If you’re planning a wedding and already have children (either with your partner or previously), it’s a given that you would want your kids to be a part of your wedding and all celebrations. After all, a parent getting married is a special occasion for every child. Their lives change, as will yours and they must feel included in everything. 

Katie from Orla James suggests asking your kids what they would like to be a part of. This applies if your kids are of the age where they understand that you are getting remarried, if they’re too small, it won’t matter much either way. Find the most age-appropriate method to include them in your wedding. 

Here are a few suggestions to help you include your child/ children on your wedding day.

Bridesmaids/ Groomsmen:
No one has ever said that your bridal party must be an ‘Adults Only’ invite! The best way is to make your kids bridesmaids and groomsmen. If your partner has a kid and you don’t, you could consider adding his daughter as your own bridesmaid to make her feel welcome. If you have children younger than 10, they could be junior bridesmaids and groomsmen. No matter what you decide, they still get to be a part of your celebration and ceremony. You can include them in a family version of the bachelor/ bachelorette party and have them dress up beautifully on the day of your wedding. 

Let them pick out your rings:
We know your wedding ring is special. But if you previously select your favorite rings and then ask you kids to choose from them, it will mean a lot to you and them. You’re still getting your choice of ring, and they get to make the selection. Choosing a wedding ring is an important way to include your child in your wedding and its celebrations. 

Unity ceremony:
If you’re having a unity ceremony, include your kids by affirming that you are one big family that will stay together and share your lives with each other. This is especially important for kids who need to feel acknowledged in front of others. A public declaration of your love and support towards your kids will make them feel special and loved. You can also display a creative handprint outside your new home and include their names on family boards. 

Include them in the vows:
Change your vows slightly to include your kids. This will assure them that you are still planning on remaining a family and will continue to love them even after you are married. This will show them your commitment towards being a family and not just partners. You can go a step further and engrave your vows for them to read every day. This affirms the truth that you are willing to be a family in all ways and will love them.

Let your kids walk you down the aisle:
We know it’s a slight break from tradition, but request the elders in your family to allow your child to walk you down the aisle. It’s a very important time in your lives together and you would want your child to be a part of it. If you have more than one, let them all walk you down the aisle together to show your solidarity in being a family together. If your partner has kids, include them too. Let it be known that you think of all the children as yours. 

Flower girls/ Ring bearers:
If your kid/ kids are too small and won’t be able to remember most of the function, you can have them as flower girls and ring bearers. This sweet, classic method of including your kids is a warm way of ensuring that they have fun, are included in all wedding photos and have prominent positions in your special day.

First dance:
Nowadays, many couples include their kids in their first dance together. This is a beautiful way of showing that you are already including your child/ children into your life together as a family. Just exchanging vows and promises isn’t enough. Showing them tangible proof that you are together as a family is what is most important.  Also, include them in your wedding toasts. 

Include your child in everything from menu planning, wedding gown designs, to your first dance. It is very difficult to ensure that your child feels loved and protected when there are so many changes. Ease them into it slowly, and you will remain a happy family.