How to Incorporate Stepchildren Into Your Wedding Vows

Bride and groom kissing, wedding guests applauding

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Marriage is when two people join their lives together, and that bond includes the bride and groom’s children. When marrying someone with children, make sure the children feel included in the wedding ceremony since they are going to part of a new family dynamic. Whether both the bride and the groom has a child or children from a previous relationship, you can always incorporate the child into your wedding vows.

Mention Children in the Vows

Marriage vows enable couples to pledge love, honor and fidelity to each another. Use your vows as a place to mention your intentions to love and care for the children of the relationship. As you are writing your vows, find areas where you can incorporate mention of the children. It can be as simple or as involved as you and your future spouse prefer. Wedding writer Ariel Meadow Stallings writes that the partners should “pledge to take on their new role as a parent – not just as a husband, wife or spouse.” Couples can mark their role as parents together going forward.

Children’s Vows

Couples can perform their marriage vows as a traditional ceremony and add vows with the children. The children’s vows are performed in a similar way to the couple’s vows, with the officiate reciting the vows and the children responding or reciting them back. The vows allow the adults to promise to love and care for the child or children. Some versions explain that the new parent is not to replace any other parent but is an additional person to love the child. The vows also allow the child to pledge to be cooperative and help make the home a happy one.

Blending Ceremony

Some couples opt to save their vows for only themselves but choose to have a “blending ceremony” within the marriage ceremony. This is an opportunity for the bride and groom to welcome the children into their marriage and form a blended family. Gifts such as necklaces, lockets or watches are traditionally given to the children to commemorate the ceremony. This event often comes after the couple has exchanged their rings. In the ceremony, the officiate mentions that the couple does not enter the commitment alone, that the bride and/or groom brings a child with them. The couple welcomes the child to the family and promises to love and care for them as they bestow the gift up on them. The child in turn will welcome the new parent to the family.

Things to Consider

When working with children from a previous marriage, different dynamics are to be considered, and one is the ex-spouse. Keep the involvement of the children in the wedding and what you say at a level of appropriateness that does not cause a hostile response in the ex-spouse. It should not sound as if he is being replaced or pushed out. Consider how the children feel about their involvement; ask them for ideas, what they want to say or how they would like to be involved. Do not force the children to do it if they don’t feel comfortable. Finally, keep the ceremony focused on the marriage with the addition of the blended family. The wedding is about you and your spouse; the children need stability instead of attention, so let them see your profession of love as the main focus.