Your wedding day marks a turning point in life for both you and your fiancé, but it also marks the day when the children from your fiancé's previous marriage are integrated into your family. It is important to include your future stepchildren in your day's proceedings, as it sets the tone for your new life together. Take care to discuss your ideas for the wedding as well as their role in the day to avoid any hurt feelings.
If your future stepchildren are between ages 4 and 8, ask them to participate in your ceremony as a flower girl or ring bearer. If the children are older, request that they act as bridesmaids or groomsmen or, if you have a son, ask him to walk you down the aisle. This act of giving the bride away is a symbolic one and will show your son's support for your union.
Tying your future stepchildren into your vows can be as simple as saying, "I take you to be my lawfully wedded wife, and I will love you and your daughter, Erica, with my whole heart." You also can write your own vows, which will make this process a bit easier. Mention that you could never replace your fiancé's first spouse, but that you do intend to love the children as your own. After you and your fiancé exchange rings, you can bestow symbolic pieces of jewellery upon your stepchildren, such as an eternity band or a necklace. This shows that your marriage is the joining of a family, not just two people.
Unity candles are a traditional component of wedding ceremonies, but they hold another layer of meaning when used at ceremonies with children. In these instances, they act as the symbolic binder for two families, and so the lighting is a focal point of the ceremony. Ask your own children as well as your future stepchildren to all assist you and your fiancé in lighting the unity candle. By melding all the flames into one, you signify the new union made of your families in this powerful ritual.
The toast is the moment in the reception during which the newlyweds publicly and formally acknowledge each other and the new family they have created. This traditionally follows the father of the bride's speech and precedes the best man's. Take this opportunity to prepare a special toast for your stepchildren, pledging to love them as your own. Additionally, thank them for sharing their parent with you, as this lets them know that you appreciate the sacrifice they have made in accepting you into their family.