If you have children from a previous relationship, or your partner does, making them feel included in your wedding is so important. The commitment the new stepparent is making to the children is huge, and this is your first opportunity to show your offspring this new family dynamic is a positive one by showing them they matter and were considered in the decision.
Even if the children are grown, it’s nice to find one or two ways to involve them in the wedding in some way. Here are 12 simple ideas for ways you can make sure any children in the family feel the love on your wedding day.
1. Bridal party
This is the most logical idea, and there are a few ways you can do this. You can have any daughters be bridesmaids, and sons be groomsmen. Alternatively you can throw gender roles out the window and simply have any children be attendants on either the groom’s side or the bride’s side, whichever makes sense for your family dynamic.
Being part of choosing clothing, getting ready and the ceremony itself is a big level of involvement offspring of any age can enjoy. This inclusiveness means the bridal party photo shoot also becomes a family portrait session! Your family home frames never looked so good!
2. Aisle escort
A child of 8 years and over could be counted upon to perform this task – male or female! An adult son or daughter would also make an ideal choice. I’d be careful not to call it being “given away”, just incase this terminology was misconstrued. Asking your son or daughter to perform the special task of escorting you down the aisle would be a huge honour.
3. Ceremony reading
For adult children, or those of an age where their reading is fluent, this is a heartfelt way to include them in the ceremony. Try going through some short poems or bible readings with them to see if anything flows naturally.
Once you’ve chosen your reading, be sure to have a pretty card or book for them to read from with larger font for younger children.
4. Musical tribute
Everyone loves a live musical performance, and there won’t be a dry eye in the house when your child belts out a tune in tribute to you and your new husband or wife.
5. Ceremony ritual
Talk to your celebrant about including a special ritual to involve your children during the ceremony. One such tradition is the sand ceremony, where each parent and each child pours some sand into a vase to symbolise the joining of the family. When you use coloured sand, this becomes a pretty memento to keep on display in your home later.
Kelly spoke beautiful hearfelt words to her new stepson, Coby, when she married his dad in Noosa. More from this wedding in our latest magazine.
6. Make a vow
Particularly with younger children still living in your care, it’s important to ensure they feel involved in the new family unit. Having the new stepparent make a vow to the children is a beautiful way to recognise the joining of the families and the new roles they will play in one another’s lives.
7. Cake tasting
Let’s face it, most of the kids are just waiting for the part where they get a piece of that massive cake! They’ve never seen a cake so big and pretty before!
A fun way to involve kids in the pre-wedding planning would be to allow them to join you when you go cake tasting! This could be a fun excursion for the whole family – just make sure your cake maker knows the clan is coming along, so there is a bit extra on offer!
8. Wedding morning prep
Sons and daughters of all ages can be part of the excitement on the wedding day morning. Bring all the girls together for pampering, and send the boys off for rounds of golf, surfing, or whatever they get up to on the wedding day morning.
Those special moments of fastening ties and button holes, primping curls and painting nails are all about bonding, and will be fond memories to hold onto for a lifetime.
9. Witness duties
If you have children between you, who are over 18 years of age, you can ask them to be your witness. It’s a simple task of signing your marriage certificate at the end of the ceremony, and who better to do this than those you love the most who will be in your lives forever?
10. Exchange gifts
Gifting your children with a special keepsake will be a wonderful surprise on your wedding day. It should be something they can keep forever, such as a piece of jewellery, a watch, or cufflinks. Up the ante by engraving some meaningful words and the date on the gift.
It goes without saying that acknowledging one another’s children in the speeches is a must. Make sure you show your children this respect no matter their age, as it is an emotional and exciting day for everyone involved. It’s important to start the new family unit out with warm feelings between everyone!
12. Special Dance
I’m going to predict this one will see a few hankies coming out, too. Choose a song with special meaning for you each to have a dance with your children – whether it’s mother and son, stepmother and stepson, father and daughter, or stepfather and stepdaughter. This is a moment you will remember forever.
You can even combine this with the traditional father-daughter or mother-son dance by inviting the children up mid-dance to join in. Make sure you have someone lined up to cut in and take on your own parents as you do this – you don’t want them left out in the cold!