Have you ever wondered how to balance step-relations at weddings? Today, Sophie King is sharing her spin on this matter with my blog readers. Sophie’s popular romantic comedy, The Wedding Party, was recently re-published in a brand new ebook edition.
WEDDING PROTOCOL FOR STEP-RELATIONS AT WEDDINGS
“Excuse me,” I said to my then-boss when I was in my early twenties. “May I have Wednesday off please? My mother is getting married. And would it be possible to have Saturday off too? My father is getting married then.”
It’s true. When my parents decided to plight their troths again (to other people), they did so in the same week. My sister and I promptly acquired not only a stepfather and stepbrother but also a stepmother in the space of four days. In fact, we were happy that our parents had both found happiness. But the timing could have been better …
And that leads me to the first rule of protocol when it comes to step-relations and weddings. Please try and limit the number of ceremonies. It gets very confusing. My then-boss thought I was trying it on to get extra time off and insisted on seeing the wedding photographs as proof …
Nowadays, getting married again is so common that there are several rules on the protocol of step-relations at weddings. The problem is that they seem to differ. Take Rule Number Two about seating arrangements. Some experts argue that the divorced mother of the bride should sit at the top table while the partner of the FOB (father of the bride) has to be relegated to another table. Others say that both should be at the top table – which can cause all kinds of trouble.
One friend of a friend told her ex-husband that he wasn’t allowed to bring his wife to the wedding at all – even though they’d been married for some years. “That woman broke up our marriage. There was no way I was going to be in the same room as her,” said the friend. The husband refused to agree. The daughter refused to get married unless the father came. And the wedding was cancelled.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. When I was researching the characters for THE WEDDING PARTY, I found a girl who met her stepbrother for the first time after years of arguments between the two sides of the family. “Our parents had put all the ‘young steps’ on one table. It was really good fun. But when I met my youngest stepbrother, it was like discovering a kindred spirit. It wasn’t romantic. Just one of those ‘wow’ moments when you meet someone whom you felt you’ve always known. That was two years ago. My stepbrother and I still speak at least twice a week to each other. He gave me some great advice when my boyfriend and I went through a wobbly patch. And I introduced him to one of my friends. They’ve been going out for a while now and are talking about moving in together.”
But what exactly is the protocol at weddings when it comes to talking to your husband’s ex? This happened to Julia when her daughter got married. “In fact, it wasn’t nearly as awkward as I had thought, thanks to the caelie band. We ended up dancing with each other at one point.”
Which brings me onto Rule Number Three. The most important thing to remember is that you’re there for the bride and groom. It’s not fair to let anything spoil their big day. When my daughter got married recently, we had a party for everyone the following day. After all, guests had come a long way so it seemed sensible to make a long weekend of it. My new husband and I asked my first husband and his new wife to come along. And everyone seemed to enjoy themselves …
Sometimes, rules (written or unwritten) are meant to be broken. In THE WEDDING PARTY, the groom’s ex-wife steps in as best ‘man’ at the last minute. This was actually based on a story I heard about a best man failing to turn up. The former wife had, until then, been on non-speaking terms with her ex for years. But during the pre-wedding meetings for their son’s nuptials, they had to talk. “It really helped to let it all out. He said how he felt and I said how I felt. I was pretty shocked when he asked me to be best man. But it seemed right somehow. It meant we were all involved as a family again. I can’t say we’re best friends. But it’s definitely more civilised than it was.”
So throw away the rule book! Do your own thing when it comes to protocol and extended families. But don’t ignore the biggest rule of all. Weddings are meant to be happy occasions. Just mind the step …
NOTE: Some of the names in this post have been changed!
ABOUT THE BOOK
When Monique and Geoff decide to tie the knot they soon discover that love second time around brings special challenges. And not just for them. There are ups and downs for family, friends, the wedding planner, and even the vicar as the big day approaches.
Geoff’s ex-wife can’t accept that he has moved on. Could a chance meeting help Helen come to the right decision about her future?
Their daughter, Becky, doesn’t approve of her dad’s bride-to-be. But as she juggles motherhood and a high-powered career, will she realise it’s her own marriage that needs most attention?
Janie was sacked from her last job as a wedding planner for being so disorganised. Is she really the right choice to help the happy couple get hitched without a hitch?
Mel swapped a job in advertising for a new life as a vicar. But can she keep her faith after an accident which turns her family’s world upside down?
Family and friends learn that the course of true love never did run smooth, and there really is no such thing as a stress-free wedding. But can they each still find their own happy ever after?
The publisher and Sophie are running a brilliant competition to WIN AN £80 GIFT EXPERIENCE VOUCHER FROM TINGGLY.COM! Please read on for more information.
To celebrate the publication of “The Wedding Party”, thanks to the lovely people at gift experience company Tinggly, we have a voucher worth £80 for any one experience worldwide from their Essential Collection. The ideal present for friends or family who are about to tie the knot!
To be in with a chance, simply email your answer to the following question to sophie@greatstorieswithheart.
Question: What is the name of Geoff’s daughter in “The Wedding Party” by Sophie King?
See the full range at www.tinggly.com. Voucher must be used by 25/6/2017. Entry will be chosen at random. Emails and contents will not be shared with any third party and will be deleted after the competition. Competition run by Wyndham Media Ltd. Judges decision is final. Good luck!