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Q: I don't have a great relationship with my dad. How can I avoid drama with him at my wedding?
A: "No matter what your relationship has been like, there's probably a small part of you that's still clinging to the idea of the father you wish you'd had," suggests Dr. Meeker. But it's very important that you give up any notions of what a 'perfect' father is supposed to be like." Additionally, realize that your dad may be experiencing feelings of guilt and/or regret, so ask him to be supportive, respect your wishes, and deal with his own emotions behind the scenes. "If you or your father want some type of reconciliation, that should happen either long before or long after the wedding," says Meeker. "The day of your wedding should be all about you and your husband."
Q: My father and stepfather will both be at the wedding. How do I make sure that neither feels left out?
A: "First, decide what role you'd like each dad to play," says Meeker. "If you're closer to your stepfather, it's perfectly reasonable to ask him to walk you down the aisle. If you're close with both and want your father to escort you down the aisle, your stepfather should honor your wishes. In turn, ask him to give a reading at the ceremony or a toast at the reception."
Q: My father is no longer in my life—what should I do?
A: When Dad isn't there to walk you down the aisle, whether it's because he's passed away or is simply absent from your life, force yourself to visualize how your wedding day will play out in light of this—then allow yourself some time to grieve. Acknowledging this loss and coming to terms with it "will help you work through any feelings of sadness before the wedding, so that you can focus on the wonderful things happening that day," says Meeker.