My name is Erika and this is my first post here. I'm on the brink of engagement and am having to face an issue I've avoided for years. I'm at a loss and am very interested in any advice that can be given to me since this is something I can't exactly talk to my family about.
I do not have a close relationship (or any type of positive relationship) with my biological parents. I was conceived from the event of a one-night stand. When my biological father found out my mother was pregnant, he skipped town until almost a year after I was born. He later returned and became involved in a very unhealthy and abusive relationship with my mother that they are still both in to this very day. Upon entering the relationship, my mother discovered that he did not want a child and, since she wanted him, she didn't either. Needless to say, I was practically forgotten about by the two of them and was raised by my great-grandfather, great-grandmother, and great-aunt. Now, at 21 years of age, I have made peace with the situation and have limited contact with both of my parents even though they live 3 houses down the street from me.
My great-grandfather (who legally adopted me) has passed on and, without a father-figure in my life, I have no idea who could walk me down the aisle and "give me away". The closest person I have as a father-figure is my best friend's father. To add on to the dilemma, when the seating of the mothers is to take place, I am uncertain who should sit in the 'mother' section on my side. Should it be my great-grandmother, great-aunt, my best friend's mother (since I'm very close to her, as well), or my biological mother that takes part in the wedding? I am grieved with the idea of my biological parents being at my wedding and having them know that I chose not to allow them to be apart of my wedding. I know what it is like to be hurt by the people who are supposed to love you the most. I do not want them to have the same feelings about me even though they chose to push me away. My main concern is my mother. While I am not close with her, she is in an abusive relationship by choice and she chose to let me go, but I feel like not allowing her to be apart of the wedding would be too much for her. At the same time, I do not think it is fair to me or the other three women in my life who have helped me so much to allow my mother to be apart of it when she has done nothing.
My family is pretty bizarre and, while I chose to go against the flow of them, I do not want my future in-laws to think I am a reflection of my parents and my crazy family. I do not want to be the person who has four mothers be seated on the first row compared to my future hubby's one. How should I go about handling this situation properly and stop feeling guilty and upset?
Considering all you have been through in your young life, I think you are doing just great.
You do not need to grab the nearest male to escort you down the aisle. It is perfectly OK for a bride to walk with the closest woman in her life, or even walk in alone. Sometimes couples (bride and groom) walk in together.
What I suggest you do is think of who has done the most to make you who you are today. Who has been the most positive, consistant person in your life. Ask that person, male or female, to escort you down the aisle.
Or, go alone.
As for the "mothers" seat, it's the same thing. Who has been a "mother" to you? Put that person (or persons) in the mothers seat. Your bio-mom can sit in the next seat back.
I'd like to bet that all your friends and relatives know of your situation. I'd like to further bet they will be totally OK with your mother being "demoted" to the second or third pew. This situation was not of your making and you have nothing, NOTHING, to be ashamed of.
From what you said in your message, I sure would understand. I'd be surprised if you invite either bio-mom or bio-dad at all. Personally, I'd be very tempted to just leave them at home, where they can continue their disfunctional relationship.
Erika, you sound like a caring and considerate young woman and I feel certain that everyone in your family recognizes that. They also are certainly aware of your situation- what it has been and what it is now. Frankly, it doesn't sound as though your biological parents deserve to have any part in your wedding. I wouldn't even fault you if you decided not to invite them at all. (Though that is, of course, entirely your decision and I am not encouraging you one way or another, I'm just saying that I think people would understand if you chose to keep them at arm's length on such a special and emotional day.)
Do what YOU want to do. Who do YOU want to walk you down the aisle? If you feel that there have been one or two people who have been there for you your entire life- regardless of who they are and whether or not you are actually related to them- then I would suggest you have them walk you down the aisle. If there are 3 or more such people you could do one of two things: have one walk you down part of the aisle, pass you off to the next one who walks you a little bit more before passing you off to the next one and so on or you could simply walk yourself down the aisle, an option that a LOT of brides take for all sorts of various reasons. Just keep in mind that the first suggestion can get a little messy if too many people are involved! Also keep in mind that there is no rule that says it has to be a guy who walks you down the aisle- why not ask your great-grandmother? She would probably love it!
As for the seating, I see no problem with having four mothers sitting in the front row. Will it be crowded? Maybe- but it will just remind you that while you may have issues with your biological parents you still have a LOT of love in your life.