Children in Your Wedding Ceremony: Of Course!
Whenever the bride and groom have kids, whether together or from previous relationship, the questions comes up as to whether include them in the ceremony.
Generally speaking, yes!
There are certain ages and personalities that would rather be left out... so start by asking them. Some teens might be too embarrassed, though most will likely be happy to have a role.
Some kids might be too young, so, at the very least be sure to have a mom, sister, bestie around to babysit, while you say your vows and take pictures, etc.
Assuming your kids will be a part of the ceremony here are some ways they can participate:
Ring Bearer and Flower Girl
Obviously, younger are cuter in this role, but there is no reason to have them to this even as old as 8 - 9 - 10 years old. Think about what you want them to do once they get "up there": stand, go sit with grandma or someone else...
Best Man / Maid of Honor - or Groomsman & Bridesmaid
It's your wedding... so you make the rules. Once they are 10-12 and up they can very well fulfill any one of these roles
Children can also participate in a unity rite. They could each have their own sand to pour in the unity vase, for example. Alternatively, you could each put a rose in the family vase.
You could also gather them in a circle with you two, hold hands and say parent vows to them: "we promise to be good parents with good school grades and in bad...", or "I will love you and raise you as my own...". Adjust the vows (promises) you make to them, depending on your own family circumstances and wishes for maximum effect and genuineness.
Another way to make them feel special and included in the event is to give them a token - a chain / locket works best. Again, adjust to your own circumstances.
Whatever you feel makes sense to you and your family, it is generally a great idea to include everyone in the forming of a new family. Feel free to mix and match any of the ideas above, or come up with other ones too. Keep it simple and sweet and you will have created a wonderful memory.
Or no kids?
You know your kids better than anyone else... and most kids bring about a certain level of noise and distraction... so, if your ceremony must be "just so", then you need to decide whether your kids should have a role or not. Of course, consult your other half... don't let this become a wedge... use it as a learning opportunity for your new marriage. Sure... it is sweet to include them, but if they are colicky or just generally determined to have everyone's attention no what what, when, and where, it might make sense to consider how their presence would influence the proceedings, and your relationship with your spouse and your kids after the wedding. Sometimes a bit of extra noise is a price worth paying for the long term health of the new family. Sometimes, this can be avoided through parental skills and negotiations. Hey, no one saids kids are easy... but you already knew that :) Take the whole thing in stride and roll with it. After all, forming a new family is the goal, not 10 extra minutes of quiet on this particular day.