So, when a couple marries, the relationship is affected not only by the two people who have chosen to come together as spouses, but the rest of the family also plays a very important part.
Most couples have In-laws, and often step children. It is fair to say that children can either add great support, or, work to destroy a beautiful relationship. You often hear people talk about the wicked stepmother. I think that is often something that people just say and there is no real basis to that. I hope that is the case.
I suspect in many cases that children just want to know, "Am I going to be able to contribute in some way", "Am I still your best friend?", "Will you still call your mom after you're married?", “What will change?” “How will things work?” etc., in other words, "Will I continue to be a part of your life?"
So the importance of inclusion of in-laws and children within the wedding ceremony cannot be under-rated. If we answer the questions mentioned above we can secure everyone into the extended family with a few simple steps added to the wedding ceremony.
So how do we make everyone in the blended family feel included?
You may well have your own ideas, however, I will share a few that I have used on occasion.
Lighting candles as part of the unity ceremony. That is where children from both sides of the uniting family, light a candle.
Sometimes children want to write and then read something they have composed for the special event. That always goes down a treat. For some children finding a reading about family and love might be a better option.
On Saturday, the wedding I performed, was a classic blending of two families. From the groom’s side – 3 children stood alongside their father. I asked who brought him to be married today and the 3 of them in loud voices said “We do!” On the brides side they walked in before the bride and stood at the front. One child from each family was tasked with presentation of the rings and one child shared a reading by Dr Seuss “Oh the places we will go”.
Regardless of what you use within the overall ceremony to create involvement – you might like to ask questions of the children. Asking something like - "Do you promise to support this relationship with your love and understanding?” Then a more light hearted question? “Do you promise to keep your room tidy?”
By asking questions of the children, there is no need to memorize or need to read anything. Very simply – just give a positive response. You need to know your children well and be confident that they are going to answer positively. On more than one occasion, I have had parents say, no questions! In their view the response could be either positive or negative, as they are still adjusting to the changes.
You can include Mothers and Fathers from both sides. You can gift mother’s roses during the ceremony. You can get the fathers to sign the marriage documents. They could even hold the rings and someone could collect them in the ceremony.
Sand ceremonies allow you to include multiple parties. They can all have their own coloured sand. It provides a great keepsake.
So hopefully that has you thinking and you find a way to include children or family into your wedding ceremony.