Ways to Include Your Kids into Your Wedding
Weddings oftentimes symbolize more than just two individuals making a promise to one another. When your wedding day also represents two families being brought together, it is important to recognize and celebrate the newest additions in your life as well. Including your children into the wedding day events not only provides them with the opportunity to feel welcomed into your life, but it also serves as your first activity together as a new family. Whether you have children of your own or you are looking to incorporate your fiancé’s children into your Big Day, there are multiple ways to create lasting memories for all involved.
During the Ceremony
There are a handful of roles that you can assign to children during the wedding ceremony that will not require too much coordination from them or add a ton of preparation to your ceremony planning (because let’s be honest, who needs that?). The following ideas are simple, yet put a modern twist on the treasured traditions you will probably already be including.
Let Them Lead the Way. One of the most magnificent parts of the ceremony is when the wedding party makes their grand entrance. While your friends, relatives, and beloved eagerly await your presence, the kids can kick off the processional. Consider giving them a sign to hold adorned with a phrase such as “Here Comes the Bride.” Having your child lead the processional gives them the opportunity to literally lead you to the next step of both of your lives.
Give Them Flower Duty or Make Them the Ring Bearer. The role of flower girl has long been relegated to cute younger relatives and charming children of close friends. However, if you have a daughter that is younger than nine, it’s a no-brainer to let her be the one to scatter flower petals down the aisle. While it’s best to have a flower girl at least three years of age, if your daughter is a little bit younger, consider assigning a relative or family friend to help her get down the aisle without a hitch. If you have a son, making him the ring bearer is one of the easiest ways to include him in your special day. Your son will feel like an important part of your union when he carries in the rings, and those pictures will be absolutely adorable. Make sure your son is old enough to hold the rings and complete the walk down the aisle without getting distracted or shy.
Have Them “Give You Away.” Traditionally, the father of the bride gives her away to the groom during the wedding ceremony. However, you can certainly have your child give you away too! However, aisles can quickly become crowded so try to stick to one or two people besides yourself to escort you down the aisle for a smooth entrance.
Include Them in Your Wedding Party. Some couples make their longtime friends or siblings their bridesmaids or groomsmen, but there’s no rule saying you can’t make your mini-me your right-hand pal. Let your child stand first in line by your side as you promise forever to the love of your life.
Have Them be a Part of Your Unity Ceremony. There are many different types of unity ceremonies that have become popular over the years, but no matter which one you choose they are all very easy to adapt to have your children involved. The candle unity ceremony can be customized by having your children light the two candles that you will use as a couple to light the main unity candle, as is normally done by the parents of the couple. This is great for couples who have separate children of their own, as it gives them a way to show the joining of the two families. If you choose to go the sand route, it is as easy as picking a different color for each child and having them integrate their color within yours.
Add Them to Your Vows. There are a couple of ways that you can include your children in your wedding vows. If your child is an infant or toddler, writing the child into your vows is an option. After all, you are promising forever not just to your partner, but to your children as well. If your child is an adolescent, you and your partner can have them stand at the altar as you recite vows directly to them. Teenage or adult children can create their own vows to your partner to recite along with you and your groom.
Giving Them a Gift of Commitment. As you are giving your fiancé a ring to show your commitment, you can also choose to give a gift to your children as well. This is generally done before or after the exchanging of the rings. It can be as simple as a rose, a special book with meaning, or perhaps jewelry. A bracelet is a great choice as it also is circle shaped and can be a sign of unity for your family. There are different ways that you can present the gift of commitment as well. Your officiant can explain the gift of commitment or talk about the meaning behind the gift itself. Or this can be the perfect time for you to say personal vows to your children expressing your commitment.
During the Reception
If you and your fiancé would rather give your child a role in your wedding that is a little more creative and out-of-the-box, the wedding reception is the best place to do it. Not only does this allow for creative incorporations that your guests can participate in, but it also allows your child to think up their own way to be a part of your wedding.
Let Them Throw the Bouquet, Too. After the cake has been cut, many brides opt to toss their bouquet. However, there is a darling way to add your child to this age-old tradition as well. While your single friends and family are clamoring to catch your bouquet, you can have your little one toss a small matching bouquet of their own into the crowd. This can be especially fun if they are between the ages of three and nine as they are likely to be excited to be included in the action. Some florists and specialty shops also make edible candy bouquets, which can add an element of fun for a younger “tosser.”
Include Them in the First Dance. During the first dance, all eyes are typically on the couple as they sway their way into the night. However, this is a moment where three or more is not a crowd. You can make your first dance extra special by including your child in a variety of ways. All three of you can huddle or dance in a circle holding hands. If you have two or more children, consider devoting time to choreograph a fun dance number for all of you to perform in lieu of the first dance. If your child is shy or doesn’t dance, you can include them in the brainstorming process as you and your partner choose the song you both will dance to. You can even have your DJ shout out their involvement in picking the song.
Create a Signature Drink for Them. If you are already creating a unique cocktail for your guests at your wedding, consider having an additional non-alcoholic signature drink in honor of your child or children. Name it after them or include them in the process of naming it and pass them around with your appetizers. Your child will feel like a rock star having their very own special drink that they can partake in during toasts and any guests who don’t drink alcohol will appreciate having a signature drink with so much meaning behind it.
Give them a Spotlight Moment. There will be plenty of times throughout the night where the focus will be solely on you and your new spouse. However, you can add a specific and special moment during the reception in which your child can share something that is unique to them. This can be anything from a poem, playing an instrument, or kicking off the toasts. There is no limit as to what your child can do. You can also take this a step further by having them prepare for their spotlight moment with a relative or family friend to make the moment a sweet surprise for the day of the wedding.
Overall, there are many ways to incorporate your children or your fiancé’s children into your wedding celebration. You can try one of these suggestions or even find your own special way to include your child in the festivities. We have only one requirement – have your photographer on call and ready so that you can cherish these moments for years to come.