The society in which we live today is filled with wonderful blended families that come in all shapes and sizes. We're not just talking about couples coming together from different cultural backgrounds, but also couples coming together, each with children of their own. (How could we forget The Brady Bunch - if only it was that easy). So many of the couples I see as a celebrant have families like this.
The joining of two families can be a really wonderful experience, but it would be remiss not to mention the fact that it can also be exceptionally difficult and fraught with potential disasters, particularly when combined with the stress of planning a wedding. Step parenting is never easy and we all know very well that planning a wedding can be overwhelming, even for the calmest of couples, but combining the two can see some couples in total despair.
To any of you who have successfully brought two families together while planning and executing an amazig wedding, we commend you. You truly deserve a round of applause.
BUT, for those of you (and I'm sure there are many) who are currently struggling with a suddenly much larger family, while trying to plan your big day and include children and step children, then we symapthise and are here to help.
In working with many couples in this situation I have put together a few ideas I wanted to share with you that may hopefully help you in finding ways to include children and step children and ease the stress of any family tension that may be lingering.
I have found that finding ways to include and unite the family on such a public level really helps to strengthen the bond and puts the focus on inclusion and unity rather than exclusion and individuality.
Here are some ideas to help:
1. If the children are old enough allow them to act as junior bridesmaids/groomsmen. Asking them to stand beside you earns them a level of importance and respect that you may find helps them to feel apart of it all.
2. If you are each coming to the marriage with a couple of children it may not be practical to have them as attendant in the ceremony. I once did a ceremony for a couple where they each had 3 children and so they bought each of them a gold letter (the childs first initial) and as part of the ceremony each child was asked to come forward as the step parent placed the necklace on and gave them a kiss. All the guests were crying and the children were so proud and pleased it was beautiful.
3. Include a unity ritual in your ceremony. A great way of making children feel included is by having a unifying ritual. A sand ceremony is a great example (see our sand ceremony for an example) I perform many sand ceremonies with families which usually requires a vase of coloured sand each different and representing the particular family member, They each then pour their sand into the large vase so the colours layer beautiful and then the vas eis then sealed. The glass can be engraved with the wedidng details or an engraved plaque put on the front. Once on display in the home the significance of the once single colours of sand that can now never be seperated again from the others is a constant reminder of the families bond.
4. If they are not wanting or confident enough to take part in the ceremony then give them a job. Ushering guests, handing out rose petals or bubbles. This will allow them to have a purpose on the day.
We really hope this helps and if you are still stuck feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help with more ideas.
The Wedding Gurus