Family Blessing Ceremonies at a Wedding
When a marriage also creates a new family, a couple may wish to include their children in the wedding ceremony. There are a variety of ways of giving voice and creating a visual image of the new blended family. Here are some of my favorites. Some examples have the minister doing most of the talking and the some show how the family members can do it all themselves. All four examples involve some kind of visual, symbolic act to deepen the meaning. Feel free to cut and paste or use these examples as inspiration for creating your own family vows.
Example #1 - Together We Make a Garden
Each family member brings in a flower of a different kind. Together they stand around a large vase and one by one they add their flower to the vase creating a beautiful bouquet.
Minister: (to couple)
Today we celebrate not only the beginning of a marriage, but the beginning of a new family. These are children who will receive the blessings of this marriage and who will contribute to the beauty, diversity and richness of this family.
Minister (to the bride and groom)____________, ____________, Do you pledge yourselves to love and care for (child/ren’s names)? We do!
Minister (to children): _____________ , Do you now promise to do your best to help make a happy and successful home for all of you by your love and cooperation? (Child/Children reply) We do!
Minister (to all): Then place your flowers together and let us rejoice in the beauty of your love now blossoming in the world!
(They may each like to do a short reading or say something spontaneous here – or just hug!)
Example #2 - We Are the Light of the World
(For weddings in which one member of the new couple already has children.)
The bride and groom and child/ren gather around a table on which candles are assembled – one for each family member and a large one to represent the family itself.
Bride/Groom: (to the new spouse) Today I pledge my love and support, not only to you, my beloved, but to our new family. I celebrate the love that exists between you and your children and rejoice that I shall be a part of the circle of love. With your commitment I enter into the joys and challenges of parenting.
Bride/Groom: (to the new spouse) _______, I promise to support you in your new role as co-parent, inviting you into the circle of love that now exists. Together, may our love encircle and bless these/this child/ren as we grow together into a strong family.
Each member of the couple lights a candle to represent themselves.
Child/ren: (to parents) __________ I/We light this candle to celebrate the new family we are becoming.
The child/ren light a candle to represent themselves.
Minister: (to the new family)
This candle before us symbolizes the joining of ______ and ______ in marriage and of the new family they have formed here today. A family that expresses love is like a light in the world, bringing strength and joy to many. May this light ever shine brightly, bringing comfort and insight to everyone who comes within its peaceful radiance.
(Minister invites family members to lift their individual candles and light the center candle together. A favorite piece of music is played while children are seated)
Example #3 - By This Token We Become a Family
(Parents to the child/ren) _______, I promise to love you, protect you, and care for you asas a member of this family. I look forward to the happy times we will have in the years to come. Today, we become one family and I celebrate and honor our new relationship.
Minister (to the couple): Do you, _______, promise to guide, care and nurture (name ofchild/ren),? Do you gladly accept the obligations that go along with this pledge? (parents reply) We do!
Do you have a symbol of this promise? (Parents reply) We do.
Minister (to Child/Children): ________ now we would like to exchange a gift with you, not only to symbolize that you are a part of this family, but also to include you in the bond of this ceremony. It is their way of sharing with you the celebration of the creation of a new family that begins here today.
Do you, __________, promise to support this new marriage and this new family? (Child/ren reply) I/We do!
Parents present each child with a small gift, a piece of jewelry, a family medallion, or some other symbolic object.
Example # 4 - Family Sand Ceremony
Using a large, glass vase or bowl and smaller vials of colored sand, a many-layered decorative piece can be created during the ceremony that will give many years of memories. This is especially nice for ceremonies with children or relatives who’d like to participate but are shy of speaking in public!
Bride/Groom pours first layer of sand and says to beloved and his/her children:
As we become one on this day, we become part of each other, your feelings become my feelings; your sorrows become my sorrows; your joys become my joys; your worries become my worries and your children become my children. I promise to always be there to comfort and rejoice with you in all the complexities of life that we will face together as a family in the years to come. I love you and love the children with all my heart.
Bride/Groom pours second layer of sand and says to beloved and the children:
_________, I accept your pledge of love with awe and gratitude. In return, I promise to do all I can to make your new role as co-parent one of joy, supporting you as you learn all the new ways of parenthood. I look forward to our ability to support and guide and nurture together.
The couple pours sand together (making new color) and says to Child/ren:
__________, we are grateful to have the chance to be a family and pledge to do our very best as parents. Will you promise to accept us and learn with us to become a family that loves, honors and supports all of its members to be all they can be?
Child/ren: We will! (each child pours a layer of sand.)
Minister adds final layer of sand and offers this blessing:
May your family be blessed with abundance of health
And with riches of the spirit.
May your paths be lit with sunshine
And may your sorrows be few..
May your harvest be bountiful
And your hearth ever welcoming.
May you celebrate together in times of joy
And comfort one another in times of sorrow.
And may you feel blessed to be together
To share the laughter, the love, and the tears
As only a family can do.
And there you have it - some great ways to include children and family in your wedding ceremony. Want more ideas for your perfect wedding? Check out my next blog post!