16 Dec 2016
December 16, 2016

Including Kids in the Wedding Ceremony

With second marriages and couples getting married later than in the past, many couples already have children and want to involve them in their wedding ceremony in some way.   The most obvious way is to include them in the procession (flower girl, ring bearer, sign board holder, etc.), but there are other ways that we wanted to mention.  An excellent option is to involve them in some sort of ceremonial component such as a sand ceremony or a hand fasting.  The sand ceremony is a beautiful and symbolic way to involve children since the pouring of the jars of sand by the kids shows to everyone that the creation of this new family is not just the joining of the couple but the joining of the couple and their children – and with each person getting their own color sand, the children can tell that their own character plays a role in the beauty of the family.   For other component options such as the hand fasting, the children can be ribbon wrappers or helpers in other ways.   We have also had teenage children who have done readings during the ceremony and even had couples make vows not only to their new spouse but to the children as well.

Although we completely support involving the couple’s children in the ceremony, there were a few cautions we did want to mention.  First, check with each child and make sure that they are comfortable being involved, as some children are shy and would rather just be a guest sitting in a chair.  Being in front of that many people can be intimidating and uncomfortable.  Second, understand that when you involve children in the ceremony, especially young ones, things may not go as planned…no need to force it, just have a back-up plan and be ready to go with the flow (e.g. Officiant wraps the hand fasting ribbon when the child isn’t coming up).   And finally, if children are going to be involved, make sure you rehearse their part with them so they are comfortable and ready, because, as we know, the more prepared everyone is, the better the wedding ceremony will be.

One other note – while celebrating the new family and including the children can be powerful and meaningful, it shouldn’t be the focus.  We’ve had couples try to include too many different things with the children, and that can feel awkward and maybe even send the wrong message.  So you need to remember that ultimately the ceremony is a celebration of marriage, which is the basis of the family, and therefore the couple is the focus of the ceremony, with the children or family just a component.

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