As I’ve mentioned in several blog posts, just about the rarest groom speech I write is for two sets of first time marrying couple with two intact sets of parents. Couples have been marrying later in life for the last 25 years, although that’s a trend that looks like in being reversed – which is great because if the parents aren’t intact you can be damn sure the grandparents aren’t either. In all the many many speeches I’ve written in the last 16 years, I think the ones where both sets of grandparents turned up, could be counted in single figures.
This situation is only ever amplified in the case of second marriages – either for both bride and groom, or just one of them. Time demands mean that you can only ever be doing this later in life, so what you’re going to say, and who you’re going to include will be directly affected. Mini eulogies have to be avoided and your frame of mind should be firmly fixed on celebration and positivity.
However, it also brings up a much more real and present dilemma: children. If this marriage involves children that are from former relationships, then super careful wording has to be deployed. The best case scenario is that you all get on like a house on fire, which is great, although care has to be taken when talking about your step children and your own children. You have to be really even handed, because any imbalance in how you talk about them will be glaringly obvious. Some grooms can tend to over compensate talking about their step children and that can leave your own kids feeling isolated.
However, you have to keep this real – there’s no point in saying how proud you are of your partner’s kids and how wonderful they are, if you can’t stand the sight of them. If relationships aren’t great, then use this as an opportunity to build for the future. Instead of saying how proud you are, say how much you’re looking forward to play a part in their lives and get to know them more. Any hint that you might be faking it, will be seen through straight away and only cause resentment.
Even if there is seething dislike between you and your newly acquired family, I wouldn’t omit them completely. Any omission speaks just as loudly as a dedicated paragraph, so if there’s nothing positive you can talk about, just say what a great mum your partner has been to her kids. There will be plenty of time in years to come, when the dust has settled, for them to realise you’re actually ok and they’ll be thanking you in their groom speeches…I’ve seen that time and time again.