Weddings aren’t just between two people – they are the coming together of two separate families! It’s so special to include parents, siblings, and your children into your wedding day – it helps to foster the sense of togetherness and family that you hope your wedding will create. Any of these can be changed or adapted for your ceremony.

Here are some suggestions for incorporating family and children into your special day.

✗ Dad doesn’t have to walk you down the aisle.
○ Honor a special family member by having them escort the bride or groom to the altar. Your son or daughter, older sibling, or both parents walking you down the aisle is a beautiful, personal touch. It not only shows their support and love for you, as they guide you into this next step of your life, but is a wonderful way to honor someone. And they don’t need to “give you away” at the end. They can either be seated in the first row after escorting you, or join you at the front for a few moments while I say some nice words to thank them.

Walking Mom down the aisle
When my mom and stepdad got married in 1999, I escorted my mom down the aisle.

✗ Mention them in your vows or take vows of their own!
○ This works especially well when there are kids involved. You could promise to be a loving parent to your child (or friend, for blended families). You could mention the love that you both have for your children, or the great memories that you’ve formed (and looking forward to many more!). You don’t need to write your own vows to work these in – I have a few vow examples that use them – ask me for them.
○ After the bride and groom exchange vows, I can write a short vow that, once read, everyone in the family would agree to. There are many options for this – you could have your children agree to support and love you, and accept your support and love. I could read the vows to the friends and family gathered, and have them all answer with “We will!” Or it could simply be the family agreeing to love and support you in your new roles as husband and wife.

✗ Unity Ceremonies!
○ Unity candle, sand ceremonies – all of these symbolize the coming together of two separate parts into a new whole. The unity candle is typically lit by the parents, and the bride and groom then use the tapers to light a larger candle – but why not have the bride and groom light the tapers, and the kids light the larger candle? A sand ceremony is a great idea for younger kids who you may not want near an open flame – plus you’ll have a beautiful sculpture afterwards! Small cups of different colored sand, representing the entities coming together in marriage, are poured into a larger vessel.

✗ Incorporate a family blessing or special thank you!
○ At the beginning or end of the ceremony, I can give a special mention or blessing to the people coming together to form a new family today. I can also talk to family members, if you’d like, for a brief “interview” about the bride and groom, and incorporate those words into the ceremony.

✗ Give them an honor with a ritual!
○ Do you plan to have a handfasting, Greek crowning, or other special ritual? Have a family member crown you, or wrap the cord around your hands. I will mention them and why you have choosen them to have this honor in the introduction to the ritual. It’s a wonderful way to have a family member or children a part of your wedding.

Copyright © 2008 by Jessie Blum
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