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The Bride! The Groom! The Kids? Second-Time-Around


This is another in our series of articles about dating and mating for single moms. You can also join the single moms discussion in our MomTalk.com forums.

By Chris Grannis

You have done the groundwork, laid the foundations, and now you and your partner, are ready to announce the big day. All your hard work has paid off and the families are gelling well and are accepting of this new phase in their relationships. This is an exciting time in your life and the future looks rosy. After putting in so much effort to get to this stage it is crucial that you don't drop the ball at the wedding.

Having paid special attention to your children during the dating and engagement process, it is just as important that you continue this nurturing process through the planning and celebration of the wedding, and beyond. A wedding is an ideal opportunity for a couple in a second marriage to really let their children see how important they are and to include them in the planning and celebrating of the marriage. Whether it is a lavish occasion or a private family affair, it is possible to have everyone involved and feeling that their input is important.

Talk About It
Once the decision has been made to marry it is important to sit down with all the kids and discuss your plans for the wedding. No matter what age, children tend to be more secure when they are involved in planning events and it helps boost their self-esteem when they feel that their opinion is valued. At this planning stage it is important to write down everyone's suggestions, no matter how bazaar they may seem to you. If your fourteen-year-old daughter suggests that everyone should wear black you can make a positive remark such as, 'Oh yes, black can be so slimming!' And then write it down. You can later come up with an excuse that it makes you look drained, is a bit too hot for a summer wedding, or that a colleague wore black on her wedding day and you would hate her to think you were copying. The important thing here is that all the children feel involved and that their voices are heard. And even if you suspect that they are making ridiculous suggestions just to test the waters it is important that you stay calm and make an effort to neutralize the situation.

Involving Young Kids
Younger children will generally have adapted so much quicker to this new relationship and will be excited to be involved in the wedding ceremony. The key for this age group is to keep it simple. Toddlers and small children can participate as flower girls and ring bearers. Of course, there is also the added benefit of 'the cute factor' where little ones are concerned. They may even be able to recite a few lines of poetry but try not to put too much pressure on them. The key is for everyone to enjoy themselves and for you to have as little stress as possible. At a friend's wedding her two-year-old step-daughter, looking very cute in her flower-girl outfit, found a very large, very yellow bucket at the entrance to the church and decided this was much more interesting than the flowers she was carrying. Rather than risk a tantrum the toddler was allowed to carry the bucket up the aisle, which she did with great dignity and pride. It was such a hilarious start to the wedding and set a lighthearted tone for the rest of the day.

Big Kids and Teens
Older children and teenagers can participate as bridesmaids, groomsmen, and ushers. If the bride is being 'given away' it is quite common for the eldest son to perform this duty. However, he needs to be of an age where he can understand that this symbolism will not change your relationship with him. Tell him, 'This is just for fun. You're not really giving me away. You can't get rid of me that easily!'

At this age children often enjoy being involved in other parts of the preparation and ceremony. If they have creative talents they might enjoying helping with the decorations. If their talents run towards performance they could participate by reading, reciting poetry, singing or playing a musical instrument. A child's imperfect performance is often much more moving than the most polished of professional recitals.

Many couples give their children disposable cameras and let them loose to take pictures of whatever they please. Older children might also be trusted with a camcorder to get comments and views from guests on the day and this can turn out to be a wonderfully personal addition to the official wedding video.

Regardless of how you involve the children in the big day it is important that they are comfortable with it. Each child must feel that they are as valued as the next and that their part is of equal importance. If they are reluctant to participate in the actual ceremony don't force the issue, but do make sure that they have some part to play, from addressing the invitations to bagging up the wedding favors. And don't forget to make a fuss of what a great job they have done.

Regardless of how you decide to involve the kids in your wedding make sure it is an enjoyable and positive experience for everyone. Having a great day can seem like a positive omen for the future, and is something that everyone can look back on with fond memories.

Categories: Feature Stories, Just for me, Relationships & Marriage,

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New FeatureRelated Articles: Introducing Your Kids to His Kids, From Single Mom to Brady Bunch: Introducing the Kids to Your New Love Interest,

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