Article 2 – The Blending Family Ceremony Includes Kids.
By Nily Glaser
©All rights reserved to Nily Glaser 2006-2014
This article is dedicated to couples that will have a “blended” family once they are married. That is, children will have a new parent and possibly new siblings.
A family wedding is very important when either or both bride and groom have children. Children must always feel that they are IMPORTANT especially now, when their parent is marrying a new life partner. There are two main reasons. One of the reasons is that children need reassurance. They need to know that they are important too, and that they are welcome and wanted by both, parents and new siblings.
The other is that most parents WANT their children to be an integral part of the wedding and celebration as they are a part of the newly created, blended family.
Many re-marrying couples, as well as couples with children, who are planning to renew their vows, ask if we at A-wedding Day could suggest how they can integrate the children into the wedding ceremony and / or reception in such a way that it will become a Family Wedding. That is, a wedding that creates a new family.
The following are ideas, implementation of which depends on the ages – abilities of the children and the degree of involvement the marrying couple wishes to dedicate to them.
THE FAMILY CEREMONY RESPONSIBILITIES
First come the obvious. Children or grandchildren should be given the duties of:
- Flower Child(ren), not the hippies of the sixties but wedding flowers or rose petals bearers.
- Ring Bearer(s). That is right! You may have more than one flower child and more than one ring bearer.
I bet you wonder why I did not say Flower Girl. This is because a boy can be a flower child just as a girl can be a ring bearer.
- Have the children ask the guests to sign the Guest Book.
- Have the children lead the guests to their seats.
Another way to bestow honor to teen age or older children) is to
- have the son(s) walk the bride and / or the daughter(s) walk the groom down the aisle. The son can be either the bride’s or the groom’s and so can the daughter be.
- Include your children in the wedding party as attendants.
VOWS and JEWELRY EXCHANGE
During the ceremony, after the bride and groom exchange vows and rings, they may integrate vows dedicated especially to the children, followed by the presentation of gifts of jewelry such as an engraved ring.
For family vows ideas, click here.
Be very careful about your vows so that you’ll not encounter the experience that will be forever etched in the hearts of Ben and Barbara. Both had previously been married. Ben had 2 kids ages 8 and 12 and Barbara a daughter age 5. Barbara presented her vows to the children in a way that required a response. This is what Barbara said: ” I hope that you’ll accept my promise to be the best mom I can be to you. I promise to love you and support you and be fully involved in your life.” Barbara wanted to make her vows less solemn and more appealing to the kids, so she ended with “Do we have a deal?” What a mistake!!! The 8 years old did not answer but the 12 years old did. In front of all the guests he said: “You may love us and support us but you’ll never be our mom. We already have a mom.” Lesson learned! Vows should always be one sided. They are to be given with no strings attached and no expectations. Your vows are your promise. Word it wisely. Do not request the kids to make any promises and do not pot them in a position where they have to protect, or not hurt one of their parents.
Following are two other examples of vows that are worth noting.
There are many styles of vows. Most are written by the bride and groom or by a hired vows writer. For illustration purpose, I’ll have the bride and groom recite these traditional remarriage vows. The last part is an adaptation of vows to the children, making the vows ideal for blended families:
Or are they.
Vow 1 – exchanged with bride and groom’s vows.
“I,____, take you, ____, to be my lawful wife – husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
I, _______, take you now, in the presence of God and these witnesses, to be my wife – husband. I vow that I shall love you, honor you, respect you, cherish you and uphold this promise in good times and in bad as long as we both shall live.”
” I________, promise to be a good and faithful husband – wife to you, and as importantly a patient, loving father – mother to (children’s names), caring for them, supporting them, and providing for them as my own. I promise to be their strength and their emotional support, loving them with all my heart forever.”
Is this an ideal vow to present the children?
Did you notice that the vow was actually given to the bride rather than be directed to the children? Did you also notice the promise to be a loving mother – father?
If the children have a living mother – father they will resent this promise. If the word parent was used instead it would not cause bitterness.
Vow 2 – Given to children by the grooms at the time of gifts presentation
The following was a vow from a groom to his bride’s children.
He vowed as he presented each of the children with a Family Unity Ring.
“Today, as I married your mother, you became my family.
I am delighted because I love you.
I promise you that I’ll always shower you with love, take care of you and do my very best for you.”
Is this an ideal vow to present the children?
It may not be Ideal but close to it.
Did you notice that it was directed to the children?
It was a vow substantiated by facts. Though the groom states that the kids became his family he does not presume to present himself as their father or even parent.
He seems to promise them what was already in his heart.
Without fancy words, he basically promise to do his best for them.
Vow 3 – Just imagine the following scenario. It actually happened.
The officiant at a blending family wedding thought the kids should respond in kind. So after the bride and groom made their promises to the kids, he initiated the following saying:
“And now, (children’s names) that your are a part of a new loving blending family- please say (“I do”) or(“We do”) after each question:
· Do you promise to love and respect your parent’s new husband -wife?
· Do you promise to support their marriage and your new family?
· Do you promise to accept the responsibility of being their children, and to encourage them and support them in your new life together?”
DO NOT DO THIS! Never expect the children to make promises to the bride and groom or to each other.
The vows must come from parents to children as a ONE SIDED COMMITMENT and must be carefully worded. Do not expect the children to present the bride and groom with vows, unless of course the vows were the kids’ idea and they wrote them on their own maybe even as a surprise to the bride and groom.
THE FAMILY UNITY CANDLE
Children who are old and responsible enough, should participate in the Unity Candle ceremony. Here there are a few options.
If only one or two children are involved, they should be given their own tapers and join the bride and groom in lighting the pillar candle.
However, if more than two children are involved, they should receive their own tapers but rather than light the pillar candle, light their tapers from it.
The candle lighting ceremony is a perfect opportunity for children who are old enough and wish to congratulate the bride and groom and acknowledge the new family union. This must be initiated by the kids without any coaxing or expectations.
A friend who recently got married told us about the Unity Candle ceremony at her wedding. She had ordered a personalized pillar candle and seven personalized tapers from Candles By Nily and gave each child a personalized taper.
The ceremony was actually a Family Unity Ceremony. All five children (his two and her three), all above 10 years old, wrote a congratulation and thank you note to the bride and groom.
Once the Unity Candle was lit, they took turns lighting their tapers from the pillar and surprised their parents as in unison, recited the following:
“As I light my candle from the Unity Candle, I feel the warmth, love and excitement of my new, larger family.
Thank you Susan (BRIDE’S NAME or MOM or MOTHER) and Bill (GROOM’S NAME or DAD or FATHER) for having given me an extended family to love and be loved by. Congratulations! I love you!
It was such a touching experience that there wasn’t a dry eye in the room!
Right after the Family Unity Candle ceremony, Susan and Bill exchanged their first gifts as a husband and wife and gave each of the children a personalized Family Unity Ring, Available at A-wedding Day, and a BIG welcome hug.
Susan and Bill engraved the 3 in 1 ring as follows:
Band 1 To child’s name
Band 2 With Love
Band 3 Wedding Date.
Notice that they did not put Mom and Dad on the ring. Many parents do put Mom and (groom’s name) or Dad and (bride’s name).
Rachel and Tony added a touch of their own to the ceremony.
After the unity candle ceremony they had the Best man hand them a silk rope akin to the one used as a curtain tie. The bride and groom tied the first knot and each child added a knot. The knotted rope was later placed in a shadow box with the candles, sixpence, glass slipper, hankie, and tiaras.
This series is divided into 4 articles. Article 1 engagement and preparations Article 2 family ceremony Article 3 family reception Article 4 is a table with ideas applicable to certain age groups
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