The MORE show on Fox 5 welcomes back Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito to discuss blending families.
My adopted AM "family" at MORE Fox 5 invited me back once again to discuss blending families and involving children at a wedding. Marriage after baby is becoming increasingly more common, and whether the children are "yours, mine, or ours" it's important to include them in your wedding celebration.
As a mother of two sticky little small people, I can tell you that what I value (like sleeping through the night) and what they value (why is screaming so much fun?!!?) are often times at odds with each other! Kids are only kids once, and a wedding is a big deal for them! The best way to make the experience amazing for them - and for you - is to get them involved early. Let the child take the lead on deciding how they want to be involved, and then run with it! While you may envision your perfect little chatterbox getting up and saying vows with you, the truth is that public speaking is terrifying enough for most adults! Can you imagine what the pressure could do to a child!
Kids is that they find joy in the joyous! And the best way to connect with them is to involve them in things that they love. Here are my top 3 suggestions for including kids in a wedding when blending families:
- Family Dance Turn on any kid-centric channel or television program and there is one common theme running throughout...Music and Dancing! Kids respond to sound, and they have a seemingly unending amount of energy to burn, which is why so much of the day involved wiggling and giggling and jumping around. Take advantage of this and plan for a family dance! With smaller kids and infants this could mean carrying your baby out to the dance floor and taking a turn to a tune such as "What a Wonderful World" or "We are Family" if you want to kick it up a notch. For slightly older kids, maybe you let them pick the song and lead the way out onto the dance floor. Even bigger kids and larger groups of siblings can come together and make it a mini-performance!
- Presents, please! Everyone loves presents! You and your fiancé are both giving and receiving something special. Getting the kids something that they can open, too, and keep is a wonderful way to bring them into the moment. Not only will they feel included and connected with the moment, but they will have a token to hold onto for all time. I like the idea of giving some form of jewelry, and then maybe each year you let them wear it and go out to a special "family anniversary" together.
- Cut the cake! When I ask kids what they are most looking forward to about a wedding, or to tell me about a wedding, there is one word that comes out of each and every mouth...Cake! Kids love it, and why wouldn't they? It feels special and decadent, and says "this is a celebration" like few other things in their world. Letting your kids join in for the cutting of your cake is a great way to give them something to look forward to and to actually "do" at the wedding. Even better? Get a wedding cake, a groom's cake, and a family cake! Or, have one large wedding cake, and then a different dessert - one to represent each person. You can post a notice on who choose what and why.
More than anything, try to remember that kids - like adults - will have a million emotions running around in their little heads and hearts on the wedding day. Do your best to keep them happy, and remind them that having another person to love is never a bad thing!