Blended families: Ideas for inclusive ceremonies for your new family

By Cila Warncke | 3rd October 2017 | Blog categories: Wedding Ideas

Many couples planning a wedding have to think about not just their parents but also their children, step-parents, step-grandparents, and so forth. Rather than let this stress you out, take it as an opportunity to celebrate the joyful mingling of families. Including children and step-family members in the ceremony is a way to create happy memories and harmony that will last beyond the big day.

Include your kidsĀ 

If you and/or your partner have children, get them involved in the ceremony. Younger children may enjoy filling traditional roles like ring bearer or flower-child. There are plenty of other creative ways to make your kids feel part of the event. Older kids might enjoy helping decorate, or choosing music for the reception. If you are writing your own vows, you can add a section addressed to your children, acknowledging that the marriage is making them part of a new family.

Walk this way

Instead of having the bride’s father “give her away” why not make the walk to the alter a celebration for the whole family? You can have your children walk down the aisle with you, your step-parents or godparents, or even close friends who are practically family. It’s your day: make a procession to remember!

Music or readings

If you want to keep the ceremony itself simple, you can always invite family members to add something special after, such as a song or reading. Few things are more heartfelt and moving than a song or favourite piece of music performed live, with love, so if you have talented parents, aunts, uncles, or step-parents, invite them to share their gift!

Family playlist

Speaking of music, a great way to build happy anticipation for the day is getting your extended family to pitch in song ideas for the reception. Email around and ask everyone to suggest a few songs. On the day, announce that you’ll be dancing to your family’s greatest hits. It’s sure to make people smile.

Honour traditions

Blended families often come from different cultural or religious backgrounds. Try to acknowledge these in the ceremony whether by reading from a spiritual text, wearing a significant piece of clothing, or performing a ritual. This will make your wedding more unique and personal, while making it clear you love and value every person’s heritage and contributions.

Respect people’s wishes

Part of showing your love and appreciation for family is respecting their wishes. If you have a step-parent, for example, who is not comfortable joining the ceremony, or a shy child who prefers to stay out of the limelight, don’t pressure them to participate. Some people are more reserved, or may have different ideas about what a wedding ceremony should be. In short, if it doesn’t feel easy and joyful, don’t push it. Far better to have your family members attended and take part in whatever way makes them comfortable.

Have you had a blended family wedding? We’d love to hear about it. Share your stories or tips in the comments.