BLENDED FAMILIES & CHILDREN
Often couples have children that they bring to the relationship. Not only are the bridal couple's emotions running high, but so to the children's. Having the children as part of the ceremony is very meaningful for the couple, and oftentimes especially for older children. Below are some ways that your children might be incorporated into the ceremony so that it is meaningful to you and THEM. If you have questions please feel free to contact Fr. Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 505-238-7685 to create a wonderful ceremony for your blended family.
Wedding Ceremonies Involving Children
Flower Girls and Ring Bearers
Generally speaking, flower girls and ring bearers are between three and seven years of age. Of course, the younger they are, the more unpredictable their behavior will be. If the child is old enough to walk up the aisle and be relatively well behaved throughout what will appear to him to be a relatively long time, then he's old enough. It really depends on the personality
of the child.
Keep It Simple
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 with a one time camera. In short try to find a non ceremony role for the child.
Often if presenting roses are a part of the ceremony the couple will have a rose for each of the children. After exchanging roses, the couple will then give each child a rose, a hug, and whisper "I love you." Typically, couples may give children a gift right after they exchange their own rings and vows - usually a necklace, medallion, or ring - along with a hug and an "I love you."
The Family Unity Candle
As we all know children are fascinated with candles and involving them in the is an excellent involvement means. This can be done many ways. If the children are small the bride and groom light small candles for each of the children - and then they light the center candle together. If the children are older each child can have a candle to light. Then all light the centre candle together. The Family Unity Candle can be used in additiion to, and not instead of, the couple's Unity Candle.
The Older Children
Children eager to participate in the wedding ceremony can be bridesmaids and ushers as well as honor attendants (the new unisex term for the maid of honor and best man); the roles they can play are no longer limited. An eleven-year-old son can be a best man. A nine-year-old girl can be a maid of honor. A bride's son can be her "honor attendant," as a groom's daughter can be
his. A bride's son, daughter, or both can escort her up the aisle and "give her away." You may even choose to have your wedding party made up entirely of your own children.
The number one suggestion: mention the children in the ceremony as often as you can!
I think it is much more important that children hear their names mentioned in the ceremony, than it is that they play any major part of the ceremony. (There will be exceptions to this so clear it ahead of time with the shy ones). Mentioning a child's name during the wedding assures that they are an important part of the occasion and have special status which guests and other
family members attending do not. At this special time children need to feel important to their parents.
Remember: with this ceremony a new family is being born. This is especially important to young ones. When 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 we name each child. If a prayer is in the ceremony, each child's name can be stated in the prayer.
Be careful with the excessive involvement of children in the marriage ceremony
Surprise! Once in a while children will not share your sense of excitement about the wedding. Often, to the child it can seem more a party occasion, Or there may be resentment about the parent who is missing either through death or divorce, Or they may just feel... left out. Usually, giving children major roles in the ceremony quickly becomes a duty rather than a delight. It is generally best to give a child only one active role and also to be mentioned in the ceremony, rather than to actively involve a child at too many different points throughout the ceremony. With teens, some care should be taken not to give them roles they may feel silly d or embarrasoing.
Rose Ceremony (Children's Part)
If a couple is adding the "Rose Ceremony", often they will have a rose for each of the children. After exchanging roses, the couple will then give each child a rose, a hug, and whisper, "I love you." Bishop David will say: "Not only are N.________and N.________creating a marriage today, but they also are forming a family with (child/children's name(s)). Just as it is appropriate for N.________ and N.________ to declare their love for each other in the gift of a rose, they also wish to show you (to the children) how much they love you with the gift of a rose."
Bishop David does not recommend that the gifts or roses to the children be done at the same time as the ring ceremony, because the exchange of rings between husband and wife is special and unique to the adult wedding ceremony. The gift or rose(s) to the children should be removed to a point after the Rose Ceremony, as suggested above, or just before the introduction of the couple and family to the guests.
Watch out for the 'I feel rejected' syndrome immediately after the ceremony
Where children tend to be left out is immediately after the ceremony. The bride and groom walk away and are crowded by 'big people' - with the children left out of the immediate post ceremony celebration. Remember most children do not know what they are supposed to do after the ceremony ends. This is easily avoided. The couple should simply take a moment to hug their
child/children, thank them for helping in the ceremony, and then telling them they are free to play etc. This time of quality recognition is very important. Another adult the children already know, maybe an aunt or uncle, or even grandparent, can step in and watch over the younger children for the bridal couple. The couple has LOTS on their minds already and knows their kids are in good hands relieves a lot of tension on both the couple's and the kid's parts.
All Time Favorite: They can sign the church wedding certificate!
Allow your children to come up and sign part of the official documents at the signing of the Church Wedding Certificate. Yes, you need two legal (adult) witnesses for the license but Bishp David can give you a Wedding Certificate from the church as part of the license and anyone can sign, print or make their mark! Warn your wedding photographer to be on the alert for these wonderful moments. Again, when Bishop David introduces you as a couple to your guests you can have your children standing up there with you. They will love the applause and treasure the memory of how important they were on Mom or Dad's big day.