Children in the Wedding Q & A: Including children in the wedding vows


Q.I am getting married for the first time.  My future husband has 3 children from his previous marriage and we would like to include them in some way during the ceremony.  Perhaps in the vows. They are 7,11, and 14 yrs. old. Do you have any ideas?   

 
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A. How to include children in a wedding is always a very personal decision.  What's appropriate depends on a number of factors, including the age of the children, the relationship between the children and the bride or groom, the personalities of the bride/groom/children, the formality of the wedding, etc.

With children the ages you mention, there will be no doubt that they will understand whatever you choose to do (a problem with very young   children),  however, they are at ages where they may or may not feel
comfortable with some types of involvement.  They also might each have different feelings about the whole issue.  So what you come up with will need to be acceptable to everyone in the family.  I know that's awkward, but I believe that in general, the children will be thankful later if you and your future husband really take their feelings into account in this.

I suggest that if you two have not talked to his kids about the subject, he (and you if your relationship with the children is good) should do so, to feel them out on what they might enjoy and what might make them uncomfortable.  If you or he are close to your minister, you might also ask them for suggestions. If they know the people involved, they might be able to make insightful suggestions.

I do also recommend you take the time to visit either your local library or bookstore.  There are a number of books which focus on vows of many types and for many circumstances.  I have seen several that include some sort of vow to/with children.  I am moving to a new house, so my copies
are in storage, but Weddings From the Heart, by Daphne Rose Kingma, I believe has some interesting ideas for involving children.   But any book on wedding vows should have an index or table of contents where you can quickly see if they have specific vows for children or not.

Another way you could consider acknowledging the children-- but without
making a big deal which might embarrass some of them-- is to choose an appropriate quote or short verse which talks about love and children, commitment, the future, family, etc.   Depending on the quote, you would
need to decide if it would be something you would say to them, he would say to them, you would both say, someone else (minister or other) would read for you directed to the kids.  Just another idea you could pursue.

I am attaching an excerpt from an article on my website about vow renewals.  It talks about involving children, and I think explains the options fairly well, although your situation is a wedding not a renewal.


I hope this helps.  Best wishes to all of you--

Sara L. Ambarian
author/creative consultant/custom bridal designer
ambarian@frazmtn.com 
More wedding information at:
http://www.frazmtn.com/~ambarian 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

How can couples involve their children and families in their renewal?

What is appropriate involvement for children or other family members is a very personal decision. Generally, when people ask about this, it is because their children are younger and still living at home. But the appropriate involvement of a 5 year old will be a lot different than for a 15 year old.

Mostly what you want to get across is the idea that you are not only reaffirming your commitment to one another, but to the whole family. Some couples do this in an actual vow to love and care for the children.
Others have the children stand with them during the ceremony and have the minister make special comments about the re-commitment to family.

You'll want to do not only what feels right to you, but what the *children* are comfortable with. When there is a range of ages, you may
need to tailor the physical involvement of each child to their age and personality-- and their preference. Very young children won't really understand what is happening to any deep degree; teenagers will likely have the poise and understanding to be able to do whatever you ask them to.  However, you should strive to allow the children some leeway in how-- and how much-- they participate. There will likely be a range of
feelings and reactions, and they'll depend a lot on age, your relationships with each child, etc. Certainly, in whatever "vow" you
make to them, all will be included--but if a 2 year old needs to sit with grandma, or one of the kids feels too embarrassed to 'stand up'
with you during the service, or whatever, I think they will thank you later if you "cut them some slack" now.

I've also seen renewals where other family members and friends pledge to support your marriage, just as you pledge to love and support each other. Planned and worded carefully, with a small and sincere group,
this can be really beautiful. However, for a larger gathering, or if  guests don't really mean it, it could be tacky.

Some people also give some sort of token-- pendant, watch, pin, etc.-- to their children to symbolize the day. This is also common in marriages between people with children from other marriages--like the "family medallion" which you can research on-line, if you're interested. I think it can sometimes come across with the wrong message if you don't choose and handle it carefully.

There are several good books which include ideas for a separate vow with/to children and others-- especially when the family is "blended" or there have been family problems. I believe one of the best is Weddings from the Heart by Daphne Rose Kingma. If I recall right, it covers a number of different vow situations, as well as giving ideas for personalizing the ceremony.

A selection of other related books can be found at your local library, too. If yours is a smaller branch library, ask the librarian what other titles might be available on inter-library loan through your main county library or library network. There are usually a lot of available books that are not on the shelves.
 
 

 


 

Choosing Your Bridal Party Q & A: What you need to know

Its our step by step guide to wedding to wedding attendants.  No matter the question, we've got an example or answer for you

The following information is articles, questions, and answers that have been submitted by ForeverWed readers.  Should these not answer your questions. Feel free to ask an expert.

 
 
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen, Getting to know one another
Choosing your bridal party
Can my bridesmaids wear black?
Dismissing a Bridesmaid or other attendant
Do we send invitations to the people in our wedding party?
Do you have a suggestion of a fun, inexpensive way to ask them to be in my
Down the aisle: Who walks with the bride?
Eight Tips for Drafting a Great Team!
Fun and unique ways to ask my friends to be by my side in my wedding
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Is it a new tradition to have a maid of honor and matron of honor?
Is it appropriate to have my divorced dad & mom walk me down the isle
Is it tacky to have a MAID & MATRON of honor?
Is there a certain way your supposed to ask a person to be an attendant?
Matron of Honor and a Maid of Honor
more than one maid of honor?
Not the Maid of Honor, can I help?
order of processional
what color ties should the guys wear?

When should I ask them to be my attendants? 

Best man: Best Man Responsibilities
Best man: Duties of the Best man and Maid of Honor
Best man: How to choose your best man
Best man: The Morning of duties..
Best man: You've Been Chosen to be the Best man, Now Live up to it!
Best man: wedding duties for the night before
Best man: Writing that wedding speech
Best man: Forum: How soon should we order the tuxedos
Best man: Speech: Examples:  We have over 40 speeches
Children: Including Your Children
Children: Should you include them?
Children: Roles For Children in Weddings
Children: Ten tips on children participation  in Weddings
Children: Deciding on clothing
Children: Gift Ideas for children in Weddings
Children: Make your children a part of the wedding
Children: Ring Ceremony for Baby
Children: Vows that include children
Children: Including a 2 year old in the vows and ceremony
Children: Including Babies in the Ceremony
Children: Ceremony to include children
Children: Child Attendants with sitter after ceremony?
Children: How to include step children in vows
Children: Kids In The Wedding Party….Will They Be In Yours?
Children: Child care will be provided during the ceremony
Children: Who buys the pillow?
Duties: 10 Things Your Ushers Should Know
Duties: Best man Responsibilities
Duties: Do you know your duties? Check this list for your duties!
Duties: For a 4 year old daughter
Duties: Is it proper to have a maid and a matron of honor?
Duties: It is traditional for the bride to treat her maids to a luncheon
Duties: Duties of the Bestman and Maid of Honor
Duties: Maid of Honor Duties
Duties: What are the grooms parents suppose to pay for?
Duties: What exactly does a personal attendant to do?
Maid of Honor : Being the Maid of Honor
  Maid of Honor: Ordering Dresses
  Maid of Honor: Planning the Wedding Shower
  Maid of Honor (MOH): Planning the Bachelorette Party
  MOH: Tending to the Bride on the Big Day
  MOH: Advice: Can I have a maid of honor and matron of honor?
  MOH: Advice: How much money should I expect to be spending on this?
  MOH: Advice: I have been asked to be Matron of Honor, there is also a Maid of Honor.  Please advise me as to the logistics in the processional/recessional order for the both of us
  MOH: Advice: Long Distance Maid of Honor
  MOH: Advice: WHO COULD BE A MAID OF HONOR?  ALSO, HOW MANY MAID OF HONOR COULD YOU HAVE AT YOUR WEDDING?
  MOH: Advice: Is there a kosher way of letting her down? if I agree to follow through, while letting her know my concerns both financially and time commitment wise, is there an etiquette in letting others (friends, family, bridal party, etc.) know that I will NOT be paying for everything
  MOH: Advice: What do you call a guy that stands in as your maid of honor?
  MOH: Advice: maid of honor and also another friend as the matron of honor. one standing on each side.
  MOH: Advice: my best friend is getting married and has asked me to be her maid of honor, what can I wear and what are all my duties?
  MOH: Advice: I am matron of honor, I would like to give a very nice speech instead of making no sense and embarrassing my self
  MOH: Advice: Do you have any suggestions on poems, verses, jokes, etc. that would help me start and end this speech? 
  MOH: Advice: I haven't told my maid of honor that I want her to be the maid of honor yet. I really want to give her a book on being a maid of honor and how I think she is so very special.
  MOH: Advice: Mother as matron of honor
  MOH: Advice: My cousin is getting married and I am her maid of honor. What exactly am I expected to do for the wedding
  MOH: Advice: We are having 3 bridesmaids and do not want to select one as a maid of honor. Is there such a role as personal attendant who could fulfill some of the maid of honor duties?
 


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