How To: Include Your Children

A wedding is focused on the bride and the groom but what about when one or both have children? A wedding is about uniting two families into one, so it only makes sense to include the children in your celebration. Discuss with your fiance how involved you want the children to be and include them in your planning process. They will feel special and this could provide a great opportunity to form a closer relationship with your spouse’s children if you haven’t already done so. After you decide what role you would like the children to play, ask them if they are comfortable and if they have any opinions. It is still your decision in the end, but asking their opinion will show you value what they have to say.

flowergirl

If you have younger children, they could be your flower girl or ring bearer. There is no rule about what age they should be, but you typically see children between the ages of 3 and 8 in this role. Younger girls usually enjoy throwing the flower petals down the aisle more than those who are in high school and older. A younger boy as the ring bearer makes for an adorable photo shoot after the ceremony with the groom. An older child could just as easily fill these roles also. They might remember the ceremony and recognize their importance in it more than a younger child would.

sandceremony

The unity sand ceremony is a tradition with three vases at the altar, two filled with different colors of sand and one empty. After the bride and groom exchange rings and vows, they each take their respective containers of sand and pour them together into the empty vase. The unity sand ceremony symbolizes the joining of two different people, or families, into one. To include your children, there should be a container filled with different colored sand for each child. After you and your fiance pour your sand together, have each child pour theirs as well.

wedding-favor-bag

You can put the children in charge of, or just to help with, the wedding guest favors. A common favor at weddings is bubbles, which almost every child loves. Others include coloring books for kids, mini engraved candles, or tiny bells. If it’s in your budget, consider letting each child contribute one small favor to a goodie bag. That way, each guest will go home with a piece from each member of your new family.

brideandchild

Include the children in your before and after wedding shoot. Before the wedding means your engagement photos; this way you can let all of your friends and family know that it isn’t just about you and your fiance, but a whole new family. The photos you take after your wedding could be perfect for your new house together. Younger children don’t always have the same attention span as an adult so don’t plan for them to be in a lot of pictures. Talk with your photographer before hand about taking the photos with the children first, so that they can relax and have fun while you finish your photo shoot.

Other roles include letting the children pass out programs before the ceremony or pass out the wedding favors instead of placing them on the tables. Also, when reciting your vows, have you and your fiance add a verse or two at the end to include promises to your children. You may also buy an item for each child to symbolize your joining as a family. This item does not need to be expensive, it could be a plastic ring for play or matching bracelets. As long as it holds meaning for you as a family and shows the children they are welcome and loved.

-Nikki

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