Wedding Etiquette Forum

Ceremony seating for divorced parents

At my dress fitting last night, my mom decides to bring up the fact that "according to etiquette" my dad should have to sit behind her at the ceremony. She's in the front and he'd be in the second row because they're divorced.

The only reason she's doing this is because they were getting along fine until this wedding and the whole money issue came up. They had a major disagreement about something, and now she's paying for the majority and my dad isn't. So I'm pretty sure she's just looking to punish him and "announce" to the rest of the people that she's the great person who put this all together. I'm so frustrated!

They're sitting at the same table at the reception (along with FI's divorced parents, who get along just fine), and when I asked if she wanted to be moved, she was all "oh no, that's fine". So what's the difference if you sit together then but not at the ceremony???

Anyone else have this problem?
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Re: Ceremony seating for divorced parents

  • Wow, that sounds incredibly petty.  Usually you would seat divorced couples apart, but if they're sitting together at the same table at the reception, why can't they sit in the same aisle at the ceremony?  That makes no sense.
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  • Well, I have half of that problem. My divorced dad has to sit behind my mom (but he actually prefers it). I had to seat my dad and his whole family on the opposite side as my mom's side as there is A LOT of tension. I actually think it's kind of cool that your mom and dad can sit at the same table. I literally wont be able to have a photo of me and both my parents at the same time :(
  • All 8 of our parents sat in the front row.  It was fine.  Even the in laws who cannot say one nice word about each other played nice.  However, no divorced couples were sat at the same table.  They each sat at a table with their own family. 
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  • My officient suggested that my dad sit in the second row for the same reason but I didn't want that. He sat next to my mom in the front row. It was no big deal.
  • I've never heard of this rule before but then again there was a lot of etiquette I didn't know about until TK.  Is your mom remarried?  Who else would be in the front row?  I was going to suggest maybe have other people sit in-between them but not sure if that will work out. 

    I would just smile at mom and say "I'll think about it" and just ignore the question after that.  I would tell dad on the day of just to sit in the front row, if he wants to.  What is your mom going to do?  Stop the ceremony because he is in the front row?
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_ceremony-seating-for-divorced-parents?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:dc5b1f5c-e590-4c43-bfb3-475c2ac0258bPost:b41da2b6-bc7d-4cb5-8713-db7c0afacd14">Re: Ceremony seating for divorced parents</a>:
    [QUOTE]I actually think it's kind of cool that your mom and dad can sit at the same table. I literally wont be able to have a photo of me and both my parents at the same time :(
    Posted by rebeccaa12[/QUOTE]



    I second this. My parents are divorced, too, and my dad is remarried. My dad is extremely bitter because my mom left him, even though he will be remarried almost 4 years at the time of the wedding. At my college graduation, he and his wife booked it almost immediately after the ceremony because, as I found out later from my grandma, my dad's wife didn't want to see my mom. Mature, right? My mother is perfectly willing to be civil with him but he just acts like she doesn't exist.

    Sorry to hear your mom is acting the way she is... That sounds like a tough situation to have to deal with.
  • I don't think etiquette suggests that she has a front row ticket, whereas your dad has not. They don't need to sit next to each other, they can even sit on different sides of the aisle, but it would be perfectly okay to tell your mother to set aside the issues during the ceremony and let your father sit in the front row as well.
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  • My parents have been divorced over 15 years, my mom remarried about 4 years ago (to the man she left my dad for) and my dad has not. My dad hasn't had to deal with her husband (he has lived for 13 years, she has lived for 3 across the country), but her husband has always been wonderfully generous and nice to me, so I see no reason to make the excuse of not allowing my mother's husband to sit with her. In the front row.

    The way I'm going to try to work it is to put mom's husband in the first row about 4 seats in, then put my mom,then my brother (escorting my grandmother up the aisle) then my grandmother (who will be seated before Mom, but I'm hoping we can deal with that) then my Dad on the end after he walks me up. I've thought about this, a lot.

    I cannot imagine seating my father, or my mother anywhere other than the first row. I'm not going to sit them next to each other, but I cannot imagine how hurt my dad would feel if he had to sit there behind everyone.
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  • My dad sat in the second row. But my parents also had different tables at the reception.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_ceremony-seating-for-divorced-parents?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:dc5b1f5c-e590-4c43-bfb3-475c2ac0258bPost:5a6d1008-49ab-41ba-a461-181f1e7b96fc">Re: Ceremony seating for divorced parents</a>:
    [QUOTE]All 8 of our parents sat in the front row.  It was fine.  Even the in laws who cannot say one nice word about each other played nice.  <strong>However, no divorced couples were sat at the same table.  They each sat at a table with their own family</strong>. 
    Posted by Habs2Hart[/QUOTE] Thank you OP for bringing this topic up and thank you Habs2hart for bringing this specifically up. I was starting to fret about where to seat my FH's divorced parents, his father-in-law and his maternal grandmother and aunt who are far from fond of my FMIL. It's a small wedding but I will most certainly keep them at separate tables - good to know the etiquette on this. Seems like common sense but I also don't want to make the mistake of sitting them close enough to each other where they will have to deal with one another a lot during the night (if their chairs were close by to each other, if they were in each other's eyesight, etc.).
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  • ootmother2ootmother2 member
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    edited February 2012
    FOB & I have been divorced for ages but neither one of us has remarried.

    He escorted daughter to the altar and move to sit on the outside of the first row beside me.  We left the church together, arm & arm, greeting guests.  Neither one of us died from being polite at our daughter's wedding. Also, we shared the wedding expenses equally

    btw, we were introduced together as the parents of the bride at the reception as well.
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  • Wow, lots of good information here!  I am going to be going through the same ordeal with my parents, they're never in the same vicinity of each other unless there is a lawyer present.  My FI's parents are also divorced (but they get along), so I'm considering having all of the parents in the front pews of either side of the aisle, as long as my mother and father are not near each other!  I've Google-searched this topic a few times now, and I think there are several options to consider out there; each situation is unique!  That's awesome that they'll all sit at a table with each other.  Does your dad have an issue with being near your mom at the ceremony, or is it just your mom who's upset?
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