Including Your Children
A guide on children in weddings would not be complete without the mention of including your own (or your fiancés or both of yours) children in your wedding. If one of you already have children, you may decide that you want to include them in your wedding. Many couples include them in the ceremony itself, and some couples include them in the vows.
In our case, we used a re-written version of the Hands Ceremony as one way to include our children. While the ceremony little resembled the initial Hands Ceremony, we did keep the line mentioning "whose hands will hold our future children" with a few revisions. We simply stated, "Whose hands hold our children" and listed their names. This is merely one example of how a common ceremony reading can be converted to include your children. Another way we included our children was to have them stand with the wedding party (it was a purposely timed to be a short ceremony for this exact reason).
You can also have a special reading or event to include your children. If they are older (pre-teen and above), a unity candle ceremony might be appropriate. Have the couple light one candle and the child light the other candle. Once they are lit, both can light the middle candle together. The unity candle is a symbol of family unity and can be used in a variety of situations.
Another solution is the "family medallion". This is a necklace that has three intertwined circles on it. Each circle can represent a person (such as Bride, Groom and Child) or the circles can represent mixed families (the bride and her children, the groom and his children and adopted/step-children). Any combination of three will work with this type of unity device. The idea is that the family becomes united like the circles on the medallion.
A friend of mine invented what she called "The Kissing Ceremony". In this ceremony, the groom and bride said traditional vows then they said vows to the child. Instead of a ring, they sealed the vows with a kiss. The vows were along the lines of "With this kiss, I swear to love you unconditionally…to do my best to raise you correctly and to take care of you in sickness and health". It's a very moving ceremony that imbues a lot of emotion into the event.
Other parents wait till after the wedding is over in order to express the solemnity of the joining of the families. The joining of families is often commemorated with a gift or a heart-felt discussion. If the child is very young, a heirloom gift may be purchased. Be sure to engrave the date, the name of the couple and the child's (or children's) name on the gift to symbolize the joining of the family rather than just the bride and groom.
These are merely a few ideas that can be used to include your children as a part of your wedding and/or marriage.