Including children in a marriage ceremony is nothing new, but with blended families and couples having children before marriage becoming the norm, I am often asked about ways to include the Bride and Groom’s own children in their marriage ceremony.
The answer is that there is no right or wrong way to include your kids. You can go all Angelina Jolie and have them scribble all over your wedding dress if you like! If that’s not your style, here are some other ideas…
CHOOSE SOMETHING APPROPRIATE
Different roles depend on the child’s age and what they are or are not comfortable doing. Don’t force a child to do anything. Instead involve them in the decision making by presenting options and letting them decide. And always ALWAYS have a Plan B. Even ask them if there is any particular way they’d like to be involved. They may surprise you with a wonderfully creative idea you would never have thought of.
GIVE THEM A ROLE TO PLAY
Practical roles are suited to younger and/or older children:
- Flower Girl
- Page Boy
- Ring Bearer
- Escort Bride (Mum) down the aisle
- Wait at end of aisle with Groom (Dad) to greet Bride
- Child/children ‘give away’ the Bride (Mum) and/or Groom (Dad)
- Blow bubbles, throw petals, rice or confetti at end of ceremony (what kids wouldn’t want to do this?!)
If you have a little performer on your hands:
- Ask them to do a reading/poem (something of their choosing or something they’ve written themselves)
- If they’re musical, have them perform or sing a song
SHOW YOUR LOVE & COMMITMENT TO THEM TOO
For older children who understand what is happening, and especially for those who will have a new step-parent and step-siblings as a result of the marriage, making sure they feel considered, acknowledged and loved is really important. Here are some ideas… all guaranteed tearjerkers!
Family Gift Ceremony
Present the child/children with a piece of jewellery or other gift as part of the Bride and Groom ring exchange. In the same way the rings symbolise life-long commitment, so does the gift given to the child/children.
“We Do” Too
Ask for the child’s/children’s blessing on the marriage. The child/children simply reply “I/we do”. This one is particularly good for younger children or shy children who don’t want to be the centre of attention as they only have to say two words.
This is probably the best way to really make children feel acknowledged, loved and welcomed into the marriage and their new family.
- Parents make vows to their own child/children (own children)
- Parents make vows to new step-child/children (blended families)
- The child/children can also make vows to the parents and to new step-siblings
Of course, all these ideas can be incorporated into a commitment ceremony, renewal of vows or any same-sex ceremony.
All images via pinterest.