How to Include an Estranged Family Member at Your Wedding
Weddings are supposed to unite — not divide. So what do you do when the presence of an estranged family member is required?
It may be difficult to please everyone, but it’s up to you to try to do so when planning your wedding — especially when it concerns a member of your immediate families. Keeping lines of communication open is the best way to get the best results.
A Hudson Valley bride asks: “My husband’s older brother has decided not to participate in our wedding party. It’s not important why, but his reasons go way back in his relationship to my future husband and, unfortunately, there seems to be no way to change his mind. We need to choose someone to walk my future mother-in-law down the aisle. This is all about making her comfortable (even if it makes us uncomfortable). Who should escort her? If she wants her ‘estranged’ son to do so, should we be okay with that? I want to do everything I can to start off on the right foot with my future mother-in-law.”
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The Wedding Guru says: Fortunately, several options are available here! I’d start off by asking your mother-in-law what would make her most comfortable, of course. If she’s unsure, here are some ideas:
- Your future husband can escort her to her seat and then proceed to the spot in front where he will stand and wait for you.
- The best man can escort her to her seat and then take his place next to the groom.
- An usher can escort her to her seat and then take his place for the processional.
An even better solution, I think, is to have a close friend guide her before the processional, and then be seated next to her so she doesn’t feel uneasy or “abandoned.” If she chooses to have her estranged son escort her — despite the fact that he’s opted out of being a member of the wedding party — he can do so before the processional begins and then be seated next to her.
By listening to her wishes, you’ll show her that you really care. It’ll place you in good stead right from the get-go.