Hello Wed Heads! Today’s question comes from a high school friend of mine, Danielle. She wants to know how I deal with feuding family members at weddings.
You would think that people would put aside their differences for their loved one’s special day, but no. I recently had a horrible, estranged mother of the groom call the grandmother (who raised the groom) a b***h! At the wedding! She couldn’t keep it together for one night. I of course also have had the: “I won’t sit next to him, I won’t take a picture with her.” I say get over it people! We are adults, please act like it. All in all most of the family members at my weddings are very gracious and try to avoid all drama. As a planner, I PLAN for it as well.
During the year before their wedding, the couple and I will create a detailed ‘family tree’ if you will, that only I see. It shows me who is divorced, remarried, which family members aren’t speaking, who won’t sit together, who won’t pose in pictures with this person, etc… The couple and I go over this very carefully during the planning of the wedding. This helps me so much. It avoids me asking estranged parents to walk down the aisle or pose for a picture together. Speaking of which, family photographs can be a touchy time for feuding family members. I avoid hurt feelings by having a list of photo groupings so no one is ever left out or asked to do something they aren’t comfortable with. This is one of the reasons photographers love me! They have enough on their plates without worrying about family drama. I deal with the drama so they can ‘focus’ on creating beautiful photographs. (Sorry for the pun.) 😉
My advice if you are a feuding family member: Please don’t wait until the wedding day to talk to the bride and groom about your concerns. If you don’t want to take pictures or sit with someone else, please tell them during the year of their wedding planning. DON’T wait until the happy day. They will appreciate being able to deal with it ahead of time. All that being said, only immediate family members should ever make such a request.
My advice for brides and grooms with feuding family members: Don’t think they will behave at your wedding. Expect the worst and deal with it ahead of time. Ask your divorced parents if they are comfortable taking pictures together, or sitting together. Talk with your wedding planner and let her know about any drama there is. Let your photographer know the groupings you want and tell them not to deviate from the list. Plan ahead, you won’t be sorry.