07 Aug 2015
August 7, 2015

Dealing with Family Dynamics in the Wedding Ceremony

Whether you are the couple or the person being asked to perform the wedding ceremony, there could be family dynamics you have to deal with when it comes to the ceremony.   And note that although I am going to provide a few rules and tips below, I have to say, this is more often than not a subject where there is no right answer, just a best case compromise.

1)  Always remember, this is the couple’s special day and their wedding ceremony is a major moment in their special day.  This message needs to be imparted to everyone as many times as possible.   Whatever family dynamics need to be dealt with, and whatever solutions are created, should make the couple happy, or at least satisfied.

2)  Create solutions, not more problems.  What I mean by this is that the parties involved need to sit down well before the wedding day and talk in a positive way about what they would like, what is possible, and what would work (even if it is not ideal).  And yes, this means compromise.  I just performed a wedding ceremony in which the bride’s parents had a nasty divorce.  Because the parents would not walk the bride down the aisle together, they came up with the following solution:  the mother escorted the bride from where the wedding party staged to the start of the chairs and then handed her off to her father who escorted the bride the rest of the way.  Not ideal for either parent but a good compromise, and the bride was happy having both of her parents a part of it.

3)  If unsure how to solve an issue, or you’re not making headway coming up with a compromise, seek assistance.  This can be from a family member who can mediate with all parties, a family friend who may be able to get everyone to talk rationally, and/or a wedding planner who has worked through these types of situations in the past.

4)  If the parties involved need a little extra motivation to compromise, remind them that in the future, when people reminisce about the ceremony and the wedding day, what will be talked about?  Will it be the beauty of the event or the fact that the mother of the groom got up and walked out right before the ceremony (yes, this did actually happen recently).

5)  Whatever the final agreement, everyone needs to remember and respect it on the rehearsal and the wedding day.   Any drama or issues on the wedding day should not come from family.  Family should be there to support the couple.   I can tell you from past experience that a negative experience early in the wedding day can change the mood for the duration of the event, and it’s just not worth it.

6)  This is the couple’s special day – these issues, whether petty or substantive, need to take a back seat to the positive celebration that is taking place… so, yes, refer back to rule number 1.

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