Planning a wedding is notoriously one of the most stressful tasks that any couple will take on in their lifetime. With that said, it’s ultimately a celebration of love and marriage. Hell, every year in the United States, there are approximately 2.5 million weddings, so…well worth the stress, right? Although we (unfortunately) can’t take all the stress off your shoulders, there is an aspect of planning we may be able to remedy! Some free advice if you have divorced parents, and are wedding planning.
Our friends at Be Inspired PR have graciously introduced us to an emotional wellness guru. Interested?! Elizabeth Wellington, MA, LPC is a Psychotherapist and Founder of Kinship Collaborative. Kindship Collective is a business providing emotional allyship for self-care and relationship-care during your engagement! Advice in this post can be attributed to Elizabeth.
Planning a Wedding With Divorced Parents
Having divorced parents can add a layer of complexity to wedding planning, depending on the dynamics of your unique family. These dynamics include the level of civility and friendliness between parents, the role of step-parents, financial factors, and more.
No matter the exact circumstance, what is true among all divorced families is that the marriage bond that your parents at one point had is now broken. You are now entering into the marriage bond that your parents have exited. This can mean that your marriage might bring up some trauma (or at least some emotions) for everyone involved. Including your parents, siblings, and yourself.
The wedding of a child can bring up a lot of feelings for a parent, even in the best of circumstances. Divorced parents have to manage the additional emotional load of their own marriage and divorce as they help you prepare to enter into married life yourself.
Exactly how your parents’ marriage ended, who has or has not remarried, and other factors can intensify these emotional reactions. So be prepared for your parents to act weird! If your parents are not generally well-equipped to handle intense emotionality, their emotions around marriage may very well come out sideways during your engagement process.
Disagreements about finances, who has power over what, the roles each parent will play, and even seemingly trivial aspects of wedding planning, may suddenly erupt.
Setting Boundaries + Your Emotional Wellness
Do some mind-reading when this happens. What is this really about for your parent? What might they be feeling and unprepared to process? You might let them know you are interested in their experience, and can imagine it might bring up some tough stuff. Validation can often be the most soothing antidote.
Next, get savage with your boundaries. Let your parents know that while you appreciate this might be hard for them, they need to put on their big boy or girl pants and remember that this is your day. Above all, acting inappropriately or uncooperatively will not be tolerated.
Finally, if you notice old feelings about your parents’ marriage resurface for you, be gentle with yourself. It is common for sadness and hard memories to arise during your big transition. Validate yourself as a child of divorce. You endured trauma (even if it didn’t feel like it) around marriage. So, it’s normal for those old wounds to be restimulated.
If you’re loving all this healthy wedding planning advice, check out all this wedding planning advice for 2021 + 2022 from real 2020 GWS couples!