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Both my partner and I have two children each and all are under the age of eight years. We’re having a religious wedding ceremony and would like to involve them somehow. Any suggestions how we can do this?
It is absolutely wonderful that you and your fiance wish to weave your families together, not only through marriage, but by actively involving your children in the actual wedding ceremony.
Since you’ve not mentioned your religion, I’m unsure of the customs and conventions involved and, therefore, it’s difficult to say where, specifically, the children may fit into the ceremony.
Also, depending on how far “under the age of eight years” they are, you may find the children unwilling – or unable – to cooperate on the day of the big event. After all, an infant won’t be able to perform a reading or even walk up the aisle holding the ring.
So, the best advice is to keep tasks assigned to your children absolutely simple.
Start by talking to member of the clergy who will be performing your ceremony. This person will certainly have seen his or her fair share of weddings and may have some great ideas as to how to include them meaningfully.
If your religion does not require a priest or rabbi type-figure to preside over the service, perhaps having your children perform a simple task during the ceremony is the best answer.
If you want your children to do more than simply stroll down the aisle together, perhaps think about the symbolic actions you will be performing as a couple during your ceremony. Maybe you can find a way to include your children in that tradition?
For example, some Christian wedding ceremonies involve the lighting of a candle, so, perhaps, all four of your children could help light this candle together? What about readings (if they are able to do so), but you could also have them recite a simple prayer or blessing, which would be lovely.
You could also have two of them hand you and your fiance your rings when the big moment comes; have them hand out wedding programs; help direct guests to pews or allow them to hand out confetti at the conclusion of proceedings.
Another newer trend is to include them in your vows. It doesn’t involve them doing anything, but it might give them a wee thrill to hear their names during the ceremony. You could say something along the lines of:
I promise to be a good and loving husband/wife to you and I also promise to be a patient, kind and loving father/mother to <insert children’s names here>. I promise to love and care for them all as my own…
The key is to have your children contribute something and for them to feel included in such a big and important event and, what may seem small to you may be a big deal to them, so whatever they do, it doesn’t have to be grand or showy. It can be simple but integral.
Also, don’t forget to ensure that whatever they do, they have ample opportunity to sit for most of the service or you risk them becoming fidgety.
Whatever you end up doing, by desiring to include your two young children in the ceremony, it sounds like you’re already off to a fantastic start! Good luck with the wedding.
Happy wedding planning!
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