Every couple wants their wedding ceremony to be just right for them, and when children are becoming part of new, blended families there’s even more to consider. So, what’s the best way to include them in your wedding ceremony? Here’s some ideas to get you thinking…
The entrance for your wedding ceremony sets the scene for everything that follows. Assuming one of you will be waiting nervously in front of the guests, while the other walks down the aisle, there are quite a few options to get the kids involved. Maybe any little ones could be flower people scattering petals along your path. Or a ring bearer with your rings, securely fastened to a cushion! Or carrying your train if you’ve got an impressive trail in the making.
How about one of your children accompanying you down the aisle, arm in arm, showing you their support on this big day for you all? Or one child on each arm? Grooms could opt to have their children stand with them at the front along with their best man. Unless of course your son or daughter is going to be your bestie.
If you have budding musicians or singers in the family, they could perform for you as you walk down the aisle. That’s a big ask though, so they need to be well and truly up for it!
Symbolic Gestures for Blended Families
Getting your children involved in the ceremony itself can be a lovely touch to make them feel part of the family. There are plenty of symbolic gestures you can include but here are three that I think work really well…
- Handfasting. Your children can each pick a coloured ribbon and then choose words associated with that colour which describe their wishes for the family. Eg blue for kindness, orange for happiness (hit me up for the colour wheel). Then they take turns to bind your hands together with the ribbons. Once the ribbons are in place, I’ll read out a hand blessing. As you draw your hands out from the ribbons, it creates a Celtic love knot. It’s a lovely visual element for all the guests to enjoy too, and a keepsake from the ceremony.
- Blended family unity circle. I love this for younger children or if you’ve got kids of a varying ages. You all get together in front of the guests and create a circle, holding hands. Then your celebrant, talks about what family is for you… “this is a safe place full of love and strength”… “it’s where you are accepted for who you are”… v cute. I like to close this with a family hug.
- Sand blending. Each of you has a container with different coloured sand to represent everyone’s unique place in the family. You, the couple, pour some of your sand into a vase to create the foundations for your family. Then your children pour their sand on top and the grains of sand become blended. This represents your new blended family. You and your partner add the last of your sand over the top sealing your family’s love and friendship. Pop a stopper in the top and you’ve got a gorgeous reminder to keep forever.
Words from Your Celebrant
I love talking about the kids as part of the script that I create for wedding ceremonies for blended families. Adding a special moment about becoming a family and what that means for everyone is great. Giving each of the kids a specific shout out in the welcoming words is a must, even if it embarrasses them! For something more low key, including family anecdotes in your love story is a fun way to bring your children in.
I often ask your guests to make commitments to you as a family towards the end of the ceremony for blended families. This is another way to recognise your new family unit without the kids having to do anything if they’d rather not! But if they’re up for getting involved they can stand with you during the guests’ commitments.
They could of course read a poem, there’s lots for kids to choose from. They might even like to write their own poem for the two of you. And a trusted aunt or friend could work with them so it’s a surprise for you on the day.
The Recessional for Blended Families
If your wedding ceremony is as much about your new family as it is about the two of you, then you might want to do something different for your recessional. Instead of being introduced as ‘The Happy Couple or ‘Mrs & Mrs Jones Smith’ you could be introduced as ‘The Jones Smith Family’. Your children stand with you for the closing words so you’re all ready to be introduced at the end. Then you all walk or dance down the aisle as a family to your favourite song. Or the kids go first and then you follow on while your guests shower you all in confetti or maybe bubbles.
There are plenty of options for your wedding ceremony to involve your children so they feel part of this new beginning. Getting them on board might be tricky, especially if they are teenagers. But secretly they’ll be glad you did!
Most of all, have fun with it and do what works for your tribe. Find out more about my wedding ceremony services on my wedding page.