Family — whether genetic or honorary — means support, encouragement, and most importantly, love. They are there for you when you need to be picked up, pushed forward, need advice, or a shoulder to lean on. A wedding doesn’t just bring two people together, it creates a new branch of your family tree, upon which you and your spouse will build a family all your own. That said, your wedding also serves as a melting pot to bring both sides of the family together.
In an ideal world, all families would get along; no drama, hostility, or irritation. However, in the world we live in today, mixed families and crazy family dynamics are part of the norm. From the wording on invitations to the seating arrangements at the reception, most brides these days need to tread lightly!
Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there to help make sure each member of your family is represented in a positive and appreciative manner. Etiquette, although sounding a bit old-fashioned, is still a necessary element to consider through out the planning process. I once heard a woman describe “Etiquette” as guidelines for ensuring all parties are comfortable. I love this definition because it’s not telling you what to do or what’s expected of you, it just gets you thinking about how you can make everyone feel welcomed. At your wedding, you can treat everyone like family by considering some simple etiquette.
Here are some of my favorite resources that touch on everything from how to word invitations when there are second marriages and the step-father is paying for the wedding, to how you ensure all guests feel appreciated and welcomed at the reception.
One more helpful hint to consider… Even if you don’t have assigned seating for any other guests, be sure to mark a couple tables as “Reserved for ______ Family” if there are some family members that won’t get along. It’s a small consideration that eliminates the chance that the trouble-makers will be forced to sit together.
Even if your efforts don’t get both families boogying to “We are Family” by the end of the night, ensuring everyone feels like family will be well worth it!