How we included our bonus children in our marriage

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It feels like this year has just slipped by and here I am about to tell you a bit about our first wedding anniversary which was already over 10 months ago.  (Bring on number two!)

With a number of other bonus parents getting married this year and into the next, the question has been raised as to what others have done to consolidate the whole family rather than the couple in isolation.  The real motive detailed beneath this question has been from the heart of each bonus parent as they have said, “My partner’s children are important to me and to our relationship,” and it is followed by, “How do I best honour that?”

We took a two fold approach, both through our wedding and our first wedding anniversary.  I suspect similar honouring of each other’s children in our lives will continue throughout the journey ahead as well.  Of course, in our wedding all of our children essentially made up our bridal party.  They were the ones who were, and still are, the best testimony to our relationship and, into the future, will be the best and holding us to account for our commitments to each other.

We also honoured them in the activities that we had on the day.  Bouncy castles and large format games were brought in just for them and their own friends and classmates also made up the majority of the invitation list.  It was just a little bit awesome.

In one of our group chats there were a bunch of ideas shared:

Sand ceremony – where each person in the family has a different colour sand to pour into a vase symbolising the blending of the family.

Kirsty shared the idea of doing a sand ceremony where each person in the family has a different colour sand to pour into a vase symbolising the blending of the family.  I thought that was an amazing idea!  Others shared about giving the children official roles within the bridal party, just as we did.  And when it was asked who gives this woman to be married the children called out, “We do!”

Additional ideas included:

  • taking a brief holiday together as a family before the wedding, and
  • giving the children arm jewellery or pendants that are given as a sign of beginning of something together but, alike a wedding band, it has no end.

Sadly, within our little bonus parent natter, it became clear as I sipped my coffee, that many families had challenges with children being withheld from them by biological parents or concerns that the non-biological would turn up just to create a scene.  Of those who had tied the knot, many had eloped because of the dramas and regretted the children not being involved and there appeared to be a more powerful group who acted in stealth and did not tell the children about the wedding until shortly before.  It is so disheartening that some parents continue to allow their issues with each other to dominate over acting in the best interests of their children. Nonetheless, it remains something that any blended family wedding plan must consider.

The final idea, which we too have done, but on a different day, was to make specific commitments to the children also.  With how busy the wedding day was we left this for our first wedding anniversary.  As those who have looked at our handfasting ceremony would have noticed that we had eight themes by which our commitments to each other were made.  The commitments we made to each other’s children were much the same.  With the amazing Deborah Lilley as the celebrant of the occasion we committed to each other’s children in the areas of faith, unity, truth, honour, empowerment, romance, cultivation and balance.

You are welcome to check out the specific commitments we made in our Children’s Commitment Ceremony for yourself.

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