Around 40% of families in the US are blended, with one or more partners having a child from a previous relationship. If you are planning to get married and start a blended family of your own, you may wonder how to include children in your Big Day. Doing so can take work and it involves an investment of time. However, it is an excellent way to unify your family, encourage children to get to know each other, and let your whole ‘brood’ experience how much fun a big, unified family can be. Consider making kids a part of your celebration in one or more of the following ways.
Finding the Perfect Role for Each Child
Think back to when you were a child and you were asked to sign up for a school play. You may have preferred working backstage (in makeup or wardrobe) or on lighting while your best friend may have enjoyed hamming it up onstage. Every child has their own personality. To ensure your wedding is meaningful for everyone in the family, it is important for each to find their perfect role. An older child who loves math may enjoy helping you make a budget while another child who is into clothing and all things creative may enjoy helping you pick out your wedding attire. Yet another child may enjoy performing a song at the reception or bearing the rings. There are so many roles that it won’t be difficult to find one that each child enjoys undertaking.
Embracing Symbolism and Ritual
Adapting to a blended family structure can be both exciting and challenging for kids, who may have to experience many changes when they move to a new home. This is why, during the ceremony, it can pay to embrace symbolic rituals that let them know they are now part of something very special. One popular ritual is the ‘sand ceremony’, in which each family member pours different colored sand into a decorative jar. The resulting artwork is symbolic of the beauty and everlasting nature of unity.
Keeping Kids Entertained
Wedding receptions last for hours and this can lead to kids feeling tired or bored. Try to include activities that are specifically catered to their respective age groups. If you are celebrating an outdoor wedding, activities such as sack races, obstacle courses, and bobbing for apples are fun and make for great photos and video footage. Keep kids fueled up with healthy snacks and drinks, utilizing natural, organic ingredients if possible. Crudités, roast vegetable snacks, and healthy muffins are just a few ideas they may enjoy. Set up a cute photo booth with lots of disguises, cute signs, and props. If possible, have a professional photographer take digital and Polaroid pics and give children disposable cameras so they can take their own photographs. Set up a space on your wedding website so guests can view the fun photos that your (and their) children have taken during the event.
More and more couples are taking the plunge and getting married and forming blended families. If you and/or your partner have kids, ensure they feel like part of your Big Day. Let them choose a role that suits their personality, invite them to form part of the planning process if possible, and ask them to form part of one or more meaningful rituals. Finally, keep kids entertained with fun activities and healthy foods that will give them the energy they need to dance, play, and just be kids.