When accommodating the divorced parents of a groom, find out whether they have a history of tension at family events, recommends The Knot. In many cases, you don’t need special seating arrangements at weddings or receptions if the groom’s parents have been divorced for several years, are both remarried, or maintain a friendly relationship. In tense situations, seat the groom’s mother and her guests in the first row, and seat the father in the second row, explains The Huffington Post.
The groom’s comfort level on his wedding day is more important than any relative’s ego. If the groom is estranged from either parent, he may not want a traditional family table at the reception. In these cases, consider including only the best man and maid of honor and their guests at the head table with the bride and groom. Seat the groom’s parents separately at neutral group tables with their own guests to make sure neither parent feels alienated, suggests The Knot.
If the divorce was recent or exceptionally volatile, consider asking parents to come without dates. Ultimately, grooms have the right to include or exclude a new spouse if they don’t have a relationship or the spouse’s presence is upsetting to the entire family. In some cases, a new spouse may sit a few rows behind the family at the ceremony out of respect, notes The Knot. If one or both parents are prone to inciting conflicts, entrust one of the parent’s closest friends or relatives to stay close by throughout the event. A designated “wedding buddy” can help steer a jealous or bitter parent away from confrontations and change the conversation when uncomfortable topics arise.