My fiance's parents got divorced last April. It was pretty messy, and they are not on good terms. His mom got remarried to another man less than 6 months after meeting him, and my fiance has only met him a handful of times. Fiance's dad recently has come to suspect that Fiance's mom stole money during the divorce. Our chapel is very small, only seats around 50 people max. We want parents in the front row, but we don't know how to arrange this. My fiance doesn't want his mother's new husband in the front row, but is afraid that will upset his mom and strain their relationship. Also, his dad refuses to be anywhere near his mother, and there isn't enough room in the pew where my parents are. We don't want anyone to be upset and we don't want drama, but it is a VERY complicated situation. Help??? Ideas???
I think telling his mother she can’t sit with her husband is a little rude. These are all grown adults. They needs to put on their big boy/girl pants and suck it up for 30 minutes! Let them all sit on the front row.
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Absolutely 100% agree. What are they teenagers, no they are grown adults. If they can't act like adults at their sons wedding, then they simply don't need to be there. I would give it to them straight, tell them this is how it's going if you can't be mature about it don't come.
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Yeah, this. Divorce, especially divorce with decades of marriage, can be a big mess. As far as who was the bad guy, who stole money, etc - I suggest you listen sympathetically and don’t get involved. His dad can hire a new lawyer and address thar with the courts. It sounds like the adults need reminding that this is the wedding of their children, not seats at the middle school cafeteria.
He really can't tell his mother she can't sit next to her husband. I do understand not wanting to prioritize him in the front row given all of the circumstances, but like it or not, that's her husband. I would just tell each parent to sit at opposite ends of the pew. If they can't do that for 30 minutes and act like grown adults to support their son on arguably the happiest day of his life, one or both can choose not to attend or opt to sit in another row.
I'm going to offer my experience, because I unfortunately dealt with a similar issue and it's very easy to say "they should all be adults" when you haven't been there...
My husband's parents divorced very bitterly, and his mom's SO is a very big source of contention. I definitely anticipated a blow-up over him being allowed in the first row, or them having to sit next to each other, etc.
Your options are this:
1. Don't assign seats at all. This prevents them from being able to take it out on you, that you seated mom's new husband in the first row, or you seated mom and dad next to each other, or whatever else. They pick where they sit, they can't be upset with you over it.
The downside to this is that they still could lash out at each other if left to their own devices. I took the chance and trusted that my in-laws would act civil for their son's wedding. They did. FIL actually elected to sit in the second row with my husband's siblings, at the farthest chair from MIL, to avoid causing a fuss.
2. Talk to them each individually and let them know the behavior you expect out of them. If you aren't close enough to do this, ask that FH does. Don't talk to them like children, because that may trigger them to act like children. Just explain that you know this is a sensitive issue, and you know they will be respectful and civil for the sake of their son's wedding. That should clue them into the fact that they need to keep their heads up on their necks and out of their asses.
You can suggest that one sits at one end and one sits at the other, but be cautious because then they might bicker over who gets the "close" (aisle) end.
Also, I agree with other posters - it would be completely out of line and plain rude for FH to suggest his mother's new husband can't sit with her in the front row. He's just going to have to get over that one.
During my wedding planning my hubby and sil made such a big fuss about how mil & stepfil and fil & stepmil could not be close to each other at all. It was ridiculous, I laughed and told them that I'd have no problem having anyone escorted out if they act inappropriately. They were both stunned by my reaction, but why should we walk on egg shells when we're all adults and they've been separated for years and both have been in relationships for any years as well. Afterall, we both had to make some had cuts to our guestlist because it was overall the right thing to do.
Guess what, the dads actually talked a bit and they all danced near each other and exchanged smiles, etc. No one forced them to talk or say hi but they were cordial and respectful to each other and that is what matters. I think sometimes we might make bigger deals about this kind of stuff. At one point we discussed this with mil and step fil and I remember seeing my fiance at the time and his sister with a horrified look on their faces like how could I have mentioned fil and step mil infront of mil and step fil. They were a tad bit offended that anyone thought that they needed to be separated and we all laughed about how silly it was afterward but it really relieved some stress on my hubbys side when he heard their reaction and that really smoothed things off