In planning a wedding ceremony, I discuss all aspects of the event. Besides the script, walking down the aisle, lighting, sound, and rings, I ask about family dynamics. There is always one issue that is really hurtful to a couple.
It is said that you don’t get to choose your family. It is a blessing if all goes well in ordinary times. However, when a wedding is planned, all sorts of expectations seem to come out. It can include that Aunt Joan whom you have seen in 10 years must be invited.
Some parents spill their values on the couple. For example, Mum is unhappy because her son’s gay partner is coming. She hasn’t accepted his orientation.
All these can be dealt with in time, love and patience.
The most hurtful issue is when divorced parents can’t put their animosity towards each other on hold for the wedding day.
In one wedding, I needed to have the ceremony in the round so that each of the four parents could be seated far enough from each other. In another, Mum had left Dad for another man and the other Mum had left Dad for another woman. So the Dads sat together on one side and the Mums on the other side.
These complications add stress to the bride and groom that is not needed on their day. It is already a stressful day without this baggage. It is also very self-centered and selfish of the parents to do this.
But there is worse. I’ve seen the groom’s Mum walk out of the ceremony because Dad brought his new girlfriend along. In the same time, the bride’s parents suddenly refused to show up because they couldn’t stand each other. The ceremony was delayed as I consoled an upset and crying bride. Not a happy moment or memory for the couple on what is supposed to be a joyful occasion.
It is unfortunate that parents are sometimes not able to focus on the moment of happiness for their child. All that is needed is for Mum and Dad to put their egos aside for a while. After all they wouldn’t want the same to be done to them.
It is hurtful for brides and grooms when parental strife shows up. The best you can do is separate yourselves from their issues and focus on your best day.