Including older children in your wedding ceremony
Whether it is their first or subsequent marriage, many couples have children whom they wish to include actively in the ceremony. We are not talking here about ringbearers, but about anything from flowergirls and groomsmen or groomsboys to the select list of people called upon to do or say something as part of the ceremony.
At some weddings where I have officiated, the children were the ones to give this woman to this man and this man to this woman.
At others, the children have given a reading of a poem, sung a song, performed a special dance, or played a musical instrument.
Blending families at the wedding
I have also created wedding ceremonies where the couple is blending two families – his children, her children and our children. For these couples, I have written special words to say to the children, about being welcomed into the new family and being so loved and such important and precious members of the family. Often this part of the ceremony includes the giving of gifts by the bride and groom to the children.
And sometimes the child or children will say words of welcome to the new parent.
When I introduce the couple at the end of such a ceremony, I will often say, “It is my great delight to be the first to introduce you to the official family of James, Jenna, Hailey, Oliver, and Nora.”
Children unhappy about the wedding?
A word of caution: in rare circumstances, the child or children may be finding it difficult to accept the new ”mother” or “father.” It’s wise to be sensitive to how they are feeling, and take the time in the months leading up to the wedding to prepare them for the ceremony and to talk to them about their feelings and yours. If any of the children is particularly upset about the situation, it may be worth making alternative plans for them to be doing something else when you are actually getting married. It is also a sanity-saver for you to be flexible, and to be prepared for the child or children to change their minds at the last minute as to whether they want, or don’t want, to be at the wedding. Forcing them to be there makes everyone unhappy.
In almost all weddings at which I’ve officiated where the families are blending, the children have come around, and been delighted to be involved in the ceremony