Split Decisions

Continued (page 2 of 3)

Bigel-Casher: Remember that a wedding is a family affair—it's not just about the bride and groom. Listing all the names may not be the solution, but acknowledging your families is important.

Our plan of action: Putting that many names on the invitation would not only confuse your guests, it would also point out the complications in your family history—which you don't want to focus on. Keep things simple and go with your name and your fiancé's only. For example: "Lucy Smith and Davis Jones request the pleasure of your company at their wedding." Another option: "The families of Lucy Smith and Davis Jones request the pleasure of your company at their wedding."

In the Hot Seat

"How do I handle the table seating when my parents aren't capable of being civil to one another?"

Bigel-Casher: It's clear that your parents are still dealing with their divorce conflict, so be considerate and respect their desire to be separate. Seating them at different tables allows them a comfort zone, which makes it easier for them to focus on the joy of your wedding rather than on their own discomfort.

Our plan of action: Reserve the head table for you, your groom, and the bridal party, and have each of your parents host a table with his or her spouse, family, and friends. Bonus: An extra parents' table makes more room for honored guests.

Standing-Room Only

"What's the best way to arrange the receiving line so that my parents don't stand near each other?"

Bigel-Casher: Trust your instincts and try your best to create a situation that causes the least amount of stress for everyone involved.

Our plan of action: The good news is that a traditional receiving line is limited to you, your groom, and your mothers. The fathers spend their time mingling with the guests.

The Dance Dilemma

"Who do I dance with during the father-daughter song—my biological father, whom I love but have never really spent a lot of time with, or my stepfather, who's generously paying for the entire wedding?"

Bigel-Casher: Each of your fathers wants to feel special and it's up to you to make that happen. With some consideration and a little effort, you can include both of them in this significant wedding moment.

Our plan of action: One idea is to balance their roles—if one is walking you down the aisle, ask the other to join you for the first dance. Alternatively, you could change partners halfway through the dance. Some brides opt to have two father-daughter dances. In this case, it doesn't matter who takes the floor first, but be sure to give each man the honor of choosing his song.

Picture Imperfect

"What's the best way to keep the peace during the photo session? I'd like to have a family portrait taken, but I can't imagine that my parents will cooperate long enough for the photographer to even get one shot."

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