Today, the idea of the traditional family has changed. Often couples can come to a wedding with children from previous relationships, or indeed their own parents may be separated or re-married and there could be step parents and step siblings to contend with. None of that is a bad thing. There are so many examples of successfully blended families who get on very harmoniously.
That said, weddings can put stress on even the most easy-going of families. Things like the walk down the aisle can cause potential problems if say a bride has both a step-father and father she’d like to have involved. The same could be said for the speeches, the top table seating arrangements and more. And that’s just when all parties get along, when they don’t, it can be even trickier to manage.
All in all, it can be a minefield for couples. However, with a bit of planning and thought, there’s plenty of ways to keep all sides happy, so you can get on with enjoying the day.
If you’d like to chat about this or any other aspect of your wedding day plans, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly.
Get the Kids Involved
If you or your partner have children from previous relationships, then it’s important to try and make them feel like they are a big part of the day. Get them involved in the planning, give them specific tasks and let them know, the day is about them too. You’re essentially bringing two families together, so it’s about more than just the couple. A new trend from the other side of the Atlantic is to involve the step children in the vows, which is something to consider.
The Walk Down the Aisle
While traditionally this sees the father of the bride walk his daughter down the aisle, in a blended family situation this can be different. Sometimes a bride might have a really good relationship with her step-father for example and would like to try and include him too. A nice compromise is to have the walk in two parts. So have the step-father walk the bride down half the aisle, then the father walk her down the second half. Or if the aisle is big enough have one on each side. Or you could decide to try something new and walk down solo, or ask you mum or brother to do it and take the pressure off the father/step-father situation.
The Top Table
This can often be a bone of contention if there is already some discontent within a blended family. Normally the couple’s parents sit at the top table with the bridesmaids and best man/groomsmen and the priest or celebrant. However, when step parents are involved it can often mean the table would be enormous. But don’t feel under pressure to conform to any set layout. You could simply have a sweetheart table with just the couple and set the rest of the bridal party at one or two other tables. You also might just want to have the couple and your children or step children at the top table. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
Again, the speeches are an area of the wedding steeped in tradition. Generally speaking the father of the bride, father of the groom, the groom and the best man will speak. But there is no reason you have to stick with that order at all. There’s nothing to stop the bride saying something, or having the mother of the bride speak instead of the father or step-father. If you’ve got step children and they feel up to it, why not have them make a toast? Again, don’t feel under pressure at all to stick to convention. Do what works for your family.