Wedding Rituals: Including Your Kids and Pets


Kids in wedding ceremonies usually are given the role of flower girl and ring bearer. However, when the children are yours and/or your fiancés, it is important that you not only give them a role but that they also don’t feel left out during the big day. While it may be tricky at first, this is something that is relatively easy to do.


Weddings are not just a celebration of the union of two people, but about family and love. Your kids are living proof of that. So, for those of you who already have children with your fiancé, or if one of you has children from a previous relationship, this is a guide on how to include them in your nuptials.



  • Make them bridesmaids and groomsmen.


There is no rule that says your wedding party has to be adults only, and it’s a perfect role for your kids, especially if they are 10 years old or older. They would dress in the same way as your other bridesmaids and groomsmen, and would participate in all the activities, such as the bridal shower and bachelorette party (but only if it’s PG!)


This way, they will feel included throughout the entire process. If you have adult children, you may want to consider honoring them with the Maid of Honor and/or Best Man title. In this way they are included in all aspects of the nuptials and even get to do special things for you, like planning the showers and parties leading up to the big day.



  • Include the children in the unity ceremony.


If you are participating in a unity ceremony of any kind – unity candle, sand, etc. – this is the perfect time to incorporate your children, since it will further iterate that the union is creating a family. Have them help you light the candle, include multiple different colors of sand, or come up with something new that involves all of you. This is something that will add to the unique dynamic of your blended family.



  • Write them into your vows.


Want a sure-fire way to make your children feel included in the marriage? Include them in your vows. Taking the time out to say a few words about your commitment, not just as husband and wife but to the family, will add importance to their position in the family and make them feel special. You could even give each child a special token, such as a piece of jewelry or other small gift, with verses of the vows on them. This is a perfectly sweet way to show your children that you have them in mind, and the marriage is also about them, too.



  • Ask them to walk down the aisle.


This is a great idea if your kids are older and/or your parents are unable to walk you down the aisle. Plus, you shake things up a bit and put a spin on tradition.



  • Showcase their talents.


If your children have special talents, such as dancing or singing, you might want to showcase those with a brief performance. This could take place at the reception, or even before the ceremony starts. Plus, it will give them something to look forward to about the wedding, if they are having a particularly hard time adjusting.



  • Make them flower girl and ring bearer.


As always, there is nothing wrong with including your kids as a flower girl and ring bearer. It’s always precious, keeps in line with tradition, and will put a smile on everyone’s faces. Plus, when you have younger children, it may be hard finding roles that they can handle, and this one is perfect!  


What to Do with Fido?

While some of you may not have children to incorporate, you do have furry babies. For those of you who wish to include Fido in your big day, there are also plenty of ways to do that, too! There is a place for your pup in everything, from the ceremony to the reception, and, yes, even the photos. However, there are several things to consider before you do.



  • Does your dog have what it takes?


If you plan to use your dog in the nuptials, you need to seriously consider this one. Is your dog calm or hyper? Does he bark or get protective over you? Is your pooch social or timid around strangers?


While you may think it’s a great idea, a dog that does not adapt well to environments or that is frightened of strangers would find a wedding stressful and overwhelming. If you think your pet might cause problems or suffer emotional distress, it’s best to leave Fido at home. If not, move on, as there are several other factors to consider.



  • Check first with all venues.


There are a lot of places that have a no-pets policy. Make sure that every venue you wish to use allows dogs. If not, don’t fret! You can still take tons of cute photos with your four-legged friend.



  • Decide on a role for your friend.


If your dog loves people, and the venue allows it, decide on what role you want your fur baby to play. Ring bearer? Do you want to walk down the aisle with your companion? Perhaps your dog can do the greeting. No matter the role, try to keep the dog only in the ceremony. Receptions tend to be overwhelming, with the loud music and tons of dancing guests.



  • Warn the wedding party.


Make sure that all your bridesmaids and groomsmen are fully aware that your dog will be a part of the ceremony. You need to make sure everyone is comfortable with a dog around, and no one is severely allergic. Giving them a warning will help them prepare ahead.



  • Designate a pet handler.


You want to designate someone that is capable, and someone the dog knows, to handle the pet throughout the entire ceremony. Perhaps this role is something your child could do.



  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.


Practice makes perfect. You want to make sure that your dog and the handler know exactly what to do. Make sure to rehearse the duties multiple times before the big day to minimize any surprises.



  • Take a trip to the groomers.  


Lastly, make sure your pooch is wedding-ready! You’ll want to make sure your pup is looking his best for all the wedding photos and guests!


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