From blending families to marrying someone with kids, it’s common for kids to be part of weddings. And, if they’re part of yours, your ceremony isn’t just about forming a union with your partner, it’s about forming a whole new family. That can be exciting and also a bit anxiety-inducing for children. If you or your partner has kids, including them in the wedding can help them feel more like their part of something and less like something is happening to them. Plus, it’s easy to include kids in your wedding. Here are some recommended ways to do it.
Gift them something special.
Engagement rings, registry items, wedding party favors—gifts play a big role in the wedding planning process. If you have children of your own or are getting married to someone with children, help them feel a part of it all by gifting them something, too. This could be given to them leading up to your wedding, the morning of, or during vows dedicated to them (more on that below). Consider gifting a personalized watch or piece of jewelry with engravings or their birthstone. If the child or children are very young, think more along the lines of personalized books and toys.
Photo Credit // Goodman Photography
Give them a role in the wedding.
If at all possible, include your kid or kids in your wedding by giving them a special role in your ceremony. When you look back on the day, it will feel like a significant family moment that you all did together. There are, of course, plenty of classic roles to choose from, which we’ve listed below. However, depending the age of the children, you may want to include them in the wedding party, give them a reading, or create a unique role.
These are some classic wedding roles for kids:
- Flower Girl or Boy: Traditionally, during the wedding procession the flower girl or boy tosses petals down the aisle before the bride makes her entrance. This role is most often given to children under the age of seven.
- Ring Bearer: This child’s role is to walk down the aisle and bring the couple’s rings to the best man/best woman. The ring bearer is also typically at or under the age of seven. Make the job fun by coming up with a unique ring box or pillow idea that’ll get your kid or kids excited. Maybe even enlist their help in picking it out.
- Pages: Also referred to as train bearers, these are the children that help the bride with her train while she walks down the aisle. This role is perfect for children who may not be comfortable with the spotlight or walking down the aisle on their own.
- Junior Bridesmaid or Groomsman: Younger teenagers and tweens (think between the ages of eight and fourteen) can be given the part of junior bridesmaid or groomsman. In short, these roles include the same duties as their older counterparts, just scaled down to be kid-appropriate. Some duties they might participate in are the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, walking in the processional, and standing at the altar with the rest of the party.
Again, if none of these seem like a fit (or if you have more kids and need more roles), create roles unique to your ceremony or family.
Dedicate some vows to them.
When you say “I do” to your partner, you’re saying it to their children as well (or vice versa). Before the ceremony wraps up—and preferably before your vows to your fiancé—dedicate a set of vows to your spouse’s children.
Take a moment to share your love and promise to support and guide them through life. Even better, add a special touch to your vows by making them specific. If your step-child plays sports, for example, promise to never miss a big game. Statements like this let them know that you’re wholly dedicated to them.
Ask them to give a toast.
If speaking in front of a crowd isn’t an issue, give your kids the opportunity to make a speech during the reception. Leading up to the wedding, sit down with them and help them come up with a few loving (or funny) words to share. This can help them feel like they have a place in welcoming your new husband or wife into the family. It also gives them a chance to feel important and address the entire crowd (which, let’s be honest, will probably be adorable and hilarious).
Photo Credit // Imagine'at Photography
Let them cut the cake.
This may be the most exciting part of the evening for them, so get them involved. Depending on their age, you might not want them cutting the cake. However, if they’re old enough to do so with some guidance (maybe place your hands over theirs), let them at it.
You can also include them in the sweets department by having personalized toppers of not just you and your spouse, but each of the kids placed on the cake. Afterward, they can keep the toppers as toys or favors. If there are going to be several kids at your wedding, consider purchasing a fun, smaller cake specifically for them. Weddings tend to be long days—even the kids could use a sugar rush.
Serve their favorite drink or mocktail.
Make the menu kid-friendly, too. If you’re making signature drinks for you and your partner, make one or two for your kids, as well. Milkshakes, fruit punches, and Shirley Temples are bound to be a lot more fun (and tasty) than water. Also, consider a milk and cookies bar or candy set up that will excite everyone and keep your kids happy through the reception.
Before implementing all of these ideas, talk to your kids about how they feel about the wedding and if they want to be apart of it. Never force anyone to do anything just because it will look cute. If they want to be involved, however, you now have a handful of ideas that you can customize to make unique to your family’s union.