Wedding Ceremony Ideas
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Wedding Ceremony Ideas
My fiance and I have 2 kids each from our previous
marriages, and we would like our wedding ceremony to reflect
that not only are we choosing each other, we are choosing
each other's kids as well. We would welcome ideas for
creating a wedding that is as inclusive as possible. The
kids are 15 (boy), 12, 11, and 8 (girls). Some of the ideas
that have occurred to us so far are: including them in the
planning, giving them a role in the ceremony, getting each
child a special piece of jewelry as a keepsake, milking the
whole dress-up/pampering aspect of the wedding for the
girls... We don't know yet whether there will be room in the
budget for a honeymoon, but if so we're leaning towards a
But surely some of you in the BPN community have been in
similar situations. Any ideas about how to make the day
joyful and inclusive for kids in this age group? FWIW, we're
looking at 25-40 attendees, nothing terribly formal, and an
My mom was a wedding planner and I worked with her on and
off for many years. A great way to include your kids would
be to have them walk you each down the aisle - since you
each have 2 kids, this would work out quite well. They
could then remain standing beside each of you as your
attendants. I've also seen combined families do various
candle lighting ceremonies immediately after the ceremony.
There are variations, one being having 7 candles set up,
each lighting one (3 on a side) and then all of you coming
toghter to light the bigger or taller center candle. The
officiant can also include a family joining in the service
along with the marriage joining. Whatever you do, i
recommend that all the kids be fully on board in
participating in a public ceremony of any kind, the last
thing you want is a disgruntled or forced participant.
When my husband and I married a few years ago we included my
12 year old son in the ceremony and gave him a ring. My
husband promised to help me care for and raise my son and it
was fairly moving. Other than this point in the wedding, my
son stood off to the side as though he were my husband's
best man. We actually didn't have any honor attendants.
In your case this would make for quite a crowd at the altar,
so I'd suggest having the kids sit in the front row,
together, if possible, and have them stand at the altar only
for the section of the ceremony involving them, give them
rings, group hug, then have 'em sit down and get on with the
vows. They can help to write the section of the vows that
involve them, if they want. And if any are interested in
helping with the flowers or whatever, fine.
We bought my son a new blazer and slacks, shirt and tie for
the occasion. Pricey, but he also wore them to his middle
school graduation and a few other occasions before he
If you would like to know how our vows worked, I'd be glad
to send you a copy.
When I married my second husband I had two young teens. We
had a wedding at home with all our friends and family. One
of my kids was the witness, and he signed the marriage
certificate. The other kid played a simple piano piece
before the ceremony. We rented tuxes - both of them were
very excited about that! A lot of family came into town for
the wedding, so my kids got to hang out with their cousins
for a couple of days beforehand, and we had a big BBQ the
day before the wedding, which was fun. After the wedding, my
sisters and their kids stayed at our house while my husband
and I took a short honeymoon and then when we came back, we
all went to Camp Tuolumne together - 3 of my siblings, and
all our kids. It was a lot of fun. In retrospect I do think
the honeymoon was a good idea, so don't skip that!
12 years later
When we got married, my husband asked all his nephews to be
his best men, and I asked his niece to be a bridesmaid. All
were early to late teens, and they really enjoyed being
included. Our niece is also a dancer and she performed one
of her solo dances at the reception. We even had them sign
the marriage certificate as witnesses.
We included all 12 of our combined nieces and nephews in our wedding
because we love the energy kids bring to ceremonies.
1. All the kids had baskets of flowers and handed a flower to guests as they
arrived (this avoided choosing one kid to be the flower girl).
2. All the kids (co-ed) got up from their aisle seats and formed a chain down
the aisle from oldest to youngest to pass us our rings. (this avoided picking
a ring bearer). The oldest's mom handed him the rings just before he stood
up, they formed a line and handed the rings down the aisle until the youngest
handed them to us. (one of the kids had to pee in during our garden
ceremony and my sister directed him to a discrete bush-- he almost missed
joining the ring chain, ran in with his zipper down and belt undone, but I said
''yeah! you made it!'' and it only made the event more delightful!)
3. We had an all kid table for dinner with their own menu of ''favorites''
4. Since kids don't sit at dinner as long as adults do, we hired an art teacher
to come with a bag of fun supplies (and parents contributed things like hat
boxes, shoe boxes, ribbons, cake decorations etc.). The kids went in their
own side room where each created a ''wedding cake'' (with glue, paint, etc)
Before we cut the real cake, they paraded their ''cakes'' thru the dinning room
to much fanfare and applause.
Another community touch is that we had all the guests take a vow to support
our marriage-- after we each said our ''I do'', the facilitator asked everyone to
stand and asked ''Do you vow to support Mary and Doug in their commitment
to each other?'' and all our friends and family shouted ''We do!''
Since your kids are becoming one family, might be a nice touch for them to
have a ''We do!'' moment.
You have good ideas. A couple more:
Have each child do a reading at the ceremony. If you are religious, you can use
passages which reflect this, and if you are not religious, there are others, such as
a passage from The Velveteen Rabbit or poetry.
Light a unity candle together, or have the kids all light a unity candle together.
In some ceremonies, the unity candle is lit by a representative of the bride's
family and the groom's family (often the mother of the bride and mother of the
groom) to signify the joining of families. Each person has an individual candle,
and both candles are held to the wick of the Unity candle to light it together.
Either use 4 candles (1 per kid) or use 2 candles with 2 kids holding onto each
candle (if you're worried about the 8yo holding a candle by herself)
I think they all, and particularly the girls, will get a
kick out of being part of the ceremony. This can be
traditional things like being flower girls or otherwise
included in the procession/wedding party, but it could also
include things like reading or saying something, or lighting
candles or other rituals. You might get them involved in
what they will wear or the flowers--it's wonderfully
princess-y for little girls. If some or all of them don't
say anything during the ceremony itself, they might want to
make a toast afterwards. As for the planning, you might
want to offer them a chance to come along for the cake
tasting--one of the funnest parts of preparing for a
wedding! I always find it incredibly moving to see kids
involved in their parents' weddings, and you're lucky that
yours are well beyond the uncontrollable toddler age. Have a
I am getting married this summer and throughout this whole
planning process i am feeling pretty disconnected from the
ritual/rite of passage aspect to it. We are designing our own
cerimony and i would love to here expiriences and ideas around
incorporating some rituals that have have deeper significance
than the typical wedding. We are also looking for ways that our
children can particapate and feel included in the wedding.
One more thing, i would like ideas for some (light, no
sacrifices or anything...) rituals i can have for myself before
the main event. I am not having brides maids and i wont be
having a day of primping, but i would like to have some women
friends and my sister particapate in something meaningfull to
mark the transition in my life.
The book ''The Jewish Wedding Book'' had some nice ideas that
could be altered slightly to be still meaningful and
nondenominational. eg: instead of a mikvah (ritual bath) a
bridal party 'dip' in the ocean, river, or hot spring. Instead
of a quilted huppa (wedding canopy) friends could make a
friendship quilt to wrap a couple in to symbolize their marriage
at some point in the ceremony, etc. Also ask officiants as you
There is a tradition in Spain, where I come from, which I really
like and I used at my own wedding. The bride asks her best male
friend (it can be a family member such as a cousin or a brother
if you prefer, although is not usually the father)to be
her ''godfather''. The godfather then commits to composing a poem
for the wedding day and comes to the bride's house before the
ceremony. He offers her the flower bouquet that she will carry
during the ceremony and reads his poem aloud (in front of the
bride's family). Usually the poem celebrates either the
brides'life or qualities, the friendship's history, the wedding
that will take place or all of the above. Sometimes it is
written as a humour piece, although more often it's quite
heartfelt. It's a lovely moment. The godfather does not do any
other thing during or after the ceremony.
Congratulations and good luck !
For the pre-wedding rituals, I suggest you email Sondra Hall.
She is an event planner with a business called ''Come to Your
Senses.'' She specializes in planning events for women to come
together and celebrate themselves through the use of a variety
of senses. She could put something together for your group
involving massage, meditation, yoga, aromatherapy -- whatever
you're interested in. You can reach her at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Or check out her website at
Regarding rituals for your wedding and the days before, I would
like to highly recommend a woman who does life coaching and
counseling and brings a great deal of spirituality and ritual
to these endeavors. Her name is Lily Kaplan and she is in
Oakland. Her company is Soul Works. Her website is
www.aboutsoulworks.com and her email address is
email@example.com. I know that you did not specifically
ask for a recommendation for a consultant, but Lily is
wonderful and has helped to design many weddings. She also
performs wedding ceremonies.
For others on the list who might also be interested, in
addition to one-on-one coaching Lily also leads dream circles
and other workshops. She also leads groups to places such as
Chaco Canyon and Joshua Tree. I just highly recommend her.
You wrote that you're searching for rituals with a deeper
meaning than the typical wedding -- I wonder if you're familiar
with the unity candle ritual. As I believe it is most commonly
practiced, it works like this:
The mothers of both the bride and groom each light a candle to
represent their families (love for their child, values they have
passed on, etc.) Each mother uses this to light a candle for
her child. During the ceremony, the bride and groom use their
candles to light a single (usually larger) candle together, then
extinguish their own. The symbolism, of course, is about
joining two families and creating a new one. To me it's also
about accepting the primacy of your couple/family needs over
your individual needs.
Although this is not an original ritual for your wedding, it is
certainly meaningful, and beautiful in its simplicity. It could
easily be adapted to include your children. We still light the
candle from our wedding on our aniversary as a reminder of the
spiritual nature of our relationship.
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