A wedding is more than simply a union between husband and wife; it's about joining families together. Involving your children in your special day is a great way to show them they are appreciated and honor your brand new family.
Here are some great ways to include kids of all ages in your wedding, from the planning stages through the ceremony—and beyond!
Let Them Eat Cake
There's no better—or more delicious—way to let your kids know their opinions matter than by inviting them to the cake tasting. A temporary sugar high is a small price to pay for including them in the process and letting them help pick out the flavor.
There's an extensive amount of prep work involved in a wedding; why not let your kids help relieve your burden by taking on some of the tasks. Have them address invitations, stuff envelopes, or affix postage stamps. Older kids can help with DIY craft projects such as designing place cards, putting together wedding favors, and assembling welcome baskets.
Drop a Beat
Involve your kids in the music selection by letting them select favorite songs for the DJ to play during the reception.
Let Them Shine Online
Most modern weddings include websites. They're a great way to keep friends and family updated on your progress while providing links to gift registries and other important information. Add a special section featuring your kids; upload photographs and talk about their favorite hobbies and other topics of interest.
Have a Unity Ceremony
If your wedding includes a unity ceremony—a symbolic exchanging of vows prior to the ring exchange—your kids can be included. Give them the responsibility of lighting the candle or pouring colored sand into a vase to represent the new union.
Include Them in Your Vows
Writing your kids into your wedding vows shows them you're committing to a life together as a family, not just a husband and wife. You can even choose to exchange family vows, in which you recite vows to your kids and they make vows to you.
Give Them Official Ceremony Duties
There are many different roles your kids can play during the ceremony. They can hand out programs, lead the procession, walk the bride down the aisle, act as ushers by showing guests to their seats, hold the bouquet, serve as flower girl or ring bearer, recite a poem, sing a song, toss rice or confetti, or even take part as a bridesmaid or groomsman—there is no rule barring kids from serving in the wedding party!
Save the Second Dance for Them
After the traditional first dance as bride and groom, invite your kids onto the floor and dance to a special song they have picked out. If they're too shy for a one-on-one slow dance, have the whole family join in.
Raise a Glass (or Sippy-Cup)
If they're old enough and comfortable speaking in front of crowds, let your kids give a toast to the newlyweds. If a speech is too difficult, they can substitute a poem or recite a few brief congratulatory words instead.
Present Them with a Gift
You and your new spouse will be busy opening wedding gifts after the ceremony. Share the spotlight and involve the whole family by giving your kids a gift to open, as well.
Remember, some children may be shy or uncomfortable taking part in the ceremony. Respect their wishes and never force them to participate; instead, let them know that you are grateful they will be there and their presence is all you really want.