Wedding Ceremony Q&As

Answers to who walks when, who stands where, and other ways to make sure your ceremony is perfect.

Q: What is the best seating arrangement for my divorced parents during the church ceremony? My mom has not remarried, but my dad will be there with his fiancé. Also, how should I handle photography after the ceremony? Should I have both my parents in the same picture with me and my new husband? I do not want to hurt anyone's feelings. 

A: I don't think you need to worry about hurting anyone's feelings. It's obvious that you are wisely planning ahead now to make sure that there are no misunderstandings or uncomfortable situations awaiting your parents—and I'm certain they will appreciate your concern and thoughtfulness.

If your parents are on good terms, both may sit in the first row, along with their spouses or significant others. If, however, their relationship is strained, have your mother sit in the first pew with either her parents or other close relatives. In the second pew, your aunts, uncles and other members of your mom's family can sit. And in the third pew, your father and his fiancé can be seated with his family.

As far as your wedding pictures, meet with your photographer ahead of time to discuss the types of photos you want and which members of your family should be included. A professional photographer will have dealt with divorced family situations before and can probably offer some expert advice on how to handle potential problems. Make sure you hire someone you feel comfortable with - a pro who can handle difficulties with diplomacy and tact.

If your parents are on friendly terms you can have them in the same family photograph together, separated by you and your husband. You should also have pictures taken with each parent separately. No doubt, your father will ask for a picture of the two of you with him and his fiancé. This is fine (it will certainly please your dad and nurture relations with your future stepmother), but be sensitive to your mom's feelings and include any of her close friends or relatives as well in her photos.

Let your parents know what type of photographs will be taken and who will be in them so there are no surprises or hurt feelings on the wedding day. A little planning and communicating now will go a long way in ensuring that everything runs smoothly so you and your family can celebrate the day without incident.

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