Let's talk family dynamics & how everyone can keep calm & carry on celebrating at YOUR wedding.
Please know... THIS IS A COMMON ISSUE!!
Take re-assurance in the fact that the "divorced/separated parents at your wedding" topic is VERY common & is a topic discussed all the time. It is NORMAL to have concerns around this but, also know there are some awesome things you can implement to help manage this saga! My favourite tips are points 2, 4 & 5.
Before the wedding...
Have an open & honest discussion with the family members about how you are feeling & what concerns you may have re the wedding & their dynamics
Talk through your plans with your parents BEFORE the wedding - tell them what things you are implementing to make it as comfortable for them as possible AND ask them for their input and what they need to feel comfortable. Be open to hearing their suggestions and what would work for them if both parties are present.
Set firm boundaries & expectations for behaviours i.e. tell them you respect their "strained" relationship but that you request they also respect your day & marriage too. Tell them you won't tolerate a public family affair!
BRIEF YOUR VENDORS especially your photographer, videographer, MC, Celebrant & DJ! They need to know about any and all family dynamics to ensure no awkward photo requests are made, no inappropriate announcements are said etc. Be as open, honest & direct with all of your suppliers involved.
Make sure you invite guests they will both each individually and independently know, so that they are not in a position where they are stranded & only know each other. Consider & suggest they bring a friend or buddy them up with another relative you know will stick by their side ;)
Advise each party/parent when things like speeches are going to happen, so in this way they can be prepared and even leave the space for the duration of the speeches. In this way it eliminates any possible triggers or discomfort.
If doing dances, pair up your parents with someone BEFORE the wedding day, so again they are not in an awkward position where they need to find someone or potentially are pushed towards each other.
At the wedding...
Be very mindful of seating arrangements during the ceremony & wedding reception! Might even be an idea to position them in a way that they are literally sitting with each other's backs to one another. Might take a bit of planning before the wedding, but it will be worth it during the meals, speeches etc. :)
Share the wedding tasks and make them both feel involved & equally appreciated. This sound childish, but often divorced parents get jealous!
What if it's near impossible to have your divorced/separated parents in the same space at your wedding?
If it really is not possible to have both of them there, then consider giving each party (parent) the option of either being present at the ceremony OR wedding reception. In this way, both can be part of your day but don't have to be in the same space. Hopefully they don't both choose the ceremony! But if this does happen, then it can also be left up to you to make the final decision.
OR... JUST HAVE AN INTIMATE ELOPEMENT WITH A SELECTED FEW PEOPLE?
Of course at the end of the day, it is not your responsibility to manage their dynamic. It is you and your partner's day and your divorced/separated parents behaviour is out of your control. You can however implement a few things to create a comfortable environment for everyone present (especially for you) but again, they are adults and need to get their calm together for YOUR day :)
You don't have to do anything you don't want So.... Don't feel that you have to invite your parents new partners or your parents at all - especially if they are causing such a fuss! Or atleast have this conversation with your parents ( of course not in the form of a threat!) and just let them know if they cant adjust and put shit aside, then they can stay at home... Try all of your options but also remember to use the support around you....
Chat to your celebrant about these issues - Celebrations with Kim Lynn - Marriage Celebrant
will help put together a personalised plan to manage factors specific to YOUR situation.
I've got this with you.