How to Incorporate Your “Step-Family” into Your Wedding
Written by: Rob Franklin
Blended families, or stepfamilies, are becoming increasingly common, with an estimated third of all new marriages forming stepfamilies every year. This includes 15% of first marriages. As the structure of the American family continues to evolve, it's important for couples to find ways to include and honor the children from previous relationships in their wedding ceremony.
Make a Statement of Commitment in the Vows
Writing personal vows is a great opportunity for couples to address the role of co-parenting in their relationship. Vows are a time to make a heartfelt promise to your partner, and for many couples, this includes a commitment to nurturing a relationship with their partner's children. These vows can be meaningful not only to your partner, but to the children as well.
Provenance Tip: For more on writing personal vows, click here.
Include Your Step-children with a Unity Ceremony or Ritual
There are many ways to include children in your wedding ceremony. Some couples may ask their children to select and perform a reading, while others may dress their children in colors that match their own. Some couples may also choose to include their children in a formal unity ceremony.
One of our favorites is the Unity Candle ritual, in which each participant takes an individual candle and together light one larger flame, symbolizing coming together into one cohesive and vibrant family unit. For couples with younger children (not ready to be trusted with open flames), alternatives include the Puzzle Ritual, in which participants each add a piece to a wooden puzzle, or a Paint Ritual, in which each paints a canvas with a single brushstroke in a color of their choosing. Each of these offer beautiful keepsakes that couples may choose to keep in their home.
Plan a Family-moon
Now, don’t get it twisted. We’re not suggesting you take the kiddos along on your honeymoon. But after the wedding and traditional honeymoon, couples may also choose to plan a family-moon, or a trip together as a new family unit. This can be a great opportunity for couples to bond with their partner's children and establish open and honest communication. It can also be an exciting event for the children to look forward to after the wedding excitement dies down.