Children in the ceremony
Children can be included in the ceremony in various ways. They may be part of the wedding party and stand up with the couple for the duration of the cermeony. They may be part of the processessional and then take a seat at the front.
Children can be included in a rose exchange or couples may give children a gift right after they exchange their own rings and vows - usually a necklace, medallion, or ring - along with a hug and an "I love you."
You may use a family unity candle. If the children are small, the couple light small candles for each of the children - and then they light the center candle together. If the children are older, each child can have a candle to light. Then all light the centre family candle together.
A sand ceremony is another great visual tool. Each child and partner gets a different colour of sand and when poured into a clear container they mingle into beautiful layers representing individuals coming together into a family.
Children can be invited to sign any non-legal paperwork or a specially-designed family certificate during the ceremony. This provides a feeling of involvement as well.
Where children tend to be left out is immediately after the ceremony. The couple walk away and are crowded by 'big people' - with the children left out of the immediate post ceremony celebration. Remember most children do not know what they are supposed to do after the ceremony ends. This is easily avoided. The couple should simply take a moment to hug their child/children, thank them for helping in the ceremony, and tell them what is going to happen next (photos, snack, etc). This time of quality recognition is very important.