Monday, October 25, 2010

(Re)married with children: What role should your child have in your wedding?

I'm a mom and a stepmom. I married my stepson and stepdaughters when I married their dad, and I really do mean that I married them -- I wore a sari and my stepdaughters wore custom-made lenghas that I'd brought back from India for them, they were waiting at the altar with their dad while I walked down the aisle on my father's arm, I wrote and said vows to all three of them, gave them silver bracelets (instead of rings), and had a family dance at the beginning of the reception.

I take those vows seriously, and I find that having made a public commitment to love, honor, and cherish them as well as their dad keeps me sane and strong when things get challenging. (The oldests are teenagers now. Believe me, things get challenging, even though they're not with us full time.)

Rachel Sarah of Single Mom Seeking just got remarried, and asks three really interesting questions:

Do you think there’s an ideal role for kids — whose parents are getting married — during a wedding ceremony?

Does it depend on the child’s age?

Or, do you think that children do not belong in a remarriage ceremony?

Here's my two cents: I think that kids absolutely, positively, without a doubt belong in a remarriage ceremony, regardless of their age, and regardless of whether both adults have kids "of their own." When you choose to marry someone with kids, those kids are part of the deal -- and they deserve to be honored as such.

Have you been remarried, or did you marry someone who already had children? What was your ceremony like?


Unknown said...

My mom married my stepdad when I was seven and my brother was 3.5. I was the flower girl and my brother was the ringbearer. After the ceremony, my parents read "Love Is a Special Way of Feeling" by Joan Walsh Anglund to us. It was a way to symbolize that it wasn't just the two of them getting married, but it was all of us coming together to form a family. I absolutely believe that children of any age should be included in a remarriage, and that there are age appropriate ways to show them that it is about creating a family together.

Jen said...

My oldest son and stepdaughter were both 5 when my husband and I got married. We planned a daytime wedding so that they would be at their best and would be able to stay until the end of the reception, and we made sure that there were other kids invited so that they would have fun too. They were our ring bearer and flower girl so they were at the altar when I walked down and they sat with their grandparents during most of the ceremony. We lit a unity candle at the end of the ceremony - my husband and I each lit our respective child's candle and then all four of us lit our family candle together. I can't imagine a marriage between people with children that doesn't recognize and honor that relationship.

MorethanMommy said...

When my parents got married, they included me and my two soon-to-be sisters as flower girls. They made vows to us as well. I firmly believe that a marriage is not just a union of two people, but a joining of two families. Not including your children in your wedding ceremony sends a very clear message to that child that they won't rank very high in the future relationship, either.