Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

How do I include my 12 year old into the wedding party???

Here's my dilemma - My fiance and I are getting married next fall (Oct. 2014) and we will have an almost 12 year old at the time (not my fiance's biological son but the only "real" dad my son has ever known) and we are trying to figure out how to include our son into the wedding ceremony.

The catch is that our son has Asbergers (a form of Autism) and doesn't want to speak in front of the guests to recite vows or anything like that but wants to be part of the wedding.

My fiance and I, both think that 12 is too old to be a ring bearer and a little young for a groomsman - BUT - we want our son involved in the ceremony...we just don't know how to include him.

Has anyone had experienced this particular dilemma? Any suggestions or examples of how you handled it?

 

Thanks

K

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Re: How do I include my 12 year old into the wedding party???

  • Please don't try to make him recite vows or anything similar (I'd recommend this despite the Asbergers). He is not the one making a lifelong commitment.

    Why is he too young to be a groomsman? They don't do much besides stand there during the ceremony. Or he could even be a bridesman and stand on your side. I love it when the children of the couple serve in the wedding party.  If he is comfortable with it, I think this is the best option. If he's not comfortable with standing up in front of everyone, just have him be a guest but get him a bout and take some great pictures of the three of you.

    image
    MairePoppydaisey18KeptInStitches
  • edited July 2013
    I've seen plenty of tween/early teen bridesmaids and groomsmen.  (Some people still use the term "junior bridesmaid/junior groomsman" for attendants of that age, but it's pretty well agreed upon here that that can come across as infantilizing and since they're doing the same job as a regular bridesmaid/groomsman, it's better to just drop the "junior.")  That's probably the best role for him given that he wants to avoid public speaking.  And he could stand up as either a bridesman or a groomsman.
    daisey18SKPMKeptInStitches
  • He's not too young to be a groomsman, bridesman, if he can walk from point A to point B. From there, he can either stand with you at the altar or sit in the front row. 

    I agree that it's not appropriate to have any children, regardless of age or ability,  recite vows. 
                       
  • He can escort you down the aisle, he can stand with you or your FI, or he can proceed in and sit in the first row with your other VIPs.
  • He is not too young to by a GM.  I had a ten-year-old BM.
  • He can be a groomsman or a bridesman, he can escort you down the aisle, or he can just be a guest.  But he shouldn't be saying anything that smacks of vows, both due to his condition and due to the fact that he isn't getting married.

    Whatever you do, he has to be okay with his role.  Don't pressure him to do anything he won't be comfortable with.
  • edited July 2013
    His 'condition' has nothing to do with it. People with autism can make promises and get married. He shouldn't say vows because he is a child and he's not getting married.
    Jen4948 said:
    He can be a groomsman or a bridesman, he can escort you down the aisle, or he can just be a guest.  But he shouldn't be saying anything that smacks of vows, both due to his condition and due to the fact that he isn't getting married.

    Whatever you do, he has to be okay with his role.  Don't pressure him to do anything he won't be comfortable with.

                       
  • His 'condition' has nothing to do with it. People with autism can make promises and get married. He shouldn't say vows because he is a child and he's not getting married.
    Jen4948 said:
    He can be a groomsman or a bridesman, he can escort you down the aisle, or he can just be a guest.  But he shouldn't be saying anything that smacks of vows, both due to his condition and due to the fact that he isn't getting married.

    Whatever you do, he has to be okay with his role.  Don't pressure him to do anything he won't be comfortable with.

    I think it depends on what his autism allows for.  If it doesn't allow him to participate comfortably in a speaking role, then that level of participation shouldn't be expected of him.  Unless he's doing a reading, he wouldn't normally be in a role that requires speaking anyway (and it doesn't sound like he is).
    [Deleted User]
  • My son also has Asperger's.  We both know it looks different on every person, don't we?

    What is he comfortable doing?  That is the most important question.  He is definitely not too young to be a groomsman.  He could also escort you down the aisle, or your mom down the aisle to her seat.

    I am a huge advocate of children NEVER having vows in a marriage ceremony.  The bride and groom are their to make promises, not the kids.  It is fine if you your FI wants to say something to your son during the ceremony, but there should be no expectation of your son reciting anything.

    Have you asked him what he would like to do?

    My son escorted me for two of my DDs' weddings.  He is 18 now and would be fine to be a groomsman if he were asked.
  • edited July 2013
    @jen4948 - I misunderstood. I thought you were saying that those who are autistic were incapable of understanding/making vows. Thanks for clearing that up.

    I also have a son who is on the autism spectrum. He certainly can take a vow, but once he has, he can't change his course. This makes life interesting.
                       
    kererie
  • @jen4948 - I misunderstood. I thought you were saying that those who are autistic were incapable of understanding/making vows. Thanks for clearing that up.

    I also have a son who is on the autism spectrum. He certainly can take a vow, but once he has, he can't change his course. This makes life interesting.
    Apology accepted!  If the OP's son really wants to say something and he is capable of doing so, then his role should allow for that-although I still wouldn't go for "vows" because he isn't getting married.

    I can see why this would have been a touchy subject for you.  My own apologies for anything distressing that my post implied.
  • edited July 2013
    I agree with you. Only the couple should say vows.
    No apologies necessary.
                       
  • kererie said:

    Here's my dilemma - My fiance and I are getting married next fall (Oct. 2014) and we will have an almost 12 year old at the time (not my fiance's biological son but the only "real" dad my son has ever known) and we are trying to figure out how to include our son into the wedding ceremony.

    The catch is that our son has Asbergers (a form of Autism) and doesn't want to speak in front of the guests to recite vows or anything like that but wants to be part of the wedding.

    My fiance and I, both think that 12 is too old to be a ring bearer and a little young for a groomsman - BUT - we want our son involved in the ceremony...we just don't know how to include him.

    Has anyone had experienced this particular dilemma? Any suggestions or examples of how you handled it?

     

    Thanks

    K

    Why do you think he's too young to be a groomsman?


  • To those that say that marriage vows are only between the man and woman - I don't necessarily agree with that which is why I raised this particular question. My fiance is not only marrying me but he is also marrying my family and I am marrying his family.

    Also, I may have a slightly different situation that a divorced mother since my son has only knows my fiance as his father and doesn't have a paternal family to connect to except my fiances' family. So, over the past few months my fiance and I have discussed it and disected the whole process and realized that both my son and I are committing to spending the rest of our lives with my fiance. Therefore including our son into some type of vows was not out of the question UNTIL my son put the kibosh on that and said he didn't want to talk.

    For those that are asking why I think 12 is too young to be a groomsman - many people with Asberger's are very rigid and like rules, order and procedures - therefore a typical groomsman is going to be involved in certain parts of the celebration that I believe a 12 year old should not be included in such as a bachelor party and other things that are over his level of functioning but in his mind he would have to do each thing to be a groomsman. And due to his disability (not a "condition" as many have stated above) he isn't going to understand why he can only do part of the 'job' since he has already been on the internet researching what groomsmen do.

    And at 12 we feel he is too old to be a ring bearer since we have 2 nephews that are 6 and 7 and two neices that are 6 and 4 that we want to include in the wedding party as the ring bearers and flower girls.

    Yes, we indeed have asked what he wants to do within the wedding - his response (in typical Asberger's fashion) was a 25 minute explanation of how he wants to pick the cake out. Nothing more and nothing less 25 minutes on the different types of wedding cakes.

    So, we are still at a loss of how to include him, other than letting him pick out the cake - and we are praying it doesn't have Spongebob or 'Happy Birthday' written on it.

    NYCMercedes
  • Differing opinions....I guess BUT

     

    Lingerlonger - 

    Yes my son has been a life altering part of my life and has helped me make every decision - houses, cars, apartments, and pets.... And as a true single mom (not a divorced woman or a mom who has joint custody), if my son didn't like a person I dated I took that into consideration -] he was usually right about the guy - Bu even when my FI and I decided to get married it was a family decision because it is going to alter each of our lives in different ways that I do not need to post for the world to see... So in a way, yes my son did help me choose who I was going to marry because I would never marry someone he disliked.

     

    Although, you may say as a parent I get the final decision in everything - well unfortunately you must not know much about Autism/Asberger's. Maybe you should do some reading on their rigidity and the way that children/adults with this disability function on a day to day basis;  I would suggest the book by Shona Shilling - The Best Kind of Different. -But in the long run I can't say he can pick something and then tell him no because he would NEVER, EVER understand why I would say no after allowing him to choose something.

    StageManager 14:

    I don't think comparing children with cats is appropriate either - my son isn't an animal - he is a living breathing person with feelings just like you and everyone else. No comparison can be made and I am hurt that you would compare a child to an animal.

     

    So - since everyone here seems to feel as though I am wrong for wanting my son to participate with our wedding as something more as a kid that stands there in a tux - I was looking for honest suggestions, not for people to bash my choice as a person and a parent to reach out for help.

     

    daisey18
  • 12 is not too young to be a groomsman.  My 13-year-old sister was a bridesmaid.  I have seen many pre-teen/young teens as attendants and they do just fine.  Just because he's a GM does not mean he has any duties.  My little sis did not go to my bachelorette party because she lives 1200 miles away but even if she did live near me, I doubt my mom would have let her attend because of her age.

    Also, I agree that he should not say vows for the reasons that PPs have mentioned.  If all he wants to do is pick out the cake, let him pick out the cake and then sit as a guest.  I highly doubt he will look back in years to come and regret "just" being a guest.
  • It's great that your son has told you that he wants to pick out the cake. He considers it an important task. You could make it a special occasion for him. If you can't live with a Spongebob cake, ask your baker if she has a wedding cake catalog, or look for pictures on line with him. You could even put a little sign near the cake saying that it was selected by your son, if you think that will mean something to him. 

    If he's a gm or a brides man, he should be included in age appropriate activities. Maybe the bp could include an early dinner that your son could attend and then he could be brought home so the adults can continue on with their age appropriate plans. There must be things, in his normal, everyday life, that he's not allowed to do because of his age - like watching adult movies or drinking beer. I think you can help him understand.  If you can't, don't call him a gm. Let him walk you down the aisle, call him your escort or usher. He can still stand with you for your ceremony. 



                       
  • I would stick to having him as a groomsman, a bridesman, or he can escort you down the aisle.
    I see no problem with him choosing the cake. You can give him options to choose from, so Spongebob won't be an issue.

    At no point should he be involved with the vows. A marriage is a legally binding contract. Your fiance is marrying you, not your son. He can later on legally adopt him. But he'll not be marrying him and therefore they should not be making marriage vows to each other.

    You can marry INTO a family, but you can't marry a whole family. I think that's an important difference.
    image
    [Deleted User]KeptInStitches
  • Well, apparently my high and mighyness is offensive to some people who feel the need to say the "F" word but I find it offensive that my son was compared to a domesticated animal - and I hope other parents could understand where that may come off as inappropriate or offensive. Or where others told me that allowing my son to help make decisions was not a good way to parent - I never said he made the decisions, I said that he has always been and always will be involved and I never said it had anything to do with his disability.

    - s-aries said It has nothing to do with his autism, it has to do with your respect of his opinion, and that isn't a bad thing. -- which is completely accurate.

    In response to the "FYI" on single moms - there is a difference between a mom that doesn't have the support of anyone else (in my case, until the last few years when I started dating my FI) and someone who can share custody - everyone person who is doing it is a single mom but there are different types of single moms - widows, divorcees, single parents without a significant other, and single parents with a significant other. So, me referring to myself as a 'true' single mom is quite accurate - if I was on my second marriage I would have posted over there not here.

     

    So, after a long discussion with my FI - we are going to let our son pick out the cake (Spongebob or otherwise) and go with it. Afterall, cake is cake no matter what the frosting looks like and due to food allergies in both our families we have to stay pretty basic with flavors. 

    And we also decided that he will stand with me during the entire ceremony and help with the unity cermony and our officiant has agreed to do the traditional vows between myself and my fiance where we say "I do"- and also add in the family vow of "do each of you take each other to be part of your family?" And in response to this, my son can nod, say yes, smile, pick his nose, blow bubbles, talk to his extended family, play with his hair or do anything else he may want to do, and my fiance and i will say "Yes" not "We do"

    I'm sorry if anyone thinks that this is inappropriate or wrong but it was our officiant suggested and we both liked it.

    And yes, my FI and I are starting the process for legal adoption and that will be done in a completely different cermony with just our immediate families there. But unfortunately it can't be done until well after the wedding due to the state laws.


    And thank you for the few people who suggested the unity cermony and having him just stand by my side during the cermony - much appreciated.

     

  • There's no point in my commenting on the original topic, because OP has decided to do what she wants anyway.  We're all bad guys, I guess.  But for the record, I like what you decided to do.

    The only reason I'm commenting is because I'm so sick of people using the flag feature inappropriately.  It's NOT a dislike button.  It's used for spam or abuse, defined by the TOS.  This issue doesn't even affect me directly, but I'm so sick of innocent people getting flagged.  @KnotPorscha-there's a few above.

    NYCMercedesMairePoppyrajahmd
  • @wittykitty14 thank you for the heads up. I'll remove the flags when I able to and reach out to the user privately.
    [Deleted User]MairePoppy
  • kererie said:

    So, after a long discussion with my FI - we are going to let our son pick out the cake (Spongebob or otherwise) and go with it. Afterall, cake is cake no matter what the frosting looks like and due to food allergies in both our families we have to stay pretty basic with flavors. 

    And we also decided that he will stand with me during the entire ceremony and help with the unity cermony and our officiant has agreed to do the traditional vows between myself and my fiance where we say "I do"- and also add in the family vow of "do each of you take each other to be part of your family?" And in response to this, my son can nod, say yes, smile, pick his nose, blow bubbles, talk to his extended family, play with his hair or do anything else he may want to do, and my fiance and i will say "Yes" not "We do"

    I'm sorry if anyone thinks that this is inappropriate or wrong but it was our officiant suggested and we both liked it.

    And yes, my FI and I are starting the process for legal adoption and that will be done in a completely different cermony with just our immediate families there. But unfortunately it can't be done until well after the wedding due to the state laws.


    And thank you for the few people who suggested the unity cermony and having him just stand by my side during the cermony - much appreciated.

     

    I think including a a vow that you and your FI make to each other to take each other's families is perfectly appropriate and sweet.  I also like that you've decided to have your son stand on your side.

    Also for any lurkers out there, there isn't a minimum age to be a bridesmaid/groomsman.  I was my Aunt's MOH when I was ten.  
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
    kererie
  • kererie  I think it is up to you on how you want your son involved.  I know for my son it has been about him being involved in every aspect of the wedding.  My FH actually asked my sons permission before asking me.  My Son has been involved in the planning and will be walking me down the aisle.  We will be doing a unity sand ceremony as well.  He has already said he doesnt want to speak at the wedding but my FH and I have talked about FH giving my son a bracelet as a family unity thing.

      As far as everyone jumping on you cause your son is not getting married well that is their opinion.  As many have said about other topics, this is your wedding do it how you want.  I know i would love for my son and FH to say something to each other but I know they wont cause well they are shy LOL.  I like you would not be with my FH if my son didnt like him or approve of him so in a way he did make that commitment.  As for it being a legal contract thats up to how you look at it.  We see it as a joining of families in the eyes of the person above.  The Legal government part is a necessity that we cant avoid.   

    I would talk to your son and FH and see what they are comfortable with and go from there. 

    Good luck on everything.
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    kererie
  • CaseyNewk said:
    kererie  I think it is up to you on how you want your son involved.  I know for my son it has been about him being involved in every aspect of the wedding.  My FH actually asked my sons permission before asking me.  My Son has been involved in the planning and will be walking me down the aisle.  We will be doing a unity sand ceremony as well.  He has already said he doesnt want to speak at the wedding but my FH and I have talked about FH giving my son a bracelet as a family unity thing.

      As far as everyone jumping on you cause your son is not getting married well that is their opinion.  As many have said about other topics, this is your wedding do it how you want.  I know i would love for my son and FH to say something to each other but I know they wont cause well they are shy LOL.  I like you would not be with my FH if my son didnt like him or approve of him so in a way he did make that commitment.  As for it being a legal contract thats up to how you look at it.  We see it as a joining of families in the eyes of the person above.  The Legal government part is a necessity that we cant avoid.   

    I would talk to your son and FH and see what they are comfortable with and go from there. 

    Good luck on everything.
    Sure you can avoid it. You can just not get married legally.
    image
    [Deleted User]NYCMercedes

  • CaseyNewk said:
    kererie  I think it is up to you on how you want your son involved.  I know for my son it has been about him being involved in every aspect of the wedding.  My FH actually asked my sons permission before asking me.  My Son has been involved in the planning and will be walking me down the aisle.  We will be doing a unity sand ceremony as well.  He has already said he doesnt want to speak at the wedding but my FH and I have talked about FH giving my son a bracelet as a family unity thing.

      As far as everyone jumping on you cause your son is not getting married well that is their opinion.  As many have said about other topics, this is your wedding do it how you want.  I know i would love for my son and FH to say something to each other but I know they wont cause well they are shy LOL.  I like you would not be with my FH if my son didnt like him or approve of him so in a way he did make that commitment.  As for it being a legal contract thats up to how you look at it.  We see it as a joining of families in the eyes of the person above.  The Legal government part is a necessity that we cant avoid.   

    I would talk to your son and FH and see what they are comfortable with and go from there. 

    Good luck on everything.
    I understand that you wouldn't be with your FH now if your son didn't like him, but that still doesn't mean that your son gets a say in your relationship.  If in 2 years your son decides that he no longer likes FH, are you going to divorce FH?  My guess is no.  If your son moves out of the house will you divorce FH?  Because under your theory that he's part of the marriage, than your son leaving would break up the marriage.

    Again your son is not the one entering into the marriage.  He may approve of your relationship, but that does not equate with being a part of it. 

    And I second everything Linger said.  Marriage may include religious/personal elements, but legally, it is a contract between two consenting adults.
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
    [Deleted User]Simply FatedNYCMercedesKeptInStitches
  • @caseynewk - Thank you for not jumping down my throat about my request for ideas. I am like you and think marriage is something greater than a legally binding contract. I think it is the joining of two people in a lifelong commitment in the eyes of our family and friends and each other.

    @nycbruin - what i let my son help me make decisions on is my choice as a parent - i didn't post a request for ideas on this board to have my parenting skills questioned But if there was a legit reason why my son stopped loving my FH then I would take that into consideration (ex: abuse, neglect). But I am sure in 2 years from now (when we have a full fledged teenager) our son is going to have days where he doesn't like either one of us. But that doesn't mean our family is going to break apart - it means we are going to have to work at becoming stronger than ever. I never said my son was part of the marriage, I said with the marriage he is joining myself and my fiances families in their whole - not as some seperate part or as a red-headed stepchild. And if you are saying that children are not part of a parents relationship then that is something you need to figure out - because I dont know any married couple who would consider their children as "outsiders" to the relationship or family dynamics.

    To everyone else - grow up - this is a wedding site - not a place to debate religion or bash other people. It is just a place for brides to be, people who want to be brides, and wives to go and share ideas and support one another. If you want to debate find some place else.

  • As a matter of fact I have broken up with a guy because my son changed how he felt about him.  And after listening to my son's concerns I seen through his eyes how this male *not even a man* was.  My son is my world. And it is actually my sons idea to join into the unity sand.  It is a blending of families.  My FH also stated that he knew getting with me meant my son was part of the package.  So he knows his commitment is to both of us.  

    @kererie I think you should do what you and your guys *FH and Son* want to do.  If you want connect with me and we can SHARE ideas.  Since I thought thats what this site was about.  I didnt realize it was a huge cat fight.  Good thing I like dogs better.  


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    kererie
  • edited July 2013
    @StageManager14 - I don't think anyone is this thread, including the OP, thought your were saying her son was less than human. She was just twisting your words in an effort to make you look like an ogre. Didn't work. I wanted to say so, but I figured you didn't think the statement deserved a response. 

    I was not comparing your son to my cats literally, I was comparing the fact that neither can enter into a legally binding contract (which is what a wedding is) nor has the ability to dictate the rights of said agreement. I'm sorry if I offended you, I truly did not mean to. Though I am curious which you think my cats do not do, live, breathe, or feel? For everything else, ditto Linger on all counts.
                       
    NYCMercedes[Deleted User]wittykitty14KeptInStitches

  • kererie said:

    @caseynewk - Thank you for not jumping down my throat about my request for ideas. I am like you and think marriage is something greater than a legally binding contract. I think it is the joining of two people in a lifelong commitment in the eyes of our family and friends and each other.

    @nycbruin - what i let my son help me make decisions on is my choice as a parent - i didn't post a request for ideas on this board to have my parenting skills questioned But if there was a legit reason why my son stopped loving my FH then I would take that into consideration (ex: abuse, neglect). But I am sure in 2 years from now (when we have a full fledged teenager) our son is going to have days where he doesn't like either one of us. But that doesn't mean our family is going to break apart - it means we are going to have to work at becoming stronger than ever. I never said my son was part of the marriage, I said with the marriage he is joining myself and my fiances families in their whole - not as some seperate part or as a red-headed stepchild. And if you are saying that children are not part of a parents relationship then that is something you need to figure out - because I dont know any married couple who would consider their children as "outsiders" to the relationship or family dynamics.

    To everyone else - grow up - this is a wedding site - not a place to debate religion or bash other people. It is just a place for brides to be, people who want to be brides, and wives to go and share ideas and support one another. If you want to debate find some place else.

    I don't even know why I'm bothering to respond to this as Linger pointed out it seems like you will think that everyone is trying to attack you.

    None of what you said changes the fact that your son is NOT a part of your marriage.  Of course he is a part of your family, but a marriage is between two consenting adults.  As I said, if your son decided that he hated your spouse, your son wouldn't get to decide to leave the marriage/family.  Only you/FI could decide to get a divorce.  Of course you care about your son's feelings and would take them into consideration if down the road the relationship between FI/son changed.  That said, YOU (and FI) are the only ones who could decide to enter into or end the marriage.  If my mother told me that she thought I should leave FI, I would certainly listen very closely to her concerns because that would be a red flag for me.  Just because I value her opinion does not mean that she becomes a part of our marriage.  Your son is not bound by your marriage vows, which is why PPs said it is weird to include children in the vows.

    Now, if YOU and FI want to include a line in your vows about family you absolutely should do that.  As in "I promise to love and care for your family as if they were my own."  There is nothing wrong with that.  It just is weird to try to involve a child in vows when they aren't part of the marriage.
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
    [Deleted User]wittykitty14
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