Marriage can mean much more than the union of two people. Quite often it is a family union where children are very much involved. Maybe the couple have a child already…..or they’ve completed their family and just haven’t done the marriage thing…..or they are getting married for the second (or third, or fourth etc) time and have children from previous marriages or relationships…… or there may be grandchildren involved.
So when planning the wedding, the question of “what will the children do on the wedding day?” is one which needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
The most obvious roles are as flower girls and pageboys, or bridesmaids and groomsmen (older children). But it is important not to put too much pressure on children to perform these roles. Remember they are often the first to lead the bridal party and this can be quite daunting for little ones, which is why I recommend a rehearsal every time there are children in the bridal party.
If they are under two years old they will often have difficulty knowing where to go (no matter how many times you practice at rehearsal). Often holding the hand of an older child or a bridesmaid overcomes this problem. Jason and Jennifer solved the problem of their 2yr old crossing the sand at their beach wedding by having the flower girl tow him in a wagon.
Phil’s grandson carried a sign as he led the Barb to her groom. And 2yr old Bodhi in his hat and tails was a mini clone of his Dad Laurie complete with cane!
Paul and Donna had their blended family of seven proudly stand together with them as the bridal party. When it came time to say a poem, the seven children each read a couple of lines. It’s important to choose a poem that is meaningful and appropriate – this one referred to the bridal couple being “old and wrinkly” which got a lot of giggles.
A very special way to recognise children in a second marriage is to include special vows for them. The children can be asked if they promise to love and respect their parent’s new partner and in turn the new partner can be asked if he/she will love and support the children from now on. Again the children should be told beforehand that this will be asked. Otherwise it could be awkward if they say ‘no’!
The new stepfather or stepmother can make a vow to the children such as Tim did for Stevie his stepdaughter “I may not have been there when you took your first steps, but I promise that now I will love and support you in every step that you take in life”. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd!
This could be followed with a gift for each child such as a pendant or ring signifying the family union.
Some children may be happy to sing or play an instrument at the ceremony. Or they can be involved in special effects – operating a bubble machine when the bride and groom leave the ceremony, or creating decorations for the chairs, designing wedding programs (older children) or making table decorations the reception.
Other ways to involve the kids in the ceremony:
- Participate in Sand Blending Ceremony or Family Unity Candle Ceremony
- Hand out rose petals or mini bottles of bubbles
- Take candid photos with a disposable camera
- Hand out wedding programs
Whatever way they are involved, it sometimes pays to “go with the flow” and expect the unexpected. Young children can fall asleep on the way to the ceremony, they don’t stand still for long, their shirts don’t stay tucked in and they don’t always want to wear shoes. So it’s better to let go than to sweat the small stuff. Children are fabulous additions to weddings!!