13 Oct 2017
October 13, 2017

3 Ways to Involve Children in the Wedding Ceremony

Whether the couple getting married has their own children, or they want to involve nieces, nephews, or even friend’s children in their wedding ceremony, the Officiant and the ones planning the ceremony, have multiple options to get the kids involved.  Because, the wedding ceremony is just better with kids, right?  Well, not always better but if done right, better almost every time.  So, here are 3 general ways to get kids involved in the ceremony.

  1. As part of the procession.  This is where we, as professional Officiants, see kids included most often.   The children can be ring bearers, flower girls, sign carriers, bible carriers, etc.   The keys to having children take part in the procession are making sure the child understands what they are to do, practice it with them multiple times, don’t expect them to do exactly what you showed them, have someone ready to get them should they go off plan, and enjoy the moment no matter what happens.   What I mean by this last one is that pretty much 70% of the time that I have had kids involved in ceremony procession, things have not gone exactly to plan… yet, what transpired was seen as cute and/or funny by the guests, so go with it.  Oh, and one piece of advice we always give is that if you are having a child under 10 be the ring bearer, don’t have them carrying the real rings.  You can use fake rings if they are on a pillow or just an empty box but you want to avoid a kid running off with them, or throwing them, or worse.
  2. A non-speaking role in the ceremony.  Usually this is only for children of the couple, but not always.  You can involve kids in a ceremony component or ritual in which they participate but don’t need to say anything.  The most common is a sand ceremony and although it is common, it is a great way to symbolize the joining of not only the couple, but also the kids, into the new family unit that is being formed.  They can also be involved in the lighting of a unity candle, a chocolate ceremony, or even a hand-fasting.  And, one of the most beautiful and unique ways is when the couple invites their kids up after they have exchange vows and reads vows (promises) to their children.   The one piece of advice for this option is to ask the kids and make sure they are ok being part of the wedding ceremony.  A kid who doesn’t want to be part but is told to do it can change the mood of a ceremony.
  3. A speaking role in the ceremony.  Usually this is only for older children and only for those who really want to do it.  But if the child, or children, are up for it, it is such a beautiful thing and such an honor to the couple.   They can do a reading, a poem, or something they have written, and if there are multiple children, they can share in a reading or each do their own.  Similar to the warning we give whenever others are reading something during the ceremony, someone (the couple and/or the Officiant) should review what is going to be read just to make sure it is “acceptable” and fits the couple.

And remember, there are no rules to a ceremony so if you think of other creative ways to involve children, go for it!

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