Planning a Wedding With Divorce/Family Drama

Planning a wedding is hard enough even when everyone gets along. But adding family drama to an already busy day can make things very stressful/concerning. 

You ideally want everyone you love most to be present at your wedding. Unfortunately, sometimes you love different people who do not always get along. Navigating your feelings and the feelings of your loved ones can be a fine balancing act.

If you’re looking to honor both sides of the family & avoid drama as much as possible, here are a few logistical tips for your wedding: 

1. Come up with a plan of action with your fiancé before involving biased drama participants

I absolutely adore my family. And I’m very close with my extended family as well. I am so blessed to have such fun, supportive, honorable relatives. However, every family has crazy lol. 

And I’ve actually enjoyed discussing the crazy in my family with my now-husband. It brought us together to talk about our loved ones and be in agreement with how to address them. And since it was my side of the family, he wasn’t biased for/against certain people and gave extra great advice. Talking with my fiancé made me feel more confident and supported in my decisions. We came up with plans together. 

2. Set Clear Expectations with Everyone Beforehand

Conversations can be awkward. But it’s better for your family members to know what to expect instead of being surprised on the big day. Minimizes chance of blow up during the wedding itself. 

For example, if you have divorced parents, I recommend letting everyone know as early as possible exactly who will be walking you down the aisle. 

3. If your family really dislikes each other, separate them with physical distance as much as possible.

At your wedding, separate people at different dinner tables and then separate those tables. Decrease their chances of interacting by putting physical bodies in between them. 

If you’re planning on having a rehearsal dinner before the wedding or brunch after the wedding, separating family members can be more difficult because it’s a smaller group. This increases the chance that these family members will interact. If necessary, you can consider inviting your dad’s side of the family to the rehearsal dinner before the wedding and your mom’s side of the family to the brunch after the wedding. Just keep in mind that if one side of the family doesn’t meet your fiancé’s family during a rehearsal dinner, you should ensure that they’re still getting formally introduced before/during the wedding. 

4. Reserve the Front Row of Your Ceremony Space and Clearly Specify Who Sits Where

Again, to maximize physical space between parties who don’t get along, having name cards on each seat is a way to minimize interaction. 

5. Provide Your Photographer a List of Family Photo Groupings In Advance

Most professional photographers will have you list out family photo groupings you want in advance. This is especially important to do if you have tense family relations. Your photographer doesn’t know your family dynamics – help him/her out. 

If you do a first look, you have more options for separating your family. You could do family photos with your mom’s side of the family before the ceremony and family photos with your dad’s side after the ceremony – eliminating need to have them in the same vicinity as they wait for their turn. 

6. Have a smaller wedding/elope

Maybe you feel uncomfortable about the idea of certain family members in one place, even if you’d take the above precautions. If your family drama is tense enough or you just don’t want to deal with it – don’t! Narrowing down your guest list can allow you to avoid tension with specific family members. Your wedding is the beginning of your marriage & new family – you don’t need to have people around who don’t make you feel joyous about it. 

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming! But I gotchu 😉 After going to so many events as a photographer, I’ve got plenty of recommendations and experience with everything wedding-related. Click here to learn more about the Caili Chung Photography Wedding Experience <3

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Planning a Wedding With Divorce/Family Drama

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