It’s the 21st Century and it’s not even uncommon, let alone scandalous, for one or both of a couple about to get married to have children from a previous relationship.
Of course, many couples start a family before they get married and therefore sometimes children will be at their own parents’ wedding – a situation that 100 years ago would have had your maiden aunt clutching her pearls in horror.
So, if you and your partner already have children, whether your own or you’re about to become a blended family, you’ll undoubtedly want to include them on your special day to keep them involved and to let your children know they’re still a very much-loved and important part of the family.
To a certain extent, the age of the child will have some bearing on how you include them – for example, you probably won’t want to hand over a camera to a one year old. There’ll also be other considerations depending on the location – after all, the logistics will be different at a fancy wedding venue in Essex with never-ending views of the countryside compared to an inner-city town hall registry office with a view of the bus stop.
However, involving your children in your wedding ceremony is a fun and special occasion for all concerned. But weddings are an expensive business and no doubt you have other financial burdens (perhaps saving for a mortgage deposit), so here are five ways you can include your child at your wedding with the added bonus that none of them will cost you a fortune.
Have them write the place setting cards
If your child is old enough to write, have them handwrite the place cards for the dinner table. Not only will your child love having such an important job, these place setting cards will be the cutest, most unique place setting cards your guests will have ever seen. It doesn’t matter if your child’s handwriting is still at the messy scrawl stage, that just makes it even cuter.
Make them the official(ish) photographer
Depending on the age of the child, you might not want to entrust them with an expensive DSLR camera but disposable cameras are great for the younger budding David Baileys, and the older ones can use their smartphones.
We’re not suggesting your children take over the role of a professional photographer – you’ll still need one of those – but your children will feel useful documenting such an important day and you’ll have some fun snaps to look at alongside the professional prints.
Put them in the spotlight
If your children enjoy the spotlight, let them take centre stage for a short while to make a speech, sing a song or recite a poem they’ve written especially for your big day. They’ll love the attention and having part of the day being about them.
Of course, some children are shy and would recoil in horror at the thought of all eyes being on them, so make sure you take personalities into consideration and don’t force anyone to do something they’re not comfortable with. You don’t want your happy day brought down by an upset child exiting stage left in floods of tears.
Write them into your vows
When you’re making your declaration of undying love, include your child in this by giving them a mention. This can help overcome any fears or anxiety that they’re going to be left behind when you get a new spouse.
If you’re going to become a blended family, strengthen this commitment by promising in your vows to be a good step-parent.
Flower girl or page boy
This is a very traditional suggestion but, hey, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of tradition. After all, what’s cuter than a small child walking down the aisle dressed up in their finest? This is a lovely role for children of all ages, although older ones might feel it’s a bit childish for them.
These are just a few of the ways you can include your children or future step-children in your wedding ceremony to ensure they feel included and happy as you take your next steps as an official family.