Congratulations on your blended family plans
So you and your new love have decided to marry and blend your two families. Congratulations. As you plan your wedding and look forward to your lives together, give serious thought to how the plans affect your children. Sure, children are resilient and normally adapt to almost any situation, but when it comes to your remarriage and the creation of an entirely new step family, they deserve special consideration and understanding.
Before your blended family wedding
Well in advance of your merge into a blended family, talk with your kids about the wedding, your remarriage, and what to expect from blended family life, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and support. Let them understand that while their participation in your actual wedding may not be required, you will expect their full participation in making the blended family work, and expect them to follow the same set of rules and expectations everyone in the family will observe.
Ceremonies that express commitment to your blended family
Because your remarriage plans include kids, you may wish to consider acknowledging and celebrating the merging of your two families into one during your wedding ceremony. A clear statement about merging your two families into one can reinforce not only your full commitment to your partner, but your total commitment to his or her children, as well. Making the vows that are central to your marriage can be even more meaningful and special to you and your children when you specifically promise to give your heart to your spouse, your marriage, and all members of your blended family.
Commit to all your children
When there are kids from previous relationships on both sides involved, you may elect to have both partners pledge commitment not only to your role as a spouse, but to your entirely new role as a parent in a step family. It can be quite beneficial for step kids to hear words of your new commitment as step parent, and a reassuring and comforting feeling for your bio kids to hear a renewed declaration of your devotion and commitment to them.
Having kids participate in the wedding vows
When it comes to blended family vows, it is usually in the best interests of the kids to NOT have them speak or take part in the vows, unless of course they themselves ask to participate. It is enough for many kids to simply attend the wedding of their parent and accept the notion of love and support a newly blended family has to offer, without being asked to do something they may not feel comfortable doing – or declining to do. Talk with your kids about the wedding, and listen carefully to what they have to say. Go online for suggestions for blended family vows with and without participating children, or ask your minister for guidance and suggestions which support your children’s feelings about the wedding.
Make a statement with your blended family wedding. Celebrate your love and commitment to each other with community of friends and family. Tell the world, but more importantly, tell your children, that your new blended family goal is to create an environment of love, support, and mutual respect that can sustain all of you and add an exciting and beneficial new dimension to all your lives. Good luck and best wishes. Don’t forget to get premarital counseling. The Blended and Step Family Resource Center offers an approach that is specialized to your situation, and different from the standard marriage counseling you receive. Contact us for more information.