Still Cute, Just Older

Older teens or adults children in weddings

I love including children in a wedding ceremony! We often see kids as flower girls or ring bearers. When the children are the children of the couple getting married (rather than say, nieces or nephews) it becomes even more important to involve them in the ceremony. Let them know you understand that this is a big day for them, as well. The little ones are always adorable!

But for slightly older couples, they may have older children, perhaps teens or even adults themselves. How do you include them? Is it even appropriate? As in many things in life – it depends.

If the children are ‘on board’ for the wedding, happy to see their mother or father has found love again, then they should certainly be honored, recognized or involved. It’s always a good idea to ask anyone what role they might enjoy in your ceremony, but because we’ve seen so little of this modeled for us, most people won’t have any idea of what to do. So here are a few suggestions.

Once your kids are out of the house, you really are not blending the family, nor are you becoming a step-parent in the traditional sense of helping to raise the kids, so rituals like the Sand Ceremony may not resonate as much.

Instead, I like to see teens or adult children doing something together, and one thing that works especially well, is sharing a reading. In a religious ceremony, they might be asked to read scripture, and in a less religious or secular context, there are countless sources of inspiration. Teens will need direction but adults might be honored to find their own selection. On the other hand, in our busy world, asking them to do that might feel like a burden. In that case, come up with a few ideas to present to them. Once the reading is selected, one that is age and topic appropriate, it can be split up into sections.

For teens, giving them gifts is fitting, pointing out how the gift is analogous to the rings the couple exchanges, how it is symbolic of your love and commitment to them. I often include this as part of the ceremony itself. Admittedly this is easier for girls, since jewelry usually works out well as a comparative symbol. Some boys will also like jewelry, but really anything can work, because with the gift you are simply telling them you will love them always.

Gifts for adult children are great, too, but they don’t necessarily need to be presented in the ceremony. An heirloom, if you have one, makes a very meaningful gift.

Adult children, male or female, can present the rings to their respective parents. They may also want to walk down the aisle with their mother, not ‘giving away’ their mom, but supporting her. And I like the idea of fathers walking with their children as well.

Another possibility is to write a short statement about your children, and have the officiant include it in the ceremony. Or prepare a program and include lots of wonderful details about your amazing children for everyone to read; it gives them something good to do while waiting for the ceremony to begin.

And of course, those adult children may have children, and I’m sure you will be considering roles for your grandkids!

Just because you are marrying again, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate it. Many ‘older’ couples feel they need to keep it toned down, especially if they had a big wedding the first time around. And that makes complete sense. But don’t apologize or underestimate the importance of this milestone. After all, it is quite miraculous to find love and start anew! Worthy of celebration indeed! Bring the whole family.

     Thank you Lisa Rhinehart  and Michael Straub  for the use of your photography

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