Honoring the Past (Without Pissing Everyone Off)

About 10 years ago I attended my cousin’s wedding. It was a very high class Southern affair with a big outdoor tent and a delicious buffet of traditional Southern delights. Even years later I still I remember that they displayed framed photos of both the bride and the groom’s parents on their wedding days. I remember thinking what a sweet gesture it was, and how I would never be able to do the same thing at my own wedding.

My parents were divorced when I was 13 years old. It was mess, and even 16 years later there are still a lot of old wounds and scars on both sides of the family. In fact, I am really dreading the potential drama that now looms ominously on the horizon as our wedding approaches, namely the fact that my mother has never met (nor has any desire to meet) my stepmother. Mr. C’s parents are also divorced, and his parents currently coexist in an emotional stalemate. It’s trouble on both sides. Trouble to the point that we are reserving room blocks at two different hotels in order to preserve the peace. But more on that later.


My mom and dad on their wedding day. I love my mom’s lace dress and I love the fact my dad is very obviously checking her out!

But here’s the thing—I wish there was some way that we could honor both of our parents’ first marriages, seeing as we (Mr. C and I) were the results of those unions, even if they didn’t end with “happily ever after.” I wish we could display the photos without opening old wounds or creating awkwardness (there will be plenty of that anyway, to be sure). This is definitely something we would have to consult our parents on beforehand to see how they feel about the issue. But something tells me it probably isn’t going to be possible, which makes me sad.


One thing is for sure, though—we will definitely be displaying photographs of our grandparents’ weddings and photos of the loved ones who have passed on. At least those are two things we can display without any complicated emotions.


My grandparents on their wedding day. It was a classic WWII story where my grandmother married him at the courthouse before he left with the Navy.

What do you think? Would it be poor taste to display a photograph of our parents’ first weddings? Should we include only photos of their second marriages or perhaps no photos at all? Have you, or someone you know, handled this situation at your own wedding?


Mrs. Camel

Athens, GA
Wedding Date:
May 2013
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  1. Member
    bluebelle23 854 posts, Busy bee @ 8:27 am

    I’m probably going to display my grandparents and my FI’s parents. My parents are divorced as well. And I don’t remember them married, so that helps. I thought about displaying my mom and my grandfather walking down the aisle when she married my dad, but me and my mom aren’t all that close. (I stayed with my dad.) She actually has that picture framed on her dresser since my gpa’s passing.
    Fortunately though, my dad and mom do get along. There’s no crazy hatred or anything. They’ll both be there and it shouldn’t be too awkward, so for that I’m lucky.

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