If you have children, making the decision to marry or remarry affects their lives as much as yours. Your wedding day is the perfect opportunity to help your kids make the transition into this new blended family, no matter what their age.
Make sure your kids feel included from the start by beginning long before the wedding day itself. Younger children might help you stuff and mail the invitations, while older kids could use their confidence on the computer to keep your guest list and RSVPs organized in a spreadsheet or creating your wedding programs.
Let your kids have a say in what they will wear to the rehearsal dinner and wedding – within reason, of course. If your child insists on wearing cowboy boots and a superhero costume every day of the week, this might be a challenge. But, if your child understands the level of formality you and your fiancé have chosen for the event and you express your enthusiasm over the color or style of clothing, go ahead and let your child loose within those limitations and encourage their creativity as far as accessories he or she might wear such as a miniature bouquet or boutonnière, headband or earrings, a pillow or some other way to carry the rings, etc.
There are numerous tasks that your kids can handle during the wedding and feel as though they are playing an important role.
1. Flower girl or ring bearer – Usually between the ages of 4 to 7.
2. Attendants — Junior bridesmaids or junior groomsmen are usually between the ages of 8 to 12, while older children may act as a maid or honor or best man.
3. Ushers to seat guests
4. Pass out something to the guests, whether it be the wedding programs, favors, bubbles or birdseed
5. Guest book or gift table duty
6. Roving photographer or videographer
7. Vocal or instrumental soloist
8. Read scripture or poetry during the ceremony
9. Add vows for you and your new spouse to express to the children during the ceremony.
10. Include the kids in lighting a unity candle or family candle, a prayer or a blessing during the wedding.
11. Present each child with a symbolic piece of jewelry such as a charm or medallion to represent your love and devotion during this time of growth and change.
12. Include your children in the first dance ritual at the reception by encouraging them to join you and your new spouse during the second verse or in a special song following your first dance.
13. Instead of a groom’s cake, let your kids choose the design and style of a cake for the reception.
What if your fiancé has children, but you don’t? Including his family in your wedding is still a great way to encourage a smooth transition into this new stage of your lives. This can be a
little tricky depending on the atmosphere and any challenges that might exist such as whether you may have already met his kids and started to form a relationship with them prior to the wedding or if his ex harbors resentment toward your happiness. Discuss the possibilities with your husband-to-be in advance of the wedding, with plenty of time to discover the best way to ask the children to be involved.
If your children are grown and have families of their own, think about using some of these ideas to make sure your grandchildren feel included in your day.