So what happens when it's your son's wedding day — and he and his bride are going to celebrate with eight parents?
Relax. That's what Nashua, N.H., psychologist Carl Hindy learned last weekend when his eldest tied the knot. Like the parents of the bride, Hindy and his wife each re-married after a divorce.
Did bringing everyone together make planning a little more complicated? Sure.
But was the big day a rousing success? Yes.
Initially, the bride was iffy about a fireworks show – a present proposed by the groom's stepfather, a licensed pyro-technician.
She expressed reservations. "I think Joe didn't understand at first how she was anxious about fireworks somehow distracting from the ambiance, or causing more complications in what already seemed like an overwhelming event," says Hindy. "Of course for Joe, who's done countless fireworks shows, it seemed like a great idea."
In the end, the pyrotechnics display – shared with another bridal party at the same wedding spot – went off without a hitch.
Stepfather knows best? Actually, father knows best, too. Hindy made a slide show that also ranked as a wedding highlight. While the families might have been anxious about what unknown photos might be flashed on the projection screen, in the end they were engaged and delighted along with the guests. "I came away feeling like Joe and I contributed in our own ways, and it made the event more special — a sort of tapestry rather than just the standard wedding. But I can understand why families fear the unknown when it comes to the big day."
For some people, bringing blended families together for a wedding can be tricky, though. "You're not just dealing with your ex," says Hindy. "You're dealing with having to face some of these people who may have taken sides during the divorce."
At this wedding, at least, tensions were low. Often blended families experience "a lot of anticipated anxieties" before the big day, says Hindy. "They kind of imagine the worst. Is there going to be some confrontation? Everyone has heard stories of confrontations."
The seating arrangement added to the no-conflict atmosphere. The two ex-wives shared one table, and the two ex-husbands shared another. So Hindy sat at a table with the mother-of-the-bride's former spouse, a physician who remarried and now is dad to a toddler.
No Hollywood movie-style disputes occurred as relatives-by-former-marriage saw each other for the first time in many years."In a way, it was a nice reunion," says Hindy. "Overall, it was a healing experience and a healthy, happy launching for the bride and groom."
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