A wedding is always exciting. A lot of planning and preparation go into action so that the wedding will be memorable meaningful and as one-of-a-kind as the marrying couple. Yet, each couple has consideration unique to them.
There are couples where both partners marry for the first time.
There are couples where one or both partners have been married before but have no children.
There are couples where one or both partners have been married before and have children.
And there are December couples who often have children and grandchildren.
This article is dedicated to couples that will have a “blended” family once they are married. That is, children will have a new parent and possibly new siblings.
Many, though not all marrying or re-marrying couples are looking for ways to integrate the children into the wedding ceremony and / or reception in such a way that it will become a Family Wedding.
Some people wonder why should a wedding not be dedicated to the bride and groom alone. Why should it not be “Their Day”?
There are two main reasons. One of the reason is that children need reassurance. They need to know that they are welcome and wanted by both parents and new siblings. The other, not less important, is that parents WANT their children to be an integral part of the wedding and celebration.
The following are ideas, implementation of which depends on the ages / abilities of the children and the degree of involvement the marrying couple wishes to dedicate to them.
Children must always feel that they are IMPORTANT especially now, when their parent is marrying a new life partner.
LET’S BEGIN WITH PLANNING AND PREPARATION.
Children who are old enough should be asked to put on their thinking caps and help with the wedding planning and preparations. Their input should always be taken into consideration and if possible acted upon.
Children can make recommendations ranging from wedding themes to color schemes. They can suggest favors and help make them. Some parents even let the children help address envelops and / or stuff them.
It is also very important to make shopping for the wedding attire a family affair.
WE’LL CONTINUE WITH THE CEREMONY
First come the obvious. If the children or grandchildren are not grown ups, they should be given the duties of a Flower Child and Ring Bearer.
During the ceremony, after the bride and groom exchange vows, they may integrate vows dedicated especially to the children.
Children who are old and responsible enough, should participate in the Unity Candle ceremony. Here there are a few options.
If only one or two children are involved, they should be given their own tapers and join the bride and groom in lighting the pillar candle.
However, if more than two children are involved, they should receive their own tapers but rather than light the pillar candle, light their tapers from it.
The candle lighting ceremony is a perfect opportunity for children who are old enough to congratulate the bride and groom and acknowledge the new family union.
A friend who recently got married told us about the Unity Candle ceremony at her wedding. She had ordered a personalized pillar candle and seven personalized tapers, and gave each child a personalized taper.
The ceremony was actually a Family Unity Ceremony. All five children (his two and her three), all above 10 years old, wrote a congratulation and thank you note to the bride and groom. Once the Unity Candle was lit, they took turns lighting their tapers from the pillar and in unison, recited the following:
“As I light my candle from the Unity Candle, I feel the warmth, love and excitement of my new, larger family.
Thank you Susan (BRIDE’S NAME or MOM or MOTHER) and Bill (GROOM’S NAME or DAD or FATHER) for having given me an extended family to love and be loved by. Congratulations! I love you!
It was such a touching experience that there wasn’t a dry eye in the room!
Right after the Family Unity Candle ceremony, Susan and Bill exchanged their first gifts as a husband and wife and gave each of the children a Family Unity Medallion, and a BIG welcome hug.
Another way to bestow honor to a teen age or older child is to have a son walk the bride and/or a daughter walk the groom down the aisle. The child can be either the bride’s or groom’s.
The reception offers as many opportunities for involving the children as there is imagination. There are also the obvious toasts, dances, special responsibilities and tasks.
By Nily Glaser
©All rights reserved to Nily Glaser 2004