Sunday, November 29, 2009

When Parents Act Like Children

From the time that the Architect and I got engaged, we knew that we were going to have a big hurdle to overcome in our wedding planning process. While we want our wedding to be an awesome party for all of our closest friends and family, there is a small detail that gets in the way. The architect's parents are divorced.

Now this isn't the friendly kind of divorce where after many long years the parents have learned to be "friends" again and appreciate each others' quirks. This isn't the kind of divorce where the parents put on a happy face and just grin and bear it through events that they both should be present at like college graduations... or weddings. This is the nasty kind of divorce, with court hearings and custody battles. The architect's parents have not had a civil conversation with one another since their divorce, almost 20 years ago, and I'm pretty sure they haven't even seen each other in the last 10 years.

Now, along comes our wedding into the mix. The Architect is on good terms with both of his parents, so both his mom and his dad will certainly be attending the wedding. Naturally, the Architect is a little stressed out b/c his family dynamics are going to be placed on center stage for the entire weekend of the wedding. We would like to be sensitive to the wishes of both of his parents throughout our wedding weekend. Afterall, we know that it is going to be extremely stressful for them to have to see each other at wedding-related events. Still, we also sort of kind of wish they would just GROW UP a little bit and be mature adults when it comes to the need to see each other. Afterall, their son is getting *married*. If there was ever a day that called for putting our differences aside, this is it.

There are a number of things we are planning on doing to ensure that the wedding weekend goes smoothly for all involved parties. There are also some outstanding issues that we have no idea how we're going to handle.

  • When it comes to drawing up the seating chart we will be placing the Architect's mom and dad at different table that are far away from each other.
  • When it comes to making hotel reservations for our wedding, we will be making sure that the Architect's parents end up at different hotels from one another... and we will also try to assure that the two hotels are far away from each other.
  • We will not be participating in the lovely wedding tradition that is the anniversary dance. While I have absolutely loooved anniversary dances at other friends' weddings, we do not want to be highlighting the fact that my parents are still happily married after 30+ years, while the Architect's parents are decidedly not. (Both of his parents are in serious long-term relationships, but neither has ever remarried... ya' know, b/c a nasty divorce can make you never want to get back up on that horse ever again.)
  • ...and just in case things get ugly... we will have our groomsmen on alert just in case anyone needs to be *ahem* politely asked to leave the wedding festivities
One of our remaining problems has to do with the rehearsal dinner, which will be fairly small and hosted by the Architect's mom. Seeing as this will be a fairly intimate affair, and she is paying for it, the Architect's mom doesn't want the Architect's dad to be invited. My initial reaction is that it's fairly bad manners to not invite the father of the groom to the rehearsal dinner, but I also understand where the Architect's mom is coming from. Basically, we have no idea how we're going to deal with this little issue quite yet, so suggestions are certainly welcome.

Do you or your fiance have divorced parents? Is their divorce causing issues with your wedding planning? Do you have any good advice for how to deal with parents when they don't act like the grown-ups that they are supposed to be?

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