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How to Handle Your Divorced Parents at Your Wedding

Your wedding will be one of the most beautiful days of your life – as long as you can keep the peace among the parents, stepparents, and their various significant others.


  • Step 1: Consider not inviting new partners Feel free to not invite anyone whose presence would put a damper on your big day. That includes a divorced parent you're not on good terms with, or a parent's new partner who may cause unbearable friction.
  • Step 2: Create the invitations If the bride's divorced parents are paying for the wedding, they should be listed separately on the invitations with the bride's mother's name coming first and the father's name on the line below – no "and" in between. If stepparents are contributing, they may be included, too, with the bride's mom and her new husband getting the first line.
  • TIP: Sending the invitation from just the bride and groom is perfectly acceptable, too.
  • Step 3: Seat exes according to their relationship For the ceremony, seat divorced parents together in the front row of the bride or groom's side – if they're on good terms. If not, moms get the front row with any new significant other, with the dads and any new partner a row or two behind them.
  • TIP: If a divorced parent is feuding with an ex's new partner, the new partner may be seated out of the immediate-family section, by themselves.
  • Step 4: Organize the receiving line For the receiving line, the bride's mom and any significant other take the first spot, followed by the groom's parents with their respective partners, mother first, and then the bride's dad and any new partner.
  • Step 5: Cut new partners out of the picture Have the photographer take pictures of the bride and groom with their biological parents. Separate pictures may be taken of the bride and groom with their parents and any new partners. If there's a group picture, have the divorced parents stand on opposite ends with their new partners.
  • Step 6: Omit parental announcements If you have an emcee who is announcing the bridal party, ask them to leave out the parents.
  • Step 7: Seat them at separate tables Seat the parents with their current partner for the wedding dinner, and put the couples at separate tables.
  • TIP: If you have a single head table where the wedding party is seated, place divorced parents at opposite ends.
  • Step 8: Go with your gut Adjust these guidelines according to how everyone gets along and what will make you most comfortable.
  • FACT: Jennifer Aniston invited her dad and his 2nd wife to her wedding to Brad Pitt, but she didn't invite her mother.

You Will Need

  • Etiquette rules
  • Your own judgment

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