Divorcing your spouse is never an easy decision, particularly when there are children involved. Meeting somebody new can further complicate things, as all parties adjust to life in a new blended family. Many couples opting to re-marry view their new marriage as an opportunity to bring their blended family members closer together. Honoring your blended family in your wedding ceremony can be an intimate and emotional way to bring people closer together.
Opting to honor your new blended family in this way is not without its issues, however, and careful consideration must be made to ensure that it is, indeed, viewed as an act of love rather than a divisive or cruel tactic aimed at a former spouse.
Discuss the matter openly with all parties
While the idea of honoring your blended family in your wedding ceremony may be motivated entirely by good intent, it is vital that all parties see it that way. If your plans include changes to the ceremony (either through changing your vows or involving people in different ways), be sure to discuss this with your new and previous spouses, if this is to affect your children. Learning to communicate in an open and honest way is vital to building a strong blended family, and you must lead by example in articulating what it is that you want to do.
Be flexible about what you want
When it comes to living in a blended family, compromise is essential, and your wedding ceremony is no different. You may, for example, choose to involve all the children in your marriage vows, but when you are dealing with children of different ages and temperaments, this may not be possible. If you or your new spouse's children are reluctant or uncomfortable to be involved, then don't force or coerce them into anything. By simply changing the vows spoken to your spouse rather than asking your children to speak, they may feel less exposed in front of lots of people while still feeling a part of the ceremony.
Ensure that you are sending the right messages
It's very easy to get caught up in the romance of the moment without thinking about the effect on others. If you are honoring your new stepchildren in your marriage vows, for example, then ensure that this is worded in a way that doesn't suggest that you are somehow superseding their natural parents. This is not supposed to be a ceremony of replacement. Any changes to your vows must demonstrate that you are committed to your new, blended family members without suggesting any hold over the relationships they already share with others.
Consider actions as well as or instead of changing your vows
Aside from changing the wedding vows, there are other ways to honor your new, blended family members in a wedding ceremony. In some cases, couples opt for a symbolic sand kit, which includes a large ornate jar into which family members take turns to pour different colored sand. The finished article creates a beautiful, symbolic keepsake, which can subsequently be kept in the home.
Changing your wedding ceremony is a significant move to make, but it can offer new ways to bring your blended family together. Be sensitive and considerate about this emotional time, and you should have many happy memories of a joyful day to mark the start of a new life together.