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Customs and Traditions

How to Navigate Parental Duties when they're divorced?

My fiance and I both have divorced parents. We're nervous about working through some of the parental traditions without offending anyone - specifically with two things. 

1. Mother/Son dance - His parents divorced when he was 2 and his Dad remarried only a year or so after. Both his mom and stepmom raised him. How do we handle this? Split the dance in half? Mom first and stepmom second?

I plan to dance with my father. Mother isn't remarried, so not an issue.

2. Toasts - Who has to give the toast? All sides of the family are assisting. Again, don't want to offend anyone.

Anything else I'm forgetting?
KnotRiley

Re: How to Navigate Parental Duties when they're divorced?

  • ckagy said:
    My fiance and I both have divorced parents. We're nervous about working through some of the parental traditions without offending anyone - specifically with two things. 

    1. Mother/Son dance - His parents divorced when he was 2 and his Dad remarried only a year or so after. Both his mom and stepmom raised him. How do we handle this? Split the dance in half? Mom first and stepmom second?

    I plan to dance with my father. Mother isn't remarried, so not an issue.

    2. Toasts - Who has to give the toast? All sides of the family are assisting. Again, don't want to offend anyone.

    Anything else I'm forgetting?
    1- you could just do no dance. That way no one is seen as "coming first" or getting left out. I would have FI talk to his mothers (individually) and see what they would prefer. You never know, one or both of them may not even want to dance.

    2- No one has to give a toast. If is nice if someone offers to, and you can accept or decline, but no one is required too. I do think it is nice when the bride and groom say a few words thanking everyone for coming (not to be mistaken or in place of thanking everyone individually)
    image
    holycrapihavetoplanaweddingnowVivandiere8
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Your FI can dance with his mother, his stepmother, both or neither. Whatever he chooses is fine.

    Toasts are offered by the person who would speak. If anyone offers to give a toast, you either accept or decline. It is neither a duty nor something you would assign. 
    [Deleted User]holycrapihavetoplanaweddingnow
  • We're in a similar situation, with divorced/remarried parents on FI's side, and then his dad passed away last year. I think we've decided to nix all the dancing due to space constraints, but I'm pretty sure he would have danced with his mom first and then his step-mom, a separate song for each.

    As others mentioned, toasting's not exactly required. I think the best man and all the dads are kind of traditional, but some of them might not want to, other people might want to, and what order they go in doesn't much matter. I know my sister prepared a toast when she was MOH for her BFF, but a couple of relatives gave lengthy toasts and she ended up not giving hers (and she was relieved because she'd been nervous about it). Your family loves you and wishes you well, but not all of them are comfortable saying so in front of a crowd.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • emmaaaemmaaa North Carolina mod
    Moderator 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary
    first of all, parents are not required to DO anything. There are no duties when it comes to weddings and parents. Traditions can be skipped also. 

    I think it would be best to leave it up to both sets of parents to decide what they want to and be involved in for your wedding.

    1. Your FI could dance with both and split the song. That may also be awkward. You don't want too many spotlight dances either because they get boring. 

    2. Whoever is hosting can make a quick welcome speech. If that's your parents, then they will, if it is his parents, them. Toasts aren't required.

    [Deleted User]
  • My parents divorced and my mother remarried. FI's parents divorced and his father remarried. I'm having two father/daughter dances so I can have one with each father-- but I'm not going to do anything cheesy like insist only fathers and daughters can dance.

    My FI only wants one mother/son dance because he doesn't really care about dancing with his step-mother.

    We both chose what felt "right" to us.

    As far as toasts... I want to limit those as much as possible. If one or two people reallllllyyyyy want to make toasts, I'll ask them to keep them relatively short and tell everyone else, sorry.





  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    You choose whoever you want to walk down the aisle with and dance with. 

    And keep speeches and toasts short and sweet...but again, it depends on what you're comfortable with.

    These aren't "duties," BTW.  None of them are mandatory.

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited June 2015
    There are no "duties" of the parents of the couple.  You don't need special dances.  At daughter's wedding, her FMIL had asked not to do a mother-son dance because she was handicapped.  No biggie.  The fewer special dances, the sooner your guests can eat.
    A toast to the couple is traditionally given by the Best Man.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • I think a lot of this depends on the relationship with the parents. In our case, my FI has a terrible relationship with his father/stepmother so he is doing things with his mother only (which hopefully won't cause an excess of drama). 

    Other things that we've run across -- 
     - Invitations, if any parents are hosting (my parents requested not to be listed to avoid drama even though they are contributing a decent amount)
    - Seating at the ceremony and/or reception -- FI's parents have really hostile relationships and can't be seated anywhere near each other, so we are trying to balance honoring them equally with having space 
    - Introductions at the reception -- we won't be introducing parents or grandparents, just the bridal party, to avoid setting off any uncomfortable feelings 

    It might also just be worth apprising your celebrant and emcee/DJ (if you're going to have one) of the situation and anything that's sensitive. At my parents' wedding, the DJ called all the parents up for a dance on his own and that turned out to be awkward for other kinds of reasons -- so we were upfront with the DJ about what parent things we need to be careful of. Another thing is the anniversary dance that seems to be such a huge trend now -- we've asked our DJ not to do that because FI's family is rife with divorces and it would be a huge mess. 

    Again, varies depending on how awkward the relationships are. 
  • Have to agree with PP, depends on what his relationship is with him mom & stepmom. Leave it up to him if he wants to do a spot lite dance only with his mom & just ask step mom to dance later, or split the song up & share the dance with both ladies, or if he wants to do two seperate spot light dances. If he goes for seperate, try to pick two songs.

    No one is required to give a toast. Neither of our dads wanted to talk publically, so we skipped them & just did the MOH & Best Man toast. You can ask them who wants to give toasts and go from there. The mom's may be ok with the dad's just giving toasts. Just ask them, we're not sure if we're going to do toasts or not, but if we do, would you want to give one. And if they do, tell them to keep it under a certain time limit (like under 5) for the sake of your guests.

  • Erikan73 said:

    Have to agree with PP, depends on what his relationship is with him mom & stepmom. Leave it up to him if he wants to do a spot lite dance only with his mom & just ask step mom to dance later, or split the song up & share the dance with both ladies, or if he wants to do two seperate spot light dances. If he goes for seperate, try to pick two songs.

    No one is required to give a toast. Neither of our dads wanted to talk publically, so we skipped them & just did the MOH & Best Man toast. You can ask them who wants to give toasts and go from there. The mom's may be ok with the dad's just giving toasts. Just ask them, we're not sure if we're going to do toasts or not, but if we do, would you want to give one. And if they do, tell them to keep it under a certain time limit (like under 5) for the sake of your guests.

    A toast is not a speech and should not take more than 2 minutes for each person.  And I wouldn't ask anyone if they want to give a toast.  If they offer, decide if you even want one.  But I'd err on the side of zero toasts rather than too many.
  • ckagy said:
    My fiance and I both have divorced parents. We're nervous about working through some of the parental traditions without offending anyone - specifically with two things. 

    1. Mother/Son dance - His parents divorced when he was 2 and his Dad remarried only a year or so after. Both his mom and stepmom raised him. How do we handle this? Split the dance in half? Mom first and stepmom second?

    I plan to dance with my father. Mother isn't remarried, so not an issue.

    2. Toasts - Who has to give the toast? All sides of the family are assisting. Again, don't want to offend anyone.

    Anything else I'm forgetting?
    Skip the traditions! My mother passed away, and my dad is not in the picture, so we decided just to ditch them all... We're even having a traditional Catholic wedding, but I will be walking myself down the aisle. How about instead of a Mother/Son dance, just have one big family dance-- one where everyone can cut in? And as far as toasts... nobody likes toasts anyway. Just toss them aside unless someone offers. Tell your DJ or whoever is MC-ing the event.
    kimmiinthemitten
  • The mother son dance is a very new "tradition" and one a lot of people chose to skip anyway. My husband did not do a mother/son dance. It doesn't look weird to skip it. I think if it's not done a lot of people don't even think about it as having been something they were expecting to happen.

    And of course as others said for the toast, it's really just about who wants to give one. At my wedding it was just the maid of honor, best man, and then me and my husband toasting out guests/thanking them.

    I think some times the "list of duties", and "traditional rolls" we see on wedding websites can drive us all far more crazy than we need to be when planning our weddings. Weddings should not cause stress over who does what. the only people who really have a set roll are the bride, groom, and officiant.
    image
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