply include both parents and their partners on the invitation, which is lovely if you have a close relationship with all involved. If that feels a little wordy then you can strip it back altogether and simply have the invite come from you and your partner. Simple wordings are becoming more and more popular so reduce your word count and skip the stress.
Where does everyone sit?
This is always the biggest practical concern. Who gets to sit at the top table? Does mum’s date sit at the front of the church or the back? How do we seat parents and step-parents without causing an all-out war? When it comes to the reception, a big round table in place of a traditional top table can be the answer to a lot of problems. It gives everyone equal footing and allows you to seat a larger number of people than a long, one-sided affair. For the ceremony, you need to go with your gut. Practically, you should try and seat all immediate family including step parents, step children and step siblings in the front couple of rows. If this simply doesn’t work or isn’t practical then look for sensible options and tread sensitively. Speak to those involved beforehand so they know what to expect on the day.
Who gives me away?
If you have a distant relationship with your biological dad and close relationship with a step-parent then this can be a tricky one. This is your moment and your wedding ceremony so choose the option that feels right to you, be that mum, dad or family pet! If you want to avoid any family squabbles you could simply walk yourself down the aisle or make your entrance together with your partner. Don’t be afraid to consider non traditional options if they work better for you.
Who should we include in the wedding party?
A great way to make a wide blended family feel included is to give everyone a role in the day. This works particularly well if your wedding marks the creation of a new large blended family. Make stepchildren ushers or bridesmaids or ask them to undertake a reading. You can even include a pledge in your vows about creating a family and ask all new members to join in. For many people who are part of a blended family or about to become part of one, much of the confusion stems from not knowing what is expected of them. Creating defined roles can make everyone feel more comfortable.
How can we make sure everyone gets along?
It’s impossible to make sure everyone gets along on your wedding day especially when longstanding personal issues come into the mix. You can ease the pressure on yourself by accepting it’s simply not possible for you to force people to get along. You can, however, smooth the way as much as possible with sensitive seating arrangements and by asking your nearest and dearest to put aside these disagreements to better support you on your wedding day. Try to avoid large amounts of alcohol early in the day to prevent celebration boiling over into frustration.
Blended families represent the way we live now. Include everyone you love in your day, try not to sweat the small stuff and concentrate on your own happily ever after.
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