INVOLVING CHILDREN IN THE CEREMONY
Children need to feel important to their parents. Sometimes the changes coming into their lives due to the growing love of their parent with another increases their sense of threat or powerlessness. Children often cannot express fears or doubts they have. If children are coming into the marriage, it is wise, therefore, that children be recognized or participate in some aspect of the wedding ceremony. Involving children in the Ceremony helps them to transition to the new relationship of which they are now a part. This need not involve more responsibilities than they are comfortable with. Perhaps including their names in the Ceremony will be sufficient recognition. Mentioning their names during the Wedding supports their recognition that they are an important part of the occasion and confers a special status that guests and other family members attending do not have.
If children are coming into the marriage, it is appropriate to mention in the Ceremony that not only is a marriage being formed, but also a family – and then name each child.
If a prayer is in the ceremony, each child’s name could be stated in the prayer, such as below:
“Oh Lord, today we not only celebrate this marriage, but we also celebrate the formation and affirmation of a family with – (child or children’s names) –
We pray that you guide _(Bride)___ and _(Groom)_ as parents to raise and teach (child/children’s names) with love and respect; and that you protect this new family and keep them always in your care…”
NEW PARENT’S VOW TO CHILDREN
If the marriage ceremony involves minor children coming into the family, sometimes the new parent will state a vow also to the child(ren). He/she will address the child(ren) by name and then state a short vow accepting the child(ren) as their own and making a commitment to them.
_(Child(ren)_ , I promise to accept and love you as my own child(ren) and to protect and love you all of my life. I promise to do my best to guide and support you – and to respect you enough to allow you to see the world through your own eyes.”
NO NEED FOR EXCESSIVE INVOLVEMENT OF CHILDREN IN THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY
Generally, children will not share your sense of excitement about the wedding. Rather, to them it seems more a party occasion. For this reason their actions may unpredictable and uncontrollable, so use their involvement sparingly unless you are prepared for and willing to roll with the unexpected. With this in mind, it is generally best to only mention children in the ceremony and / or to give a child only one active role n the ceremony.
With teenagers, be careful not to give them roles they may feel silly. Care should be given in asking a teenager to give the bride away or publically state agreement with the marriage lest a child actually feel uncomfortable with the marriage but unable to verbalize their feelings.
Keep in mind that, while your children and children coming into a marriage are important to consider, nonetheless, the wedding is foremost for the couple.
PARTICIPATION IN THE CEREMONY
For younger children, usually the simple task of holding the rings or bouquet is enough to accomplish a sense of participation.
For teenagers, the role may be as simple as standing up with the couple, playing the CD or tape of wedding music, or even just taking pictures of the ceremony.
WALKING THE BRIDE FORWARD
The bride’s children may sometimes walk forward with the bride. When asked “who brings this woman to this man?” they answer “We do” or “We do for the family”.
GIFT FOR THE CHILDREN AFTER THE EXCHANGE OF RINGS
Typically, couples give children a gift right after they exchange their own rings and vows – usually a necklace or ring – along with a hug and “I love you.”
WHEN CHILDREN TEND TO FEEL “LEFT OUT” IN A WEDDING
While most couples are careful to take time to talk to the children about the marriage before the wedding day and involve children in some aspect of the ceremony, it is easy to forget the importance of continuing this consideration after the ceremony. The bride and groom walk away and are crowded by “big people” – with the children left out and forgotten in the immediate post-ceremony celebration. Take time, therefore, to hug the children, thank them for helping in the ceremony, and then release them to enjoy the day with their friends and, if they so desire, be little hosts to the guests.
NON-CEREMONY ROLES FOR CHILDREN
With many weddings, a good way to involve children (except very young) is to give each their own one-time use camera and have them take pictures they think are important. It will be interesting to see what pictures they take and the photos could be theirs later when developed.
ADVISE ME OF THE CHILD/CHILDREN’S NAMES
Simply write the name(s) in the margin of the ceremony and your officiant will mention their names at the appropriate place.
Member of TeamWedding.ca™: Complete Canadian Wedding Ideas Website!
Copyright protected under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Canada License