Where Do Divorced Parents Sit at a Wedding?

Last updated on January 11th, 2023 at 07:53 pm

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Wedding planning is a complex affair in the best of times. More so if your parents are divorced.

You don’t want to offend your parents on your big day. Remember your wedding day is not the time to settle scores with your parents.

Key Takeaways

  • The seating arrangements for divorced parents at a wedding should be considered carefully and with respect for the present-day relationship between the parents
  • It is best to seat divorced parents in the same row, to make them feel honored, rather than putting a parent in the front row and another in the back row.
  • The decisions about walking down the aisle and the involvement of step-parents should be made based on the specific relationship and dynamics in the family, and communicated clearly to all involved parties
  • It is important to be diplomatic and avoid situations that may cause discomfort or raise awkward questions
  • Avoid settling score with parents on your wedding day.

Even if you have had issues with any of your parents, you have to respect them once you have invited them. The seating arrangement speaks a lot about the importance you give to your divorced parents.

Any lapses in a seating arrangement can make the evening uncomfortable for your divorced parents. Selecting the best seating arrangement for your divorced parents involves some prior planning.

Let’s try to help you through this tricky situation.

Where do divorced parents sit at a wedding?

There is no standard answer to this question. It all depends on the present-day equation between your parents.

Some divorced couples can’t stand each other. Others prefer to remain friends even after their divorce.

Some choose to stay civil to each other after the initial confrontation has cooled down.

You need to take into account their relationship and their temperament before finalizing the seating arrangement.

It is better to seat your divorced parents in the same row. It is ok if you cannot seat them together.

Finding a seating arrangement in the same row will make them feel honored. Putting a parent in the front row and another in the back row can look disrespectful.

You need to be diplomatic irrespective of your personal equation with your divorced parents. It is best to avoid situations that give your guests the opportunity to raise awkward questions.

If you have any doubts, seek their cooperation beforehand by explaining your stand to them. They will understand your viewpoint.

Make their seating arrangements clear to them in advance to avoid last-minute arguments.

How do divorced parents walk down the aisle?

As with all other matters concerning your wedding use your discretion to handle this situation. All eyes are on the bride as she walks down the aisle.

There can be many possible scenarios:

  • Often the most important person in her life accompanies her on this walk. Traditionally the father walks the bride down the aisle.
  • But there can be changes in the equation in blended families. If you are close to your father, he can walk you down the aisle.
  • If your father is walking you down the aisle, make sure to do something to make your mom feel special. This could be something like reading, a toast, or any other task that makes her feel special.
  • If your stepfather brought you up, he should do the honors. You may also choose both your father and stepfather to do the honors.
  • If you are close to both your parents, you may choose both to accompany you on the aisle.
  • If your family equation is really complicated then you can walk yourselves down the aisle. This is also perfectly acceptable in today’s times.
  • You can also ask your groom to escort you on the aisle.

Whatever your decision, make sure to communicate it clearly to the people involved especially your father. The father may expect the honor of walking the bride down the aisle.

If you are the groom and your parents are divorced, your mom would be ushered in and out first followed by your father. Your mother will get a seat in the first pew.

Your father gets a seat in the second or third pew. The divorced parents can be accompanied by their new spouses or dates.


Where do divorced parents sit at a wedding?

Does Stepmom walk down the aisle?

The stepmom does not walk down the aisle. She is usually seated by an usher.

Her husband prepares to walk the bride down the aisle. But there are no hard and fast rules.

It is your big day and all the decisions should be your own. A lot also depends on your equation with your stepmom and how well she gets along with the rest of your family.

Traditionally the bride’s mother gets the first seat near the aisle.

Divorced parents rehearsal dinner

Rehearsal dinners are good opportunities to get an idea about the present equation between your parents. Both the divorced parents and their respective companions should be included in the rehearsal dinner.

Give equal importance to your parents at the rehearsal dinner. If they are comfortable in each other’s company at the rehearsal dinner, you can expect the wedding to go ahead smoothly.

This is also the time to clear any minor issues.

Where does the girlfriend of the father of the bride sit?

The girlfriend of the father of bride can sit near him if it is a long-term relationship. Traditionally the bride’s mother is the last to sit.

She is also the first one to be ushered out. The bride’s father can sit with his girlfriend after he walks the bride down the aisle.

If the bride’s stepfather is escorting the bride on the aisle, the bride’s father and his girlfriend are ushered into their seats.

This is after the grandparents are ushered into their seats, but before the bride’s mother is seated.


Wedding divorced parents hate each other

This is a difficult situation that may need some tough decision-making. Especially if the divorce has been recent or very acrimonious.

This can also happen if one of the parents is miserable after divorce and the other one is happy.

In such cases, you would need to enlist the help of your siblings, friends, or relatives to handle the situation.

There would need to be some prior preparation and discussions. This situation can be aggravated if the new spouses of the parents are acrimonious.

In some cases, one of the parents begins a new life with the person who was responsible for the breakup of the marriage.

In such situations, you may have to request your parent to avoid bringing that person to the wedding.

It will be a tough conversation, but your parent will hopefully understand your viewpoint.

Sit with both your parents separately before the ceremony and explain why you need them both on your big day.

Politely request them to tolerate each other for your sake. If your divorced parents hate each other, seat them at separate tables at the reception.

Don’t force them to do any activities together. Let them stay as far apart as possible.

Designate any of your friends or relatives to keep an eye on the situation. If the new spouse of your divorced parent is the reason for acrimony, it will be better to drop them from the guest list.

Divorced parents wedding pictures

Wedding pictures are precious memories of your big day. You will ideally want all your loved ones to be part of the wedding pictures.

You will want your parents to be in the same frame as your spouse. But it may not always be possible.

If your divorced parents share an acrimonious relationship, it is better not to force them to share the frame.

If they have separate families of their own then take separate pictures with their side of the family.

Your wedding photographs should showcase the important people in your life. Your parent’s long-term partners can be included in the pictures.

But you are not under any obligation to include their short-term partners in your wedding photos. Like everything else plan the sequence of the pictures in advance.

This will avoid any awkwardness and confrontations at the last minute. Inform your parents about your plans for the wedding pictures and the people likely to be included.

Keep the photographer in the loop about your delicate family equation. Having everyone on board will ensure that the photo shoots move ahead without glitches.


Where do divorced parents sit at a wedding?

FAQ related to where do divorced parents sit at wedding:

Do divorced parents walk down the aisle together?

It depends on your relationship with them and their relationship with each other.

It looks beautiful to have parents accompanying you on the aisle provided they can be civil with each other.

Else include the parent you are close to. Do something else to honor the other parent who has been excluded in the aisle.

How do divorced parents walk into wedding reception?

The divorced parents can walk into the reception with their new partners.

If one of your parents has not found any partner, arrange for a friend or family member to escort them to the reception.

It will make them feel comfortable.

Do both sets of parents sit together at a wedding?

There is no compulsion regarding sitting together at the wedding ceremony. If they can be civil with each other, seat them in the same row.

Otherwise, you will have to seat your mom in the first row with her family. Your dad will have to occupy the second row with his family and friends.

At the reception, the divorced parents can be given their own separate tables to host. This will make the reception more enjoyable for them.

This will also avoid any unwanted tension and uncomfortable silences.

Other resources related to divorced parents at weddings:

Wedding Ceremony Seating Arrangements — Emily Post

7 easy ways to seat divorced parents at a wedding – Insider

Wedding Planning With Divorced Parents – The Knot

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