Do Your Parents Get to Bring Their New Significant Others to Your Big Day?

Updated 02/09/15

Jeremy Beasley

When your parents split, you likely weren't thinking of what would happen on your own wedding day. But now that the big day is around the corner and dad wants to bring his new girlfriend, you've been mulling that conundrum over more than you have your final wedding-dress fitting.

"There's a sense of jealousy that the new girlfriend or boyfriend is going to interfere with the relationship the child has with their parent," explains relationship expert April Masini. "There's also a sense of loyalty to the divorced parent who is not part of the new relationship. The child may feel that this new boyfriend or girlfriend is a threat to their other parent."

So what's a bride to do? "If your parents are dating and they want to bring a plus-one to your wedding, ask yourself why this really matters to you, if it does, and see how much of the answer you can let go of," suggests Masini. "If the plus-one is merely a guest, and not a participant in the wedding — someone who walks down the aisle in any way — what's the big deal? Chances are your objections are petty."

But if you just can't imagine letting your mom bring her new beau, you can ask her (or any parent) to attend solo. Just be prepared, Masini suggests, to offer a concession in return. "For instance, ask the parent if it's okay if he or she comes solo to the wedding, but invites the plus-one to come to the reception," says Masini. "If you offer something, it won't feel like such a black-out to your parent. Laying down an ultimatum is never a good idea because it's a power play and those rarely end well."

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