Children Involvement In Wedding Ceremonies & Wedding Planning
If you’re bringing children from a previous relationship, ‘what will the children do on the wedding day?’. Whatever you do, don’t leave this until the last moment.
If you are trying to think of a way to involve a child in your second wedding there are plenty of imaginative and exciting ways children can be involved, especially in the ceremonies. Having children from a previous relationship, whether the bride, the groom, or both, the question to address very early on is ‘what will the children do on the wedding day?’. Whatever you do, don’t leave this until the last moment.
The roles which come easily to mind are bridesmaids (for second marriages with older children), ring bearers (page boys), best man or maid of honor, again for older children, flower girls, and ushers- and if everyone is willing there is a lot to be said for this. Even if you are planning a very small civil wedding, it is still a good excuse to have those extra special outfits bought for the children, as long as they are ones they will enjoy wearing! And do tread carefully here.
Adam and Olivia involved their children in all the details of planning the wedding, and arranged that on the day itself their minister would add special vows for children in a second marriage. This was so that the children could be asked if they promised to love and honor their mother’s new partner. A loud and firm ‘We do’ was heard by all present. In turn Adam was asked if he would love and support the children from now on. He was delighted to assert with conviction ‘I do.’
Lara told me that her children, ages five and nine, became so involved in the planning of her second wedding that it was as if they viewed themselves as getting married too, and began to speak of ‘our wedding.’ So, you can see how children’s involvement in the wedding ceremonies and the planning of them can make all the difference.
Cindy, who had two daughters of her own and was marrying Bill with three daughters, found a way of turning the whole wedding into a hive of activity. Luckily, all the girls loved being creative and involved with making things. She asked their advice, and then they set to making wedding favors, head-dresses, and table decorations. The more involvement the girls had in the planning, the more excited they became. And more importantly, more in touch with each other as stepsisters.
But proceed with some caution. Some older children prefer to be heard but not seen, so they may be happy to sing at a parent’s wedding. Others may offer to contribute by reading a poem which can be incorporated into the service. Rosemary played a harp as her mother remarried. One daughter volunteered to paint a scene showing the whole ‘new’ family which decorated a wall in the church hall where they held the reception.
Children love to be consulted about details so encourage them to suggest colors, flowers, and even wedding music, even though their taste might be in question. Ten-year-old Robin said he wanted to provide wedding bubbles. As so he did. It was arranged for him to work a bubble machine when his mother and her new husband came out of the church.
Be sensitive to the children’s feelings and remember kids are often shy, so be sure to have some ‘behind the scenes’ jobs available. Second marriages with older children are terrific because they can obviously offer more help and take on more difficult tasks. They can help address the wedding invitations; a younger child can stuff the envelopes and glue the postage stamps. Feeling really creative? Have the children make the wedding invitations! If you are having a reception at home, the children can be even more inventive by decorating their own space, and any ‘hands on’ ideas you can have will make them feel a part of it all.
If a child is reluctant to be involved in any activity, and there may be many reasons for this, respect their point of view and never force a child’s involvement. Gently remind them that their presence is of great importance and that will be enough if that’s where their comfort level remains. But do make sure there is a photograph taken of all of you on the day.
Remember you are beginning to create memories and a history for your new family. So, although this is your wedding day, if either already has a child of any age, you are marrying and blending a family. So listen to the kid’s suggestions; they may have ideas which will surprise you. And don’t forget to give each child a well-chosen wedding gift as a ‘thank you’ memento of the wedding.