Wedding Wednesdays Q&A: Including Your Children in the Wedding

Wedding Wednesdays Q&A by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner of Mango Muse Events

Q: My partner and I did things a little backwards and got pregnant before getting married.  We brought our beautiful little boy into the world last year and we’re now planning our wedding.  Since I’m now a mom as well as a fiancé, I really want to make sure our whole family is a part of the wedding (my partner also has a 5-year-old daughter from a previous marriage) and include our children in the wedding.  The problem is that my son is only going to be about a year old we when actually get married.  I really want him to be part of the wedding, but I also don’t want him attached to my side the whole day.  How do I reconcile these two and make it work?

Congrats!  I recently planned a wedding for a couple who was in a similar situation and wanted to include their children in the wedding, so I totally understand where you are coming from.

Now, the trick here is to find that balance of including your children in the wedding, but not having to take care of them all evening.  I know you love your kids, but you want to have a good time chatting with your friends, drinking and dancing and not necessarily being a mom all the time.  The right balance for you will depend on how much of a worried mom you are and how detached you want to be.  But, that you have to figure out for yourself.  What I can help you with are some ideas to include your children in the wedding and some ways to detach.

So, let’s start with how to include your children and specifically your son. The most obvious choice for your fiancé’s daughter would be to have her in the wedding ceremony as either a flower girl or taking part in some type of unity ceremony.  In that same vein, you could have your new son be a ring bearer who gets walked down the aisle by you (he could also be your bouquet!) or is pulled in a wagon or is held by your parents.  Once up at the altar, I’d suggest that you hand him off to either your parents or a family member or a babysitter.

Another fun way to include your children in the wedding is to do a special dance.  You could do a different take on a mother-son dance with your new son and/or a father-daughter dance with your fiancé and his daughter.  You guys could start off separately and then come together for a few moments as one family doing a first family dance.  I really like the symbolism of this since you’re now going to be a new family together.

In terms of detaching yourself from your children, the easiest way is to plop them with their grandparents or another family member.  This person would be in charge of the kids for the majority of the day or at least the times when you don’t want to be worrying about them.  However, this can hard on your family members since they now won’t be able to be fully involved in the conversation or what is happening.  So, another great option which I actually think is better is hiring a babysitter or nanny for the day.

Some couples have a nanny or babysitter they use regularly and would prefer to bring them to their wedding while others are ok with just hiring someone who is in the area.  I’m not sure if you’re having a destination wedding or not, but either option can work.  The nice thing about a babysitter is that your family can enjoy themselves too and your babysitter’s sole job will be to take care of your children and make sure they have a good time.  Your daughter is probably old enough to hang out with the other kids or her cousins if you have those, but someone will still need to watch over her.  The babysitter can do that for you.

Another perk to hiring a nanny or babysitter is that they can also take the kids up to your hotel room to nap or sleep when it’s bedtime for them but still party time for you.  If they get cranky or have a meltdown, you have someone there who can whisk them away without ruining the moment for you or any of your loved ones.  It’s a pretty big win all around and I highly recommend it.

Children in the wedding dancing at a Sonoma wedding reception by Destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

(Photo by Arrowood Photography)

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