All you need is love and … a way to include your children in your wedding ceremony.
As a celebrant, I find a large percentage of the couples I marry already have children, either together or they are blending two families when they marry. Most couples want a way to include or at the very least acknowledge their children in their wedding ceremony. Here’s a list of some of the different ways you can do this.
Bridesmaids or groomsman – you can include your children, depending on their age as a bridesmaid or groomsman/best man. This type of role is best suited to a child who understands what’s going on, and can stand still long enough.
Unity ceremony – the whole idea behind a unity ceremony is the joining together of (usually two) people, but it’s an awesome way to incorporate your children into the ceremony. You could preform a sand ceremony (where you pour different coloured sands into a vessel) or a candle ceremony ( where you each light a central candle with a smaller candle)
Write children into vows – Use the platform of your vows to include a mention to your children. I like to use the I Do’s part and write a portion about supporting the other person to be the best mum/dad to your child. It’s a very effective way to make a small acknowledgement of the children if that’s what you’re going for.
Walk down the aisle – You can have your children walk down the aisle with you. If your children are older they could actually do the ‘giving away’ part, or if they are smaller they could just walk hand in hand with you.
Reading or poem – Depending on the child’s age and confidence level, you could ask them to perform a reading or poem, or ask them to write a poem themselves to read out at the wedding.
Flower girl/Ring bearer – Little people are super cute as flower girls or ring bearers.
Vows – There are numerous examples of children saying vows as well as the couple. Again the decision should be based on age, and their understanding of the wedding process. It could be as simple as a question and the child simply saying “I Do” or in the case of a blended family, the step parent saying vows or promises to the child.
Picking the ring, or helping plan the proposal – Depending on the age of the child, you could include them in the picking of the engagement ring, or involve them in the planning and execution of the proposal. Just make sure they can keep a secret.
Invite them to join the first dance – Ask your children to join you a little bit after the first dance starts, super cute.
Sign the marriage certificate – Your children can sign the marriage certificate, as long as they understand entirely what they are signing. If you don’t think they are quite age appropriate to do that, you can ask your celebrant to produce a family certificate (not legal) and all sign that on the day as well.
Hand fasting ritual – Include your children in a hand-fasting ritual, as part of the ceremony.
Exchange gifts with children – You can exchange rings with your children as well as your husband/wife or another piece of jewellery altogether, maybe a necklace or pendant or a signet ring. I do know of a couple who had 4 rings made, and the children’s rings fit into adults rings, very cool.
Handing out ceremony booklets – Use children to hand out ceremony booklets or bubbles or confetti to guests before the ceremony starts, and usher people to their seats.
Play music – If your child is a talented musician, ask them to showcase their musical abilities before the ceremony begins.
Getaway car – Ask them to help decorate the getaway car, you know the deal, tin cans, streamers, ‘just married’ sign.
Photographer in training – Give them a cheap camera, with a strap for added security, and ask them to take photos after the ceremony and during the reception. You’ll be amazed at the shots you’ll get, and you’ll see the celebration from their point of view.
Just remember to think about the age of the child, what are they going to be able to handle on the day? What type of personality do they have, are the super confident or very shy? Are they liable to say something inappropriate at the wrong time? Also think about to what extent you want to include your children. Some couples just want a small mention of their children in the ceremony, and the rest focused on them as a couple committing, while others want to include the children saying vows to the family unit as well. Your celebrant should be able to point you in the right direction, and give you lots of options.
Remember as always that it is your day, and to do it your way.