|This gorgeous girl was one of the
more lively guests at the wedding
of her aunt
|This toddler was the flower girl at the
bride’s wedding. The 16 month old ring-
bearer was moving too fast to capture
with my camera!
Several weeks ago I officiated at a lovely wedding, in which a girl and boy toddler (we’re speaking under two years old) served as flower girl and ring bearer, respectively. They were adorable! And, because the bride and groom love children, and the wedding was small and outside (that is to say, informal), the children were not a distraction, but instead, one of the highlights of the service.
It happened like this. After the rest of the wedding party had processed down the aisle, but before the bride had made her appearance, there they came—holding each others’ hands at first, then, going it alone, while the flower girl’s mom and the ring bearer’s dad, hovered on the sidelines. The flower girl made it a quarter ways down the aisle before she turned and headed back. The little boy toddled bravely on alone losing first one, then the other black patent leather shoe. He arrived (finally) at the front, shoeless and if truth be told, also clueless, with his ring pillow (Whew). The flower girl never did make it all the way down the aisle, but that’s ok. “What’s the big deal anyway? I want to touch one of those pretty flowers. Can I have a cookie?” The flower girl is featured at right (this pic was taken AFTER the wedding). I never did get a pic of the ring bearer—he was moving too fast.
|This little boy is the bride’s son.
He served as ring bearer at his
This is only one way that brides and grooms can feature children in the wedding. Children, that is children of the bride and groom by a former marriage or relationship, can also have a part to play in a wedding service. I encourage couples to allow children to take part in the service, especially if they will be living under the same roof with the bride and groom. There are several things to keep in mind when including children in the wedding service proper:
Vows: Children who are under age—say under 18 years—should not be made to say vows. They are under age after all. They are still children. There is a real fear to my mind, that the children are being made to say what they say, or that they are confused, but wanting to keep the peace in the family. No young person should be shouldered with that kind of responsibility. It is totally appropriate though, for the bride and groom to pledge their love and commit to the children that will be part of the new family unit. So for instance, during the exchange of vows, I might ask the couple: Robert, will you work with Michele to create a nurturing and loving home for Madison and Wyatt, guiding and caring for them as they move from adolescence to adulthood? Michele will you work with Robert to create a nurturing and loving home for Madison and Wyatt, guiding them and caring for them as they move from adolescence to adulthood? And will you both continue to love them?
Ring exchange and gift exchange: One groom I married last year, decided he wanted to give the new daughters he would be adopting (not legally, but emotionally) a gift of some sort, since he and their mother would be exchanging gifts (the rings). After the ring exchange, he gave each girl a silver heart necklace. They were thrilled, and the guests and other family members were touched to the point of tears.
|This young man (at right) participated with his mom
and the groom in a sand ceremony–immediately
following the exchange of rings.
Other symbols of unity: You might want to consider including a child in other symbolic gestures of unity. Some couples decide to include a child (or children) in the lighting of a unity candle, or in pouring sand in the wedding sand ceremony. In this ceremony separate vials of colored sand each representing a person in the new family being created, pours his or her vial of sand into a large container. The sands blend together in interesting patterns. So, too, the new family will be blended into a new and interesting relationship.
Part of wedding party: Of course, children of the bride or groom can also serve as ring bearers or flower girls, bridesmaids, maids of honor, groomsmen or best men.
The one caveat to all of this is, the children should remain secondary to the wedding. It’s still a marriage, after all. The primary focus needs to be on the bride and groom. Their marriage is key to the stability of the new family being created.
Enjoy the pics. Aren’t children wonderful?
Happy wedding planning! Your wedding preacher