Second Weddings

Ideas for a "family" ceremony?

edited August 2014 in Second Weddings
I am getting married in June. It will be my 1st and his 2nd. I will becoming step mother to a wonderful 7 year old girl. We want to incorporate her in the ceremony and after our vows have some sort of family vow. I have no idea if there is any time of vow the 3 of us could say. Does anyone have experience with this type of thing? Any ideas what to say? The only idea we currently have is after the vows we would give her some type of necklace as a symbol of our new family. Also after I dance with my dad she is going to dance with her dad. What other suggestions to make it a special day for the 3 of us?

I am stumped so thank you for any ideas, suggestions, tips, etc!
Anniversary
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Re: Ideas for a "family" ceremony?

  • Marrin713Marrin713 member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I'm not a fan of family vows.  The ceremony is between the two people getting married, but that's just my opinion.  I'm sure you'll get ideas from others here.  Good luck!
    doeydo
  • handfast4mehandfast4me member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Yeah, I'm with Marrin.  The family ceremony thing gives me the creeps.  It's almost as bad as those hideous "Purity" ceremonies.  The ceremony, like the marriage, is between the consenting adults.  The children add into becoming a family, but are not part of the marriage, just as if there were no children from either of you.  Ask her if she wants to be the flower girl, or stand with you as a bridesmaid (but certainly she should not participate in any bachelorette or "hen" activities).    I've seen families do a brief blessing over the entire group at the reception (blended family, in this case, with kids from the groom and the bride), and it was lovely, short, and sweet. 
    image Don't mess with the old dogs; age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.
    doeydo
  • Sue-n-KevinSue-n-Kevin member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    The only idea we currently have is after the vows we would give her some type of necklace as a symbol of our new family. Also after I dance with my dad she is going to dance with her dad.

    I think your suggestion above is perfect. However, IMO the vows are between the two of you. If you want to present her with a necklace in the limo ride, or in the area where you are signing the marriage certificate, that's fine. I wouldn't do it in front of everyone.

    I'm a big fan of the claddagh rings, which also come in necklace pendants. They are IRISH, and have 2 hands holding a heart. You can explain to her that you will hold her heart and dreams in your hands and love her very much. She won't appreciate it now, but she might in the future, and it incorporates what you want.

    She can also be your flower girl if you want, which I think would make her feel great. Most little girls like to dress up.

    I think the dances sound great too.

    Good luck.
  • LesPaulLesPaul member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Welcome, and congratulations!

    She's only 7, so I wouldn't include her in any vows.  The marriage is between you and FI, and while she is included in your new family, the marriage vows are not hers.  I, too, am not a fan of the family ceremony.  Include her as a bridesmaid, or give her a special gift to commemorate the occasion (privately), but the wedding ceremony should be about you and your new husband.
    imageFollow Me on Pinterest
    doeydo
  • MikesAngieMikesAngie member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I too am gaining a step-daughter and she will be almost 18 when we marry.  We are not doing any vows but she and I will have a private talk before her dad and I marry where I will give her a ring that once belonged to me.  All of this was decided in a discussion with her.

    My FI wants to have a sand ceremony as our outward symbol that will be displayed in our home of the blending of our three lives. 

    We are not having any family vows, as those are strictly between us.
    jmb3
  • edited December 2011
    Thanks for all the input. Last year her mother remarried and they had a family ceremony. Since she spends more time with us and we are her primary caregivers I think it would be odd to not do something similar. I would not want her to wonder why she did it at mom's ceremony and not at dad's when we are a bigger part of her life. Does that make sense? She is already the flowergirl.

    Thank you so much for all your honest opinions.
    Anniversary
    jmb3
  • Lisa50Lisa50 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_second-weddings_ideas-family-ceremony?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:35Discussion:b2336294-a5de-4a33-b02a-b817c03d5e2ePost:6f94cb87-1fca-478e-97cc-66ead58cfaba">Re: Ideas for a "family" ceremony?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thanks for all the input. Last year her mother remarried and they had a family ceremony. Since she spends more time with us and we are her primary caregivers I think it would be odd to not do something similar. I would not want her to wonder why she did it at mom's ceremony and not at dad's when we are a bigger part of her life. Does that make sense? She is already the flowergirl. Thank you so much for all your honest opinions.
    Posted by cooper8759[/QUOTE]

    That's a tough act to follow, indeed.  As her primary caregivers, it makes even more sense to help her understand that, while the 3 of you are certainly transitioning as a family, only you and dad are getting married (so vows are only yours and dad's).  One-upping mom with wedding ceremonies and family vows as the starting point is rough.  I feel bad for you.  Her mother put you and dad in a terribly difficult spot. 

    I wish you the best of luck in working it all out.
  • edited December 2011
    Hi Cooper,
    Welcome to the board, Congratulations on your engagement and impending marriage.

    It seems that the mom made it difficult for you by doing family vows ... perhaps the child doesn't even remember because she was 6 at the time, maybe check with her to see if she what she remembers about mom's wedding.
     
    It would be hard for a child to remember  "family ceremony" with all that happens during a wedding ceremony. if she is standing at the altar with you, she will feel special and included!
    Good Luck!
  • AbbeyS2011AbbeyS2011 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I think actions speak louder than words.  The ceremony is between you and your FI.  Be a mom to her and that will show her that she is part of the family better than any words said at a 20-30 minute wedding ceremony. 

    I think it is best if you do not try to follow her mother in any way.  Just because she wanted a "family" ceremony, does not mean you have to have one.  I think it is odd too. 

    Congrats on your coming marriage!
    Anniversary
    doeydo
  • edited December 2011
    I checked with my Future stepsons and they don't want to say anything but do want something special.  They are very excited about our new "family".  I'll be presenting them with St. Christopher charm on a necklace. 

    Yes the marriage is between my FH and I...but with that marriage a new family is coming together.  That's very important to the 4 of us.  The boys are both very excited about the wedding...so I'm happy to share the celebration with them.
    jmb3
  • edited December 2011
    Talk to her first. She what she wants to do.

    All three of mine have wanted to be involved since the beginnig. My older daughter(18) help FH plan the weekend when he proposed and will be my Maid of Honor. My son (12) is walking me down the aisle (he asked to do it) and will be a groomsmen. My younger daughter (7) has her own planning book and was the one that pushed for some kind of "unity" ceremony. Instead of giving me awy, my children will be asking FH to join our family. We are going to be using an hourglass (http://heirloomhourglass.com/family_unity_sand_ceremony.html) for FH & I to keep in the house and a smaller jar of layered sand for each of the children to keep with them (will be made before the ceremony).

    Whether it is a part of the ceremony or in private, do what is most comfortable for everyone in your family.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker PhotobucketPhotobucket June 2012 Siggy Challange - Shoes
  • Denise8396Denise8396 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    My husbands daughter will be 4 when we marry and I am saying my own vows to her, she is doing the sand with us in a coordinating color, she is wearing the same dress as me and walking right behind me as the 2nd bride, she will get a ring as well when we do, and all vows will be said in a circle holding hands to symbolize the ring/never ending circle.

    Best wishes and go with your heart!
    HisMrsJIstoleahalo
  • blush64blush64 member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011

    I have two sons and I will be including them in my wedding as groomsmen, (or honorary best men) I will be including them in our vows as far as mentioning that we will be forming a new family and that we love them very much. They won't be speaking or anything, they'll just be mentioned as we speak. 

    I don't find it creepy or weird to state my love for them and that we are as commited to them as parents as we are to each other in front of everyone I love. (make them aware that they are not losing me to him but they are gaining him)
  • suedoylesuedoyle member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I've got teenagers and was thinking of adding (at the end of the ceremony) a few lines for the officiant about FH and I have "formed a circle of love", and that our circle includes them -- and invite them to join our circle by holding hands.  After these reminders that the wedding is FH and I, and that my teenagers are old enough (17 and 18) that FH won't be assuming any kind of 'dad' role, I think simply having them stand up with us is enough.  Hmmm.

    In addition to my son and daughter, we'll have just the best man.  Nobody is concerned about being un-even, and it's funny that my son isn't sure which side he wants to stand on.  Like, "am I here for mom, or am I one of the men?"  I'll let him decide, and it might be the morning of when he does.  Either way, as long as he's there!

    I do appreciate that most people on here offer opinions and suggestions without being overly judgemental.  Helps us all consider multiple points of view!
  • vexievexie member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Hello!  I'm getting married in June to a man who lost his wife during childbirth. He has two beautiful girls... 5 and 3 and we will be including them in our ceremony.  They will join us for the vows.    After he and I exchange vows I will speak directly to the girls... telling them that I love them very much and that I will continue to love them, laugh with them, dry their tears etc etc as if they were my own.  We will be giving them either a necklace or ring so they feel included.   I feel this is important for us to do as I'm not just marrying him... they are a 3-some and I'm choosing all three of them.   They will also be my flower girls and we plan to have them join us for the last minute or so of our first dance so it will be a 'family dance'... I can't wait!!  They girls are so excited about being part of the wedding!

    Everyone has their ideas of what is right to do or not regarding 'family ceremonies'.   Talk to your finance and go with what you feel to be right for you.   I  do agree that it's probably not wise to make the child promise anything to you.. it's an imbalance of power and they can't make those promises... but I think it's very sweet if you want to make promises to them.

    Have fun with the planning!
    84image 73image 11image Wedding date: June 11, 2011 :)
  • edited December 2011
    My fiance and I are including my 3 kids in our ceremony as well.. We did discuss the marriage with them and, in a way, asked their permission to get married... We then asked them how they would like to be invovled in the wedding... We are doing a private ceremony with just us and the kids... We too are having a problem finding an "addition" to the normal ceremony to include them...these sites have helped us get closer to finding what we want to do...

    http://www.unitysandceremony.net/the-blended-family-and-the-family-unity-ceremony/

    http://familymedallion.com/

    Good luck with what ever you decide
  • LMB311LMB311 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    My FI has 2 children.  I am very close with them, though their mother is still living and in the picture.  The kids are SS, 11 yrs, and SD, 8 yrs.  I have no children.

    We are using these "vows" and calling it "An Affrimation of Family"

    Pastor: Often marriage is viewed as the union of two persons. In reality, marriage is much broader. It is always a joining of families.


    As part of the family nature of this marriage we recognize Children and their importance to this family.


    Children you will have a share in this marriage, for your lives will be touched by the promises made by your (step)mother and father today. Your participation will be needed to develop the bonds of this new family. We now ask you to promise that you will all join together to create a family of mutual help, respect and support.


    We ask that you help to create a home and a way of life in which all of you may grow into the best people you can be. In this spirit, will you pledge to continue to grow together and honor this new family for all the days that follow?


    The children respond: “We will.”


    Groom and Bride, as you give yourselves to one another in love and loyalty, will you also promise always to keep room in your new life together for Children? Will you commit yourselves to respect and honor them as individuals and members of this family? Will you pledge to cherish, encourage and tenderly care for them as long as they need you?


    Couple responds: “We will.”


    As a symbol of the two families joined as one today, a special gift will now be presented to each of you. As you receive your token of family unity, always remember the love that has brought all of you together and that will guide you and nurture you in the years ahead.


    (Give medallions to children)

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    Istoleahalo
  • bnarron82bnarron82 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Wow, I'm a little surprised by the abundance of replies that say not to include them. While I agree that marriage is a vow between the two adults, when you merge families together, it should still be important.
    I have two girls from a previous marriage and he has three (2 girls and 1 boy), and my girls are walking me down the aisle, just as his are walking with him down the aisle, and we are having a sand ceremony in which everyone has their own sand color, that is how we are tying it all together.
    I think if you want to include her, you totally should.
  • edited December 2011
    When my dad remarried, there became a total of 10 children (5 each). We were the attendants and after they did their ceremony, the officiant had the family make a family candle. We each had a different color sand that the officiant poured some in first, then each kid by age, then our parents topped it off. It was cute and a very large candle! lol I wouldn't have wanted to be in the vow part, but I see alot of peoples posts of ideas of invorporating them in the vows, and I think if our parents did that (Vexie's idea) I def would have loved it. It all depends on what you, your fiance, and his daughter would be comfortable with. Ask her, she's old enough to have an opinion.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_second-weddings_ideas-family-ceremony?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:35Discussion:b2336294-a5de-4a33-b02a-b817c03d5e2ePost:66dac429-89f2-4f94-a192-f3b202d9fe9e">Re: Ideas for a "family" ceremony?</a>:
    [QUOTE]My FI has 2 children.  I am very close with them, though their mother is still living and in the picture.  The kids are SS, 11 yrs, and SD, 8 yrs.  I have no children. We are using these "vows" and calling it "An Affrimation of Family" Pastor: Often marriage is viewed as the union of two persons. In reality, marriage is much broader. It is always a joining of families. As part of the family nature of this marriage we recognize Children and their importance to this family. Children you will have a share in this marriage, for your lives will be touched by the promises made by your (step)mother and father today. Your participation will be needed to develop the bonds of this new family. We now ask you to promise that you will all join together to create a family of mutual help, respect and support. We ask that you help to create a home and a way of life in which all of you may grow into the best people you can be. In this spirit, will you pledge to continue to grow together and honor this new family for all the days that follow? The children respond: “We will.” Groom and Bride, as you give yourselves to one another in love and loyalty, will you also promise always to keep room in your new life together for Children? Will you commit yourselves to respect and honor them as individuals and members of this family? Will you pledge to cherish, encourage and tenderly care for them as long as they need you? Couple responds: “We will.” As a symbol of the two families joined as one today, a special gift will now be presented to each of you. As you receive your token of family unity, always remember the love that has brought all of you together and that will guide you and nurture you in the years ahead. (Give medallions to children)
    Posted by LMB311[/QUOTE]

    <div>wow, that made me tear up- I think I may have found an answer to the post I just posted!</div>
    BabyFetus Ticker
  • edited December 2011
    We each have a kid from a previous marriage and both kids live with us full-time.  It seems silly to me to make this day only about me and FI when it really is a family coming together and being created.  It's not about jabs at other parents or trying to take the place of them.  It's about our own little family becoming a whole.

    We're going to be doing a very casual ceremony in which we'll do the ring exchange with each other, but the officiant will also talk about the importance of family and put a beach-y necklace (since it'll be on the beach) over our heads.  Just a little way to include the kids in the ceremony and give them a special token from the day.
  • combat momcombat mom member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Some of this may have been said, alot in this thread to read. That said...

    1. I would definately sit down the 3 of you and talk. She may be all for it she may not.

    2. I was definatley all for this idea for mine as we are joining me & my 2 girls and him & his 2 boys into one family. I did some internet searches and found all kinds of "vows"/ceremony ideas. There's even family unity jewelry (ie.: pendents, necklaces, lapel pins, ect.). We were planning on necklaces for girls and pins for boys, and a simple "I'm not replacing your (mom/dad) but I will be here if and when you need me" vow.

    3. We also had planned that if the children didn't want to partiipate we would do it alone right after ceremony as everyone else moved to reception. (Just an idea for in case)

    Also an idea, when you have your father/daughter dance why not let them have theirs at the same time. Unless she wants a different song.
  • edited December 2011
    I am trying to balance this. The vows are between FI and I.  However we have 6 kids total that we want to be included.   I have 5  kids from my first marriage and we have one child together.   I talked to my older kids and they said it is important to them that they be invovled in the ceremony.   So my kids will be in the wedding party.  (Our son will be a little over year old when we get married so he won't be in the wedding party.)   My oldest son will be a groomsman, my older daughters will be bridesmaids.  My middle son will be the ring bearer and my youngest daughter will be the flower girl. 

    We are going to do a sand cermony to include the kids.   The ceremony I read (which inspired me) said that you have one layer be a foundation layer.   The kids will take turns to lay the foundation layer.  The officiant will say something about the foundation of our marriage is our family.  That family is important to us (which it is...) that our family includes not only our parents, but also the kids.  My older 3 kids are each going to help one of the younger ones with pouring the sand for the foundation.  After the foundation is poured then FI and I will take turns adding our sand.  

    This way I feel the vows are just between us, but the kids are included.   I am a widow so their dad is not in the picture.   I also want to try to find a private time to give them each something special to remember their dad, because it is very important to FI and I that my kids understand that while he loves them and wants to be a father figure to them,, that they did have a wonderful dad that loved them very much. 
  • heidistuberheidistuber member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I am going to wholeheartedly disagree with most of the early posters. I'm wondering how many of them are actually parents who have experienced a second marriage with their children? If your step-daughter is shy and doesn't want to be involved, don't force it, but her family is changing and rituals help children mark and understand a change.

    I'm getting married in June and my son (6) is gaining a stepdad. He wants to be involved in the wedding as his family is expanding too. His bio-dad will be there so he has all his family there and my son is walking me down the aisle. My fiance and I decided instead of saying both pledges ("I do") and vows (I Heidi, take you...) to each other, our pledges would be about our family and our vows would just between my FI and I.

    It will go something like this:

    Minister: "Before Bride and Groom exchange their vows to each other, they have special vows for Child.  "
    [IChild is called forward]

    "This marriage is not only the union of B and G, it is also extending Child's family.  G, do you promise to love Child, to nurture him and to protect him, to teach him and cherish him now and forever?"

    Groom: "I do."

    Minister: [Similar vows for Bride (mom)]

    Minister: "Child, do you promise to love G as your step-dad and do you promise to honor and response your mother and G as a couple and as your parents?"

    Child: "I do."

    Give special necklace
    lizzielj2015
  • edited December 2011
    We are doing a family ceremony also. We both have 2 daughters and they want to share our celebration. His youngest (6) is being a flowergirl, then his oldest
    (8) is walking in with him. My youngest (9) is passing out stems to a few people as she walks in (her choice) and finally my oldest (14) is walking me in. We will exchange rings and give the girls each a necklace http://www.heartstreasure.com/product/017345.shtml?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=datafeed&utm_campaign=bing_shopping&utm_content=017345 . We say it is all of our wedding. It is our day to get dressed up and let our friends and family enjoy our blended family and for us to officially become husband and wife. We asked our kids for their input but we made final decisions. They however do not have to say anything in the ceremony and we are not encouraging them to. There are a few web sites i have found that have sample vows such as idotaketoo
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_second-weddings_ideas-family-ceremony?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:35Discussion:b2336294-a5de-4a33-b02a-b817c03d5e2ePost:f06a6e89-e022-45e5-9999-d27eef77ede0">Re: Ideas for a "family" ceremony?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I am going to wholeheartedly disagree with most of the early posters. I'm wondering how many of them are actually parents who have experienced a second marriage with their children?  Posted by heidistuber[/QUOTE]

    I didn't check line by line, but the MAJORITY of us have children and have or will experience a second wedding.  Our children have or will experience it with us.  HOWEVER, I would not go so far to say that I expereinced a second marriage with my children.  Perhaps that is simply semantics.  My children had their own, independent experience of my second marriage.  But my marriage is certainly and simply  between DH and I.  The children  are our family.  We are their parents.  For some of the roughest parts of their adolescence, they refused to acknowledge DH as their stepfather, they simply called him my husband.  And you know what?  That's fine, too. 
    Today, they both acknowedge him as their stepfather, and acknowledge that he loves them, and they him-- probably more so than their biological father. 
    Depending on where children are with their development (and what you plan based on today will be very different in however many months until your wedding), where they are in their healing regarding the breakup of their parents and who they are personally--means that this is NOT a one size fits all approach. 
    My distaste for family ceremonies does not condemn anyone who knows, in their own heart, with their own personal knoweldge of their chldren-- that this is a healing, or soothing, or fear allaying ceremony for the children. 
    I have an issue with #1) doing it for theatrics
    #2) feeling that you MUST do it, or that somehow some rule is violated if it is not done
    #3) or most importantly, doing it to soothe your own demons/fears/ wishful thinking, whatever.   

    Finally <u>no ceremony</u> truly bonds a blended family together.  I believe that those bonds grow over time, with patience, trust, love, discipline, trials &  tribulations, tears, laughter, consistency and have I mentioned patience?  By the time some get to the wedding, they are already there.  For others, they have a long way to go.  Neither is right or wrong.  Some will NEVER get there, no matter how many vows are said, flames lit, sand poured, seeds grown, cords tied, etc. 

    I think that both sides of the argument are important to hear and consider.  I would never want someone to feel like they have to or cannot include this type of ceremony.  ~Donna
  • handfast4mehandfast4me member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Yeah, what she (Donna) said. I have a daughter, and she most certainly was NOT included in the ceremony.  Again, the vows between adults and children are just plain creepy.  It's like some weird relgion where they marry the girls off at 8 to grown men. 

    Marriage, and thus, the wedding, by definition is between consenting adults, which is limited to two legally in this country. 
    image Don't mess with the old dogs; age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.
  • edited December 2011
    As the OP I just wanted to check back in an give an update on what we decided to do (the wedding is in 16 days). We are giving my stepdaughter a necklace at the rehearsal dinner. During the ceremony we will be doing a unity sand ceremony. My step daughter has been actively involved in the whole process and is super excited to be our flower girl and she will be carrying our rings too.
    Anniversary
  • handfast4mehandfast4me member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    From Denise (post above):   "My husbands daughter will be 4 when we marry and I am saying my own vows to her, she is doing the sand with us in a coordinating color, she is wearing the same dress as me and walking right behind me as the 2nd bride, she will get a ring as well when we do, and all vows will be said in a circle holding hands to symbolize the ring/never ending circle. " 

    Second bride?  Really?  
    image Don't mess with the old dogs; age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.
    doeydo
  • edited December 2011
    i have a cousin hat did this same thing a few years back. what they did was, have a 3rd ring and give to the child because he also was part of the "new" family that was being created.
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