Advice to a Bride on Including Groom’s Children in the Wedding

Dear Bride-to-be,

You thought you were a bride?  If you’re marrying a fellow with children, put down your bouquet and pick up the pom-poms because that’s what you are: a cheerleader.  The step-children (that will soon be part of your family) already have a family… and it ain’t you.  They don’t need a mom.  They don’t need someone else to tell them what to do.  What they need is someone who will cheer on a good relationship between their dad and them.  Using this guideline, it’s much easier as a bride (and future step-mom) to create the needed ‘tude that will translate into a smooth walk down the aisle and beyond.  So change your focus.  The children don’t need to be involved with you, they need to be involved with their dad.  And buy “packaging” them with their dad reinforces the idea that they are indeed part of the package, one that you’ve accepted and respect. 

Here’s what dads do at weddings and where you can cheer on the children’s involvement:

- Groomsmen.  Forget about having the children as YOUR attendants, they should be their dad’s (yes, even the girls).  Groomsmen are there to support the groom and share in a loved one’s special day.  Who would be better in this role then the groom’s own children!
- Groomsmen gifts.  Giving gifts to the groomsmen is a wedding tradition.  Cheer on your mate to include his children in the selecting, buying, and wrapping of the gifts.  And it’s ok if you want to encourage dad to “sneak” something extra into his “special” groomsmen’s present.  Have fun with it, letting the children “in” on that “unknown” extra that just may be inside the gift they helped wrap for themselves.  What child doesn’t beam at the thought of a surprise!
- Bachelor party.  A very honored tradition with a groom is the bachelor party - a night of fun before walking down the aisle.  Cheer on a special surprise party for this unsuspecting groom.  Depending on the age of the children, the surprise party could be held at the family amusement pizza joint or a more elaborate shindig for older children.  Be sure to invite all the groomsmen…  and, be sure to include the, “this isn’t college days” reminder.  Important: brides are not allowed at a bachelor party.
- Decorating the car.  As a bride, you may prefer to let this one slide, but this event is sure to please the youngsters: decorating the car.  Cheer on a collaboration between the other groomsmen and the children to arrange for some child appropriate creativity.  Save those soda cans, confetti, and soap and make sure a camera is on hand.  And be ready to laugh out loud in excitement as you acknowledge the handiwork, both theirs and their cheerleaders.

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Mindful thinker and author, Ellen Kellner, guides parents through The Pro-Child Way of nurturing their child’s spirit through her intuition, discernment, and experience.  Her book The Pro-Child Way: Parenting with an Ex is available at Amazon

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