By Jan Stribling, exclusive to Long2Wed

“I’m not sitting next to her.” and “I don’t want my picture taken with him.”

When planning a wedding, most people follow certain rules or etiquette, but what happens when you have family that varies from the norm? The planning can take a completely different turn when you have parents or even grandparents who are divorced and not getting along.

At the time my sister was planning her wedding, my mom and dad were divorced and my dad had remarried. The issue of seating in the church was becoming a crisis. My mother wanted my dad and his wife to sit in the back of the church. My dad was giving my sister away, so how would it look for him to walk so far back once that part of the ceremony was over? I finally told my mom we would be going by what I’d read on wedding etiquette, and my dad and his wife would sit two pews behind her as the rules stated.

As far as wedding etiquette goes these days, it’s as if anything goes and all rules are out the window. Some of us, though, do like a bit of tradition, but you can still change things up so that any issues of who sits where and “they don’t get along” can be taken care of easily.

A very popular way to take care of the seating arrangement is “choose a seat, not a side” signs.

If you’re crafty, you can make these very easily, but to save time, the two pictured below are available at Zibbet.

Pick a seat, not a side - Long2Wed

Pick a seat, not a side – Long2Wed

As far as other seating arrangements, why have the aisle down the middle of two seating areas? Visit to get some great ideas on chair arrangements, what to use for seating instead of chairs, and more. Seating is a relatively easy thing to fix, so don’t let that one complainer make things uncomfortable for everyone.

Another experience I had while photographing a wedding was that the bride’s grandmother was dating a gentleman, and her daughter did not want him in the photos. This was a relatively easy fix. We took a shot with him and one without. We didn’t have to exclude him or hurt anyone’s feelings by saying something, but got a shot with “just family” and then with everyone.

A good photographer will be able to direct everyone during the photo taking, so explain any situations that may arise and they’re sure to help solve this problem, too.

Jan Stribling, Author

Jan Stribling

Jan Stribling is an aspiring writer with a particular interest in relationships and marriage.  She has published her own magazine, He/She/Us, which focuses on these topics, and has written articles for All Women Stalk, an online women’s magazine.  At 50, she has returned to college for a degree in psychology.  She writes about being a mom to a 10-year-old boy on her own blog, Peonies and Popsicles.