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How to include your children in the wedding ceremony if you get married again
When a couple gets married the second or third time around, they already know what they do and don't want in their ceremony. It is usually low key, and there are fewer bells and whistles throughout the ceremony. However, getting married again might mean more than just a couple's union; it might involve blending two families.
A wedding ceremony is an ideal opportunity to honour the beginning of the blended family. This start can be a significant milestone for them, particularly for older and adult children. Creating an inclusive ceremony for the children is a great way to make them feel loved, recognised and part of the new blended family. So, how do you include the children in the wedding ceremony to make them feel part of the big day?
Include them right from the start
The wedding planning is the start of the special day, so get the children involved from day one so they feel like this special day is about the union of the parents and a union of the family. They don't necessarily have to make the decisions but let them be part of the process, like including them in the cake testing, choosing poems or music for the ceremony, and preparing for the first dance.
Let them have a role in the wedding party
Whatever age the children might be, give them a role to play by letting them be ring bearers or flower girls, and if they are older than ten, they can be your bridesmaids and groomsmen. They can read their own poetry, or do a reading, too. They will remember their unique role for the rest of their lives!
"At second wedding ceremonies I have performed at, one couple had all the children as bridesmaids, another had the three young children walk down the aisle together arm in arm, and one couple had the older child from each side sign the register."
Acknowledge the children in the ceremony
The celebrant can acknowledge the children early in the ceremony after welcoming the guests. The couple or the celebrant can choose to speak with them directly. Some couples also present a gift as a memento of the occasion.
"With my own wedding, we started with a dedication to our five adult children and their partners. They surrounded us as we spoke about each one and what they had brought to our family."
Include the children in your rituals
Many rituals that unite couples in wedding ceremonies can be altered to include the children, too.,The couple and the children can be included in the handfasting ceremony by asking the children to each place a ribbon over the couple's hands. Use a different coloured ribbon for each member of the family. If the couple would like a keepsake from their special day of the uniting of the day, everyone in the new blended family can pour different coloured sand into a glass vase.
Acknowledge the lost parent
Never assume that the first marriage ended badly. Some brides, grooms or children may want to remember and acknowledge a deceased partner or parent.
There are lots of beautiful ways to honour lost loved ones. For example, the lost loved one can be either mentioned in a toast before the wedding or during the ceremony, "Thanks to Graham for giving this family such wonderful children."
A memento of importance, like a photo, can be placed on a table, or the children could light a remembrance candle at the ceremony.
"I've had photos, family bible, and other memento items placed strategically on the table or signing table."
And have fun!
"I think second-time rounders generally have a great sense of fun and relaxation around their ceremony and celebration. They know what they want, and their guest list is usually very personalised and full of guests who are a genuine part of their life."
With that in mind, it is essential to have fun and create a ceremony that unites the couple, the children and the extended family. So go all out to get everyone involved, even it means using a non-traditional approach by including them in the cake topper and first dance.
However, you choose to personalise your wedding ceremony, find a CANZ celebrant who can help you plan a bespoke ceremony that allows you to acknowledge the children to create a truly memorable day for all.