Portrait of Family on Beach TogetherAbout 33 percent of today's marriages blend two families to form stepfamilies. When two people who have children from previous marriages or relationships fall in love, they are vowing to love the other person's children as well. Many couples are choosing to incorporate their children into the wedding ceremony and reception to show unity and make the children feel like part of the new family. From traditional to unique, there are a variety of ways to make the kids feel special.

Traditional Ways to Include Children in a Wedding

If you plan to have a very traditional wedding, you probably want to include the kids using traditional methods. Depending on their ages, you could have them to be flower girls or ring bearers. If the kids are older, they can stand as junior or traditional bridesmaids or groomsmen or act as ushers to seat people for the ceremony.

Some families also choose to incorporate the children into the ceremony. Consider lighting a unity candle, incorporating them into vows that include a passage about the family or asking them to write a set of their own vows for the wedding. These vows can be lighthearted or formal, depending on the children's comfort and the type of ceremony you're having. You may also have the officiant introduce the two of you as a couple and then introduce all of you as a newly blended family.

Ways That Kids Can Help and Feel Included at the Same Time

Younger children like to feel as if they are contributing and helping in some way. One of the easiest ways to do this is to allow your children to help you make choices for the wedding. Narrow each choice down to two or three favorites and let the kids make the final choice.

  • Appetizers
  • Entrees
  • Cake flavors
  • Flowers
  • Wedding favors
  • Songs

If you'd prefer to keep all the choices for yourself and your partner, ask the kids to help in some other way. Have them decorate the kids' table with pre-approved decorations or ask them to give a toast, read a poem or put on a musical performance during the reception. You may even think about giving them an affordable but sturdy digital camera and allowing them to take pictures of the wedding. You're sure to get a perspective that is unique from the professional photographer or even the other wedding guests.

Unique Ways to Ensure the Kids Have Fun at the Reception

Maybe you just want some ways to ensure the kids have as great a time as the adults do. Why not create a scavenger hunt? Divide the kids into two teams and give each one a cheap digital camera. Have them spend the reception taking pictures of items on the list such as a kissing couple, the bride in her dress or someone doing a line dance. If your kids love to dance, the new couple may want to have a special dance with each child. Consider letting the kids pick the song to make it even more special. Finally, if you expect to have a lot of teens at your reception, think about renting a special, smaller room where they can play video games, watch movies and talk. A bit of independence goes a long way for a teenager.

Don't forget to think about your own comfort during the ceremony and reception, of course. If your children are still at the age where they frequently need help with things such as getting drinks or going to the restroom, hire a high school or college student to provide babysitting services during the reception. This way, the kids can still participate, but you can enjoy your day without taking care of too many parental duties. Everybody is happy!

Category: Wedding Planning

receptions communication family children

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